So once again another year is before us and I know what you’re thinking, “Wow, where the hell did 2018 go!” It is officially time to let go of yesteryear and focus on the future. Your time is now, this is your year and you bet 2019 is going to be the greatest one yet!
To help you on your way, I have created a list of 31 lifehacks – one for every day in January. Consider this as your New Year advent calendar to greatness and my first of many gifts to you.
1. Always tell a new barber how long it’s been since your last haircut.
Barbers know how long it takes for hair to grow, so if you tell them how long it has been since your hair was last cut, they can imagine what your hair looked like way back when. From there, you can either tell them you want it to look the same or describe how you want it to be different from last time.
2. Wear a blue tie for a job interview
What tie you wear for a job interview can be more important than you realise. It also could be the first thing the interviewer will notice.
I would still keep away from anything too bright or fancy. A block colour or a neat pattern, such as a classic stripe or small dot will be fine. Remember the brain is a funny thing. The colour red for example is subconsciously associated with power. Also, according to a survey conducted by CareerBuilder, most employers said blue was the best colour to wear to an interview and orange was the worst, as they thought it looked unprofessional. Try to refrain from statement-making with your outfit. No bow ties and keep the matching pocket-square minimal.
3. Learn the “sometimes, always, never” rule of jacket buttons.
The top button should sometimes be buttoned (stylistic decision), the middle button should always be buttoned (it pulls the jacket together and is flattering), and the last button should never be buttoned (it messes up the tailoring and flare of the jacket).
4. Match your dress shoes and suits.
Check out my blog What shoes should you be wearing with your suit? to learn what colours and styles are best. There are many options but some combinations work better than others. Black shoes tend to work with most colour suits and are also better suited for formal occasions than brown. However, brown shoes can look great with a navy or cream suit for more relaxed situations.
5. Fold your sweaters instead of hanging them.
Even lightweight sweaters stretch out if they’re on a hanger for too long. It’s better to fold sweaters in your wardrobe and hang dress shirts and T-shirts instead.
6. Invest in quality shoe trees.
A good pair of shoe trees will maintain the shape of your nice work shoes, prevent the leather from warping or cracking, and absorb any excess moisture from your shoes so they don’t rot from the inside out. Bespoke shoe trees are the best for your expensive shoes. My blog Why smart shoes are essential to completing a suit has a bit more advice on how to look after your formal shoes.
7. Keep your sides cropped short if you’re dealing with male pattern baldness.
I know it can be a sore subject but if you are thinning on top, get the sides cropped close with scissors or clippers and the top short with the hair brushed to the side. Don’t get any kind of parting since you don’t want any hard lines drawing eyes to the “problem area.” The sides and back of your head are always going to be the thickest area and the contrast between the top can exaggerate how thin the top is. Keeping the sides and back short reduces how thick they look and in turn reduces how thin the top looks.
8. Pour salt on any stain immediately.
Say your date spills some red wine (it happens). Scatter some salt on it right away and work it into the carpet with your hands. Leave it there for a few hours and then vacuum it out.
9. Buy a really expensive, quality knife.
It’ll last you forever, won’t dull as quickly, and will make cooking so much easier. In fact, you’ll even save money in the long run because you won’t keep buying cheap knives. This Wüsthof CLASSIC Cook´s knife is the best all-rounder; a real workhorse.
10. Use Windex to Clean Patent Leather Shoes
In a rush? No problem at all. A few shots of Windex on a clean, soft towel will take the scuff right off your patent leather oxfords or pumps and leave them with a mirrored shine
Put your dryer on the highest setting, throw in the shirt and place three or four ice cubes in the dryer. As the ice melts, it turns into steam, ensuring a perfectly wrinkle-free shirt when you take it out.
12. Stuff Socks in Your Shoes When Travelling
Instead of carrying heavy shoe trees, stuff your shoes with socks to save room and keep the shoes in the right shape.
13. You have 7 seconds to make a good first impression
Everybody knows how important first impressions are. But not everybody knows that the “first impression” is actually only a seven second window upon first meeting someone. This means in an interview situation you need to act quickly in order to make a brilliant first impression on your interviewers. Employ direct eye contact and a firm handshake. Everything from the colour of your tie to what state your shoes all contribute to a great or awful first impression.
14. Learn The Rose pocket square fold
One of the most impressive folds and also the easiest. The Rose will impress everyone and it takes less than 30 seconds to do.
15. Match the colour of your shoes to the colour of your belt (and watch strap for brownie points)
Another offensively simple tip you should follow is that the colour of your shoes and belt should match. Black shoes = Black Belt or Brown shoes = Brown belt. This admittedly is more of a personal preference than an actual rule. It is, however, a great way to ensure that your outfit ties together nicely. For that little added touch wear a watch that also matches in colour.
16. Match your lapels to your tie
The width of your lapel should be the same as the width of your tie. This will ensure that the proportions of your outfit match. A skinny tie with a thin lapel is a much better option than a wide lapel. Equally a wider tie will look too overpowering if added to a jacket with a thin lapel.
17. Sit down when trying on a new shirt
The best way to see if a new shirt fits is to actually sit down in the fitting room. Hopefully, there’s a chair somewhere nearby. Why sit? Your body is much slimmer standing than sitting.If the shirt is comfortable while seated, it will definitely be comfortable when standing, walking, etc.
18. Fold you suit the right way when you pack it for travel
Whenever I travel, this is the method I adopt when having to fold my suits. It is not perfect, but when I do unfold my suit, it is always in a much smoother state than when I’ve tried other methods. It is still best when transporting your suit to do so in a suit bag, preferably hung in such a way that allows the suit to hang as free as possible. If you do have to fold your suit, I would suggest trying the method shown in this video.
19. Set alarms for everything
I know I’m not the only person who lives by the mantra, “If it’s not in my mobile calendar, it doesn’t happen.”
Success tends to be the result of being able to manage more with less–meaning you can handle 10x the responsibilities of most people, but with the same (or even less) effort. This goes back to the idea of working smart, not hard.
So, with an increase in responsibilities, you can’t expect yourself to remember everything. In fact, it’s a waste of brainpower. Just set reminders and show up when you need to. It’s that easy.
20. Eat a healthy breakfast
Plan your breakfast meal as you would any other healthy meal: Focus on getting complex carbs, healthy fats and protein from whole food sources – all of which can keep you fuller longer, while preventing your blood sugar from dropping off a cliff before lunch.
Well fed, you’ll be much better prepared to handle the curves, bumps and detours of your day.
21. Buy a plunger before you need a plunger.
One fateful afternoon this year you may take care of business, then flush the toilet—and nothing happens. It is at this point you will rue the fact you didn’t listen to tip 21!
Be more proactive this year and buy a bloody plunger before you need one. Or, if you are out and about, executing a practise flush before you use any toilet this year will prevent any nasty surprises.
22. Drink black coffee or switch to almond milk.
It is clear that there are both benefits and drawbacks to adding milk to coffee. But even with that being said, health experts do not recommend using whole milk when taking coffee due to its somewhat high carbs count and allergenic potential. Rather, a good alternative is using a hypoallergenic, calcium-fortified, low carbohydrate almond milk. This way you are getting better nutrition and the almond milk also contains fewer calories
23. When driving in icy conditions: Low revs – High gears
Accelerate gently, use low revs and change up to a higher gear as quickly as possible. Move off in second gear as this will help reduce wheel slip – some cars have a winter mode, which does the same job.
24. Weigh yourself in the morning.
According to the experts, you should step on the scale in the morning, after you’ve emptied your bladder and before you’ve eaten breakfast or hit the gym. Not only will you get a lower number (woohoo!) but you’ll also see a more accurate reflection of what you actually weigh—sans any extra pounds thanks to water, food, etc.
25. Make eye contact, but not too much.
There is such a thing as too much eye contact. You don’t want to be rude, but you also want to look like you care. So what’s the right balance? As a general rule, direct eye contact 30-60% of the time during a conversation should make for a comfortable, productive atmosphere — this keeps you from looking a little too Ted Bundy. Always make sure to use more eye contact when you are listening than when you are speaking.
26. Get a subscription.
Subscriptions have been around for quite some time but it has only been in the last 2 or 3 years that they seem to have exploded. Subscription can be a great way to save time and money as long as you find yourself the right one. This year find a subscription that suits you. Beer 52, Harrys Shave Club and Me My Suit & Tie are all worth checking out and with the competition within the subscription market heating up, you can expect some great deals available.
27. Invest in a tie rack.
Tie racks range from basic metal or wood frames that either can be mounted to a wall or hung like a clothes hanger, to electric racks with lights and carousels or those made of finer, more fragrant woods, like cedar.
Hang your ties evenly across the pegs or hooks of the tie rack, so that the centre section of the tie lies across the peg and the head and tail of the tie are of equal length. Make sure the tie is perfectly flat on the peg, or else you still can get creases and folds.
Even though it may seem more space-efficient to roll up or fold your ties and put them in a drawer, doing so for more than a short period will leave the fabric creased and warped. Don’t roll them for a long period of time and don’t fold them. You may inadvertently put pressure on it, and it may leave your tie misshaped.
28. Use sunscreen all the time.
It is a well know fact that UV rays can cause havoc on the skin. And, if we forget just for a moment the very serious health risks associated with sun exposure, it is also responsible for most of the visible ageing of your skin. In fact, many scientific estimates have shown that up to 80-90% of how young or old you look for your age is due to how much sun exposure you’ve sustained. And it is not just the sun you soaked up in Marbella last summer either. In fact, it’s everyday rays that tend to do the most long term harm. Most of us only think of sun cream when we are in another country where there is ‘real’ sun but applying SPF on a more day to day basis will protect your skin all year round. This will not only reduce the ageing side effects but also lift your mood and those around you as you walk through the office smelling of holiday
29. Get up earlier this year.
There is a 25th hour in the day. You have just been sleeping through it. Getting up and hour earlier does take time to adjust to, but once it becomes part of your routine, you’ll never look back. Research by clever scientists have shown that, not only are early risers more optimistic and conscientious, they also anticipate problems and minimise them more efficiently. Which of course is crucial to success in the business world.
30. Write down and measure your goals
Set specific goals. Write down what it is you want to achieve. Writing down targets will make it clearer how you can get from A to B. Working backwards and breaking down your journey will inevitably make everything clearer and therefore more achievable. For instance: “I want to lose 12 pounds and get a rock hard abs over the next 2 months by drinking less beer and maybe hitting the gym three to four times per week.” Also, keeping a checklist to monitor your excellent progression will also help motivate yourself and reduce the chance of you flaking on your resolution.
31. Reduce your social media consumption.
We spend on average 135 minutes a day on social media. And most of those minutes are completely forgettable. Try to reduce your time spend on social media and start clawing back some precious time every day. Just imagine how much more you could achieve with an extra 2 hours a day.