What Is The Ultimate Life Hack?

Giving and receiving undivided attention, even briefly, is the least that one individual can do for another — and sometimes the most. And yet, attending to others doesn’t just help them — it helps us, by evoking responses that help the listener feel cared for, useful, and connected to the larger world.

Kare Anderson, “What Captures Your Attention Controls Your Life”, HBR

We’ve said before that the ultimate true lifehack is to figure out what to pay attention to. Anderson explains the positive impacts of being conscious how we devote our attention on not just ourselves but those around us.

Paying attention to others is the path not just toward being a better leader but leading a better life.

Lessons in Lifehacking

Life — the only one you get — consists of what you pay attention to. There is literally nothing else.

John Pavlus’s Confessions of a Recovering Lifehacker should be required reading for anyone interested in 1) productivity or 2) a life well-led. Hopefully that covers all of you.

Tips and tricks aside, lifehacking neither reaches the roots of the how’s and why’s nor the wants and cares of life. The ultimate true lifehack is to figure out what to pay attention to. Then, pay attention “effectively, meaningfully, and relatively unselfishly.”

iDoneThis on Lifehacker!


We’re in Lifehacker today!

iDoneThis is a new webapp that takes your goals and habits you want to build, reminds you to work towards them daily or weekly (you can choose), and puts you on a virtual team of people with similar goals so you can work together, support each other, and know you’re not alone.

Anatomy of Three Writeups

The lean startup movement disdains the big press launch, and rightfully so. However, the polemical nature of the argument gives off the impression that press should never be sought.  Quite the contrary, press should be sought ceaselessly.  That being said, it’s important to understand the magnitude of traffic that you can expect from press and of what kind.

We’ve been fortunate to have received writeups from three of the biggest drivers of traffic for a young startup: Lifehacker, Netted, and Business Insider.


With the tiny investment of time that it took to draft two cold emails, we got a huge payoff in getting written up by Lifehacker.  For most new startups, TechCrunch is a distant and unattainable goal, but Lifehacker will write about your weekend project if it’s got a compelling productivity hook.  To boot, Lifehacker will drive traffic on the same order of magnitude as TechCrunch with users who may actually stick around.

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How We Got Our First 5,000 Users

Celebrate — this week we got our 5,000th user!  This is the most users either of us (Rodrigo and I) have ever had for any web project of ours.  In the past, we’ve taken the “build it and they will come” attitude towards web development … and they never came!  Here’s the story of how we did it by constructing custom narratives for influential communities.

Hacker News.  At 9am PST on January 3rd, we posted a “Show HN” article on Hacker News with the hook that we built the site to keep our New Year’s Resolutions.

Note that our Show HN post was made as an external link to idonethis.com and we made a comment on that post that described the project.  We decided to do that instead of submitting a text story to HN with the first comment as a clickable link.  We had anecdotally observed that posts without external links were not making the front page too often after HN added “Ask”, and some of our friends had observed this also.

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