Life Hacks

From Eugene Eric Kim

Goal Tracking

Inspired by Gretchen Rubin, who was inspired by Benjamin Franklin, I've been using a Google Spreadsheet as a dashboard for tracking personal goals and resolutions. It's similar to stuff I've used for work projects, only applied to my life.

The most success I've had was with a personal goal tracking dashboard for Groupaya. Each week, I give myself a point for:

  • Playing basketball (or simply shooting around)
  • Taking a long walk (1+ hours), going for a run, or generally working out
  • Taking a play day. I include holidays here.
  • Turning off my work email before dinner on weeknights
  • Not checking my work email on Saturday or Sunday during the day

I track weekly points, yearly averages, and a rolling four-week average.

Work Big

I have a dual monitor setup: Samsung SyncMaster 204BW (20" widescreen) and a Dell 24" monitor. In 2011, I converted my desk into a standing desk using a couple of IKEA platforms. When I get tired, I switch to my laptop and sit down somewhere comfortable.

I have a magnetic whiteboard, which I bought cheap and barely used, and which I love.

Time Management

Spend the first hour of your workday email-free. Finish a high-priority task first thing in the morning, then check your email.

Schedule a post-work appointment to prevent post-work lingering.

Turn off email notifications.

I have rudimentary calendaring software -- no meeting maker or anything of the like. When I propose a meeting (both business and personal), I'll enter it in my calendar with a question mark so I don't accidentally overbook.

See also Project Management.

Time Tracking

I'm going to try to use Pomodoro Technique rather than traditional time tracking.

Used Harvest when I was at Groupaya. SlimTimer is another option.

RescueTime for Mac/Windows is intriguing. May be worth it, even though there's no Linux support.


Going paperless is an ongoing battle for me, but I continue to make progress. Evernote is very key.

I have a Canon P-215 portable scanner. I'm not using it as a mobile device (although I like that I can), but I like the small footprint. I used to have a Fujitsu ScanSnap S510, which was wonderful, but I started having trouble with the feeder, and it became of limited use to me. I thought my Brother MFC-9970CDW would be an adequate replacement, but I really miss the duplex scanning. I thought seriously about getting a Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300i, but decided to go with the Canon P-215 largely on the recommendation of this Wirecutter review.


I also recognize that paper has a special quality, and that I want to use it where appropriate. I'm still trying to figure this out. I started using Moleskine notebooks (large, plain) years ago, and I love them. I have a custom leather cover that I also love.

I'm wanting to integrate paper back into my projects for two reasons. First, I've been going through old files, and I'm realizing that paper allowed me to stay organized in certain ways that digital just can't duplicate or improve on. Second, I've been having trouble with teams that get easily overwhelmed by digital systems.

I'm wanting something nicer than a three-ring binder, so I'm investigating the Levenger Circa (the Bomber Jacket notebook looks so, so nice!) and the equivalent (and cheaper) Staples Arc. This thread has a good comparison of the two systems.

(The Rollabind and Myndology also seem to be equivalent systems, but the Circa and the Arc seem to have the bigger followings.)

There's also the Sorta, created by friends of Amy's. I like the closed binding, but there doesn't seem to be the equivalent of a paper punch for the system.

House Hacks




I generally sleep pretty well, but I've incorporated a few hacks into my life. The main one is to use a blue light filter in my digital devices (e.g. flux).

Max Richter composed an album, Sleep, with the assistance of neuroscientist David Eagleman, designed to be played while you sleep. It's lovely, but I haven't tried sleeping to it yet.