December 4, 2014
The best part of interviewing James Norris, founder of Self Spark and myriad startups around the world before this current venture, is that I left our conversation feeling more organized and confident in achieving my to-do list! How did he do that? Read on to learn some magic and improve daily life as you know it.
Q) First things first. What is lifehacking?
A) Lifehacking is essentially lifestyle change through behavioral science techniques and emerging technology. We apply positive reinforcement, social psychology (think peer pressure but in a good way) and behavioral economics (everyone loves incentives) to our Self Spark events, including the personal hackathon.
Q) Where and when can we find upcoming Self Spark events?
A) We have a SparkProductivity event lined up in DC at 1776 on December 9, 2014. Use the code “techcocktail” for 15% off! In March 2015 we’re bringing Spark Weekend to San Francisco. More details to be announced here.
Q) What’s the grand vision for Self Spark?
A) To teach every man, woman and child how to lifehack. In the short term, we plan to expand to 220 cities in five years.
Q) What has fueled your success along the way?
A) Ever since childhood, I’ve viewed challenges as opportunities for creative solutions. Growing up below the poverty line (without even knowing it) propelled me into entrepreneurship. At the age of 6, I started selling candy for profit during recess. I wanted to escape the financial trap my family was in. Throughout school I worked and made sure that my jobs were directly related to positively impacting those around me. While doing my triple major/quadruple minor in college, I was also busy launching 7 organizations, zipping through 7 part-time jobs and internships, and helping with 10 research studies before graduation. One of my favorite experiences over the years was in Singapore where I discovered the power of social change through business.
Q) What’s one of your favorite quotes to spark productivity going forward?
A) “Some problems are so complex that you have to be highly intelligent and well informed just to be undecided about them.” — Laurence J. Peter
Q) Could you please share some of your favorite tools or best practices?
A) It depends on what you’re trying to achieve. There’s no panacea app for all that ails your productivity. But there are some great tools out there for specific tasks.
1. Try lift.do to help get your to-do lists done in an effective, efficient way. The interface is clean, sleek and easy to use.
2. Workflowy.com keeps my team organized and working together without losing precious time on back and forth communications.
3. RescueTime.com literally tracks your productivity as you work with a sharp eye on distractions. If you spend too much time browsing your Facebook feed, this app will drop your score. For competitive types, this app is great; it’ll get you ramped up to win against your [less productive] self.
Q) Closing thoughts?
A) Yes! Check out this dedicated lifehacking page created just for readers of Tech Cocktail. I have a challenge for you:
1. Choose your track (mindfulness, sleep, productivity, etc.
2. Go through the steps for one week
3. Let the team at Self Spark know how you did for a social media feature of your awesome achievements.
Now let’s all go forth and conquer our days, weeks, months…lives!
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