As a 30 year old, there still many things I need to learn to extend my personal and professional development.
However, over time I have perfected several tools and tricks that have proven incredibly useful in the past three decades. These are five life hacks that I am happy to share with anyone who will listen.
We got our first desktop computer in the early 2000’s and mum purchased a Typequick CD which had a series of simple (aka boring) rote lessons to learn the qwerty and numeric keyboard. Pretty quickly I became adept at touch typing, challenging myself to become more proficient each time. It becomes something you can do without thinking or glancing at your hands.
Now I average 80+wpm, but 50+wpm is a good average for anyone who regularly uses a computer for work.
The skill of fast and accurate typing has been indispensable for employment in clerical and business administration, research projects, university assessments, writing, and job applications. It reduces stress and anxiety about getting stuff done. It improves productivity, and it reduces the need for editing and backspacing.
If you have access to a laptop or a desktop computer and the internet, and you have able hands, you can look up touch typing software or an online tutorial and away you go! Click here for some touch typing resources compiled by Kesi Parker. You can also test your typing speed here.
A professional phone manner
Even when you’re not at work, a respectful phone manner does not go astray. You never know when someone could be assessing you for a potential employment or collaboration opportunity and apparently first impressions are made within 7 seconds.
- Answer the phone after 2–3 rings. More rings can make someone impatient, and answering it immediately could hint you were sitting on your phone. (We know you probably are, but you know, act like you weren’t!)
- Unless the caller is a friend or family member, refrain from using one-word or brief remarks such as: “G’day”, “Hey”, “Hello?”, or “Yes?”. Instead, wait until the call connects and then speak clearly using a phrase such as: “Hi this is [your name] from [xyz]”, or “Hello, [your name] speaking”. Then they know if they’ve reached the right person or business.
- When you call someone, be sure to introduce yourself straight away, or as early as possible, and state why you’re calling.
- If you forget someone’s name or they don’t give it straight away, ask them for it, or say “I didn’t catch your name”. This saves the embarrassment of hanging up the phone and realising you don’t know their name to attach to a message or phone contact.
- You don’t have to ask someone how they’re doing, but if they ask you, respond in kind.
- When someone assists you over the phone with an enquiry, message, or a listening ear, be sure to thank them. Even if you were not successful, thanking people for their time and assistance ensures they will be happy to hear from you next time.
From experience, an excellent phone manner will earn trust and receive good feedback.
Drink two big glasses of water on waking
This gets you hydrated after several hours of sleep. It starts your digestive system, and activates your gut elimination process.
I know many of you hate drinking water, and your blood is 60% caffeine, but if you’d like a clear-headed start to the day and less grumpiness all-round, water is the key ingredient.
It helps to prepare the evening before by filling up a glass and setting it on your bedside table, ready for when you wake up. Drink another one when you walk into the kitchen or bathroom.
Speaking of …. take a clean pair of underwear EVERYWHERE
I’m not kidding. Tuck those boxers, knickers, undies or briefs into your backpack, handbag, manbag, laptop case, toolkit, whatever you use.
Set and forget.
You can thank me later.
Put your device down and cultivate a sense of curiosity about something
Even though we have more information at our fingertips than ever before, most of this information is passively received. We may do a google search, but we do not actively process what we see.
There is nothing quite like the thrill of learning something new because you took the time to stop. To listen. To look closely. To ask a question. Or to think twice about a fact you’ve heard a hundred times before, but never really absorbed.
Thanks for reading! If you liked these life hacks, stay tuned for a second installment.