It seems like I see the term lifehack everywhere these days. For anyone who’s been living on the moon or maybe just recently acquired an internet connection (Grandma) a lifehack is defined by the online Oxford Dictionary as:
A strategy or technique adopted in order to manage one’s time and daily activities in a more efficient way.
Sounds good to me – I’m always on the lookout for ways to make things easier, especially relating to some of the more mundane aspects of daily life. Often after reading about some so-called ‘lifehacks’ though, I’m left feeling like the solution just isn’t for me for one reason or another – maybe they are so simple I think “duh” or maybe they make things more complicated than necessary.
All that being said, I’m hesitant to be just another person throwing a lifehack out onto the interwebs, but oh well…that’s never stopped me before.
About 5 months ago, I moved from New York to Oregon. This was a big move for me after living my entire life in the same town and I found it difficult to leave my family. I made a personal resolution to keep in touch with everyone, especially my young nieces and nephew as they grew up. One way to this was to make sure and send birthday cards – on time!
However, even though I have all their birthdays on my google calendar I’ve still found myself scrambling around to get cards out on time. Well, no more…and here is my solution or lifehack if you will….simple yes, but that’s the point right? Finding a simple solution to solve life’s little problems thereby making our lives just a little bit easier.
I started by making a list of all the cards I would need for the year and went to the dollar store which surprisingly had some very cute cards mixed in among the less cute ones. I also picked up a few packages of card confetti and some cute stickers. Once home, I addressed and stamped the envelopes, but didn’t fill them out or seal them. These are now rubber-banded together in a drawer ready to go when the time comes.
With step one complete, I needed to figure out the simplest way to ensure that I get them mailed out on time. Since I already had them on my google calendar I opened my calendar app and added an alert for each birthday to remind me one week prior. This should give me plenty of time to get them sent out.
So now you may be saying to yourself, “duh”, in which case – good for you having all your shits together! I certainly didn’t invent the idea of buying cards in bulk, I even remember reading about a similar idea years ago where instead of setting a calendar reminder you would simply write the date it needed to go into the mail in the spot that would be covered up by the stamp.
However, this has been a wonderful solution for me.
- It’s helping me keep my promise to make sure that the people I love always get a card from me on their special days.
- I don’t really like buying greeting cards. I tend to get paralyzed by all the choices and spend far too long trying to find the perfect card. After learning about the concept of decision fatigue – which is the idea that the quality of our decisions deteriorates after we’ve had to make a lot of smaller decisions, I’ve looked for ways to limit the amount of ‘unimportant’ decisions I need to make in a given day. This is why folks like Barrack Obama, Albert Einstein and Steve Jobs often wore the same clothes day in and day out.
- Add to that the fact that I’m often rushing to the store last minute after work so that I can get the card in the mail and it just ups my stress level. So, being able to get it all done at one time without any time pressure feels so much better.
- It was less expensive – I spent about 30 minutes picking out my cards and the total bill was $12. The dollar store I went to (Dollar Tree) has some cards for $1 each and some are 2 for $1.
- I’m taking comfort in knowing that I’m all set for the year and encouraged to find more ways to ‘automate’ some of the more tedious, unnecessarily stressful or mundane tasks of daily life. Or like in this case, setting up a system to help me meet my personal goals with a minimal amount of effort.