Category Archives: Lifehack

Five More Things Millennials Need to Kill

I’m a millennial, and I like to read about what’s unique about my generation, even if it’s just a lazy analysis of market trends that might as well be noise. But the one consistent thing I keep reading is that Millennials are Killing Everything. At least, that’s what the Miami Herald says, offering 27 examples. Business Insider claims that ‘Psychologically Scarred’ Millennials are killing countless industries, but I can count, and they only have 19 in their list. Even BuzzFeed seems to mock their own style of headline: Here Are 28 Things Millennials Are Killing In Cold Blood. Not to be outdone, Mashable offers 70 things millennials have killed.

Since this seems to be our generational superpower (apparently always alongside avocado toast), I have a few more things that I’d like to see us use it on.

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“Like Magic”: Five Google Spreadsheet hacks to save you time and money

I am a big fan of Google spreadsheets, and I’ve used them for a wide variety of responsibilities over the last decade or so. They’re quick, intuitive, and most importantly, easily shareable. But it’s taken me years to discover some of their most valuable features, features that have quickly become second nature for me.

Chances are, you’ve probably created a spreadsheet or two before, perhaps to manage signups for a potluck or rides to a retreat. With experience and knowledge of a few hacks, you can do so much more with them. Recently, I turned to a Google spreadsheet to display and update the schedule and standings for the church softball league I’ve been a part of, which might be able to save hundreds of dollars that we would have spent on equivalent software. Whatever your use case, there is likely something you can take away from the hacks I have to share.

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Stop Ignoring Impact Multipliers

I love to play board games, especially in this golden age we’re in. Every once in a while, I learn a new way of thinking from a board game. In this post, I’d like to share one general lesson that I learned from one of my favorite strategic board games, Navegador. This lesson actually succinctly encapsulates key messages from several of my recent blog posts, among other thoughts I’ve had recently.

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Why I Got Into Cooking

Last Thursday, I had the fortunate coincidence of being visited by two of my best friends from college, Timothy Johnson and Peter Ngo. They had both been to Boston back in June 2016 to serve as groomsmen in my wedding, but I hadn’t seen them since. Their trips were independent, but happened to overlap on Thursday, which also happened to be the best day for them to visit me and Grace.

With both of them visiting, along with Tim’s girlfriend Xiao, Grace and I decided to host them at our apartment and make a whole feast of Indian food. We had just recently learned how to make Chicken Tikka Masala, Palak Paneer, Aloo Gobi, and Chicken Tandoori, and we decided to serve all four to them, employing all three of them in the kitchen chopping vegetables and measuring spices.

John Shen, another college friend of ours (and Peter’s host) joined us as well, and he remarked after dinner that he was somewhat surprised that I had gotten excited about cooking. Reflecting, I realized that in the moment, cooking four dishes of Indian food, while more than usual, seemed like just a natural extension of the habits Grace and I had built up over the course of a year. We would actually go on to cook Pad Thai and bake bread for our board game group on Saturday and then turn around and make enchiladas for some of the Et Spiritus journal club team on Sunday. Cooking for three different groups of friends in four nights was certainly beyond our usual pace (and not exactly sustainable), but not by much. It’s worlds from where I was at the beginning of grad school.

So how did we get to this point? Let me walk through some of the factors and explain a bit of our philosophy behind cooking and hosting.

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What Should I Wear Today?

BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! You finally decided to turn off your alarm and get out of bed. As you groggily get dressed, you face your first decision: What should I wear today? If you’re a guy like me, your answer often is “whatever is on the top of my stack of clothes.” (Hopefully that stack is at least folded!) But in places like Boston in April, you face an additional problem: Which stack? Do you go with a long sleeved shirt or a t-shirt? Pants or shorts? As you get ready to head out, do you wear a coat, a jacket, or neither? Do you bring an umbrella, sunglasses, or neither?

So you start checking a weather forecast. You learn that the high today is going to be, say, 54, with a low of 36 at night. What in the world is that supposed to mean? Are you supposed to memorize what to wear for every set of high and low temperatures so that you can recall it while you stumble out of bed in the morning? Besides, do the highs and lows even matter? What if you’re not going to be outside at 2pm or 3am or whenever those extremes will be?

You eventually give up and decide to move to California, where the weather is predictable and you don’t have to make such complicated decisions. Sad!

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