Life Hacking For The Rest Of Us

 

Photo by Haley Phelps on Unsplash

Photo by Haley Phelps on Unsplash

It’s impossible to keep up.

Every day I see self-help articles about life hacking with tips, tricks, and never-ending lists of things to do in order to become a successful human being. According to these articles, If I do these things I’ll run like a machine. I’ll be living life at 500%, 100% of the time.

Is that a good thing?

The thing is, I’m not a machine. I’m tired of tracking every little thing. It gives me ptsd from my 20’s when I documented my weight twice a day along with every bit of food I ate. I spent so much time qualifying myself by scratching into a tiny notebook with a precision pen that I was missing out on life itself.

Don’t get me wrong, I track certain things for fun: exercise, meditation, reading and writing. And just when I think I’m doing a halfway decent job, I see more headlines for other things I need to stop or start doing, practice, digest (mentally or physically), or communicate.

Apparently in order to be successful in life, I need to do one-hundred burpies before the sun rises while listening to some podcast with tech bros congratulating each other on doing work, summarily packaged prosaically as “hustle.”

There are also voices to stop and start listening to, and for the life of me I don’t know if they mean other people or certain parts of myself. To all these authors, podcast hosts, and ‘grammers, I gotta say: Why tho? Does it have to be this way? Let’s hit pause for a sec and consider the following:

Rest is underrated.

Am I supposed to berate myself for getting a full eight hours of sleep? And if I binge-watch season six Friends while devouring a bag of Milanos am I not cut out for success?

Must I be ashamed as I wear a thick, juicy facemask, scrolling miles on social media – despite the fact that I’ll  most likely feel like a million bucks come tomorrow?

Besides, we all work differently.

I don’t want to finish one book every week. I enjoy taking notes and savoring the sentences. And after a couple of burnouts, it simply isn’t sustainable for me to work 70+ hours a week.

Can we please just slow things down a bit?

Besides, too many rules are hard to follow. To be our best selves, well – that should be enough.

The real metric for success is happiness, and that looks different for everybody.

The meaning of life is what it means to you. It may be a life stacked full of sidebars and variables, but at least we can find it on our own terms, in our own way.

That’s real growth worth chasing.

Read the original version of this post at The Collective Of Us.

The Art Of The Segue

Photo by Dan Stark on Unsplash

Photo by Dan Stark on Unsplash

There’s a popular term in the DJ community called “cauliflower ear.” It’s when you wear big headphones – a.k.a. cans – so frequently that the cartilage in the upper part of your ear begins to knot.

I have a very specific habit of twisting the cartilage between my fingers in private, the way someone might dig into their nose at a red light or scratch at their privates beneath the dinner table.

My gnarled right ear is a souvenir from a past life. It’s a scar, a tattoo, a piercing that never fully healed over. It’s a reminder of the way things were when I was fully immersed into a particular scene, dunked fully into the exquisite cultural tank of all-things music.

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Why It Pays To Be A Misfit

Photo: Amanda Jordan via Unsplash

About five years ago I attended a party that a friend was throwing in celebration of her new clothing store launch in downtown Los Angeles.

I spotted the host off to one side and walked over to say hello. As I approached, she looked around, then behind me.

“Did you come alone?” She asked in a high pitched voice, the end of the sentence curling up into an extra-squiggly question mark. “Yep,” I cheerfully replied, holding up a pair of neon-yellow drop crotch trousers to my waist. She grinned. “You’re such a lone wolf! I love it.” She touched my arm in a way that maybe she thought to be conspiratorial before turning to walk away.

I get it, I’m independent. I live alone and traverse social circles fluidly, dipping in and out of various groups while enjoying time spent alone immensely. Still, her comment stuck because the tenderest part of me felt like a misfit for being this way, an outsider even — as though by being independent I was somehow doing something wrong both socially and in life.

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The Introvert’s Guide to the Workplace

Photo: Unsplash

I’ve been working in digital media for most of my career – building websites, doing marketing, graphic design, and even photography. But there came a time that if I wanted to advance in my career, I had to get out from behind my tantalizingly-oversized Apple monitor and lead actual meetings. It became critical for me to be present in the workplace not only as a project manager, but as someone who was able to successfully lead client meetings as well.

Flash forward to now: I’m a freelance marketer in charge of all aspects of the business from project management to finance, production to sales.

The road wasn’t easy. As an introvert, small talk is not my strong suit — I don’t harbor the gift of gab, and until I get to know someone I tend to be an energetic but typically quiet person. In the past, I had always defaulted to playing the supportive role in the workplace—the cheerleader operating behind the scenes, the lone wolf focused squarely on getting the work done while working with others on a strictly one-on-one basis whenever possible.

Until I started working for myself, I had that choice.

But when I went freelance, I had to do everything on my own.

I devoured books about leadership and doing sales. I tapped into my networks to see what worked well for others. I scheduled lots of meetings and began to practice. Over time, it’s gotten easier. Here’s what I’ve learned.

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Why Repealing Affordable Health Care Will Hurt The Freelance Economy

Photo: Aaron Thomas via Unsplash

Photo: Aaron Thomas via Unsplash

The Affordable Care Act has made health insurance accessible for millions of freelance workers, a number that is expected to account for 40% of the workforce by 2020. For various reasons self-employment is also increasingly popular amongst millennials, with nearly 40% of the millennial workforce already describing themselves as self-employed. To put things into perspective, that is 60 million Americans, and the numbers are on the rise.

A freelance economy revolves around companies who hire independent workers on a short-term basis to complete a specific set of tasks. The term “freelancer” can also include consultants, solopreneurs, lifestyle entrepreneurs, and other types of independent workers able to contribute to a company’s operations while remaining lean to both parties’ benefit. This cohort, known for being nimble and resource-savvy, is key to job growth, economic innovation, and technological progress.

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