Posts in category "PRODUCTIVITY & LIFEHACKING"

How to Hack Your Spouse

If you come home and see the New York Times Sunday Style section taped to your floor, do not finish this article – RUN for the authorities (unless you have a ChowChow). This isn’t that kind of spouse hacking.

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It’s a touchy subject. Though it’s possible to brainwash and reprogram a human, you’re married and hopefully “all-in” with the person you put your head next to at night. That doesn’t mean, however, that you can’t intervene as the observant and interested party to help optimize the day-to-day life of your other half. After all, why keep all that life-hacking knowledge to yourself when you can use it to drastically improve the life of your favorite person on the planet?

I’m am an entrepreneur Dad, so my work is a combination of at-home, at-the-studio and around the country. My wife is a stay-at-home Mom; quite the oddity for the average Brooklynite. Our time together is limited, so when we do have it – I want it optimized!

Diet

This is the foundation. Healthy diets make healthy, happy people. Wherever your spouse is at a baseline, nutrition is the first line of defense in changing mood, demeanor, outlook, you name it.

My wife suffers from what we now know is Red Skin Syndrome (RSS), which is essentially a withdrawal from years of topical steroid use. In her case it translates to, at times, extreme to mild eczema symptoms. She used to joke that her skin was fine until she met me.

After some time, we realized that my granola habits influenced her to stop using the topical steroids (starting full-on withdrawal) and my Weston A. Price diet wreaked havoc on her histamines (all those fermented foods).

After extensive testing, elimination, thousands of dollars spent on oils, creams, lotions, dermatologists, etc., my wife dialed in a diet (somewhere between Paleo and Slow Carb) that works great for the whole family. Eliminating the food triggers that caused her skin to flare (coupled with a handful of natural healing aids) has made her happier and more excited for life. It was a tough couple of years getting through that.

Sleep

It’s not uncommon for you and your spouse to be on different sleep schedules, but the difficulty is when you want to go to bed at the same time at night–which can be a great, simple way to get in quality bonding. I’m a morning person and typically don’t need much sleep, whereas my wife needs a lot of sleep – largely because her body has been working overtime to heal the RSS.

I suggest creating a consistent sleep schedule and doing your best to control the sleep environment. I always make a point to go to bed at the same time as my wife and we keep our bedroom temperature consistent (68 degrees) to ensure quality time and a good night’s rest. This seems to work well despite outside factors beyond our control (we live on a noisy truck route).

It’s currently on pre-order, but I’m excited to try out the Sense sleep device to pursue a quantifiable approach to our sleep performance. If you want more in-depth research on how to hack your sleep, Dave Asprey’s work is wonderful.

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Workflow

There’s no manual for being a SAHM (stay-at-home-Mom), so I leaned in with my managerial mind to optimize my wife’s workflow.

Last summer I noticed that when I came home from work, it would be hours until my wife and I could have any quality time together. There was dinner, putting our son to sleep and then dishes upon dishes to finish the kitchen. This hack was a simple fix outside of my wife’s paradigm.

My company is bootstrapped and I’m the breadwinner, so there’s not a lot of extra cash flying around – she is excellent at making do with what we have. However, gaining an hour or more of time together each night is invaluable to both of us. The solution was a small, tabletop dishwasher that, if nothing else, would handle a day’s worth of dish ware, cups and utensils.

Over time you should take note of the things that your spouse isn’t willing to ask for (for whatever reason) and preemptively give or buy that thing if it’s really going to make his or her life easier. In this focus, think of yourself as the “facilitator of happiness.” You don’t create it, you just help pull down the road blocks that lead to it.

Romance

Confession: I didn’t read a single marriage book before getting married. My Mother-in-Law gave us The 5 Love Languages and as a lover of lists, I read the overview page and nothing more. Until my book comes out, I think it’s the only book the Life Hacking demographic needs. If you are dialed in to what makes your spouse feel loved, you’re golden.

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My wife loves quality time which, as an entrepreneur, is the hardest thing for me to give. But what I can dial in is the intensity of that quality time. To define the QT, I continually dive deep into what she really loves and cares about and give that to her as best I can.

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The goal of hacking your spouse is not to manipulate or derail their autonomy, but to offer your greatest insight as a conduit for you both to have a better life together. Like most social hacks, there are some shades of gray as to how this plays out in your life, but each principle is tested and sound. You may find, as I did, that by focusing on the happiness of the person you truly love the most, your own joy is fulfilled.

How to Keep Long-term Focus When You’re Putting Out Fires

My first guest post! A quick read about keeping your head on straight when $h!t’s hitting the fan.

http://www.dumblittleman.com/2014/09/keep-long-term-focus-youre-putting-fires.html

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Fearless Living for the Family – STRIKE IT FROM YOUR HEART!

A few years back my good friend Chad Renfroe showed me this clip and my life was forever changed. I watched Apocalypto before then, but had never given this part a second thought. Its lesson is one of the biggest paradigm shifts that you can make, and will ripple through your family and work.

 

Fear is a POISON

Being fearless in your home and work is a mental struggle, but one that you can, and must, overcome. You have to realize that if you enter a marriage with fear, then you will bring that fear to your wife and pass it on to your children. As much as that sounds like something out of Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story, I tend to think it’s true.

Overcoming fear is a complicated process, but one that can be systematized with the proper approach.

Named must your fear be, before banish it you can.

~ Master Yoda

If you know what you’re afraid of, then you have to take the next steps–TAKE. STEPS. Don’t sit on your ass any longer.

1. Get pumped up to address the fear. This may require inspiration, motivation, meditation, frustration–whatever it takes. As a Christian if I feel like my thoughts or emotions are falling toward fear, I pray and remember that God is the only thing I should fear (Deuteronomy 13:4, Psalm 23).

2. If you don’t know how to face this fear, research similar people who have gone through this. That may mean Google searches, interviews or digging into your own past–journals, letters, etc. Find out where it started.

3. Grit your teeth and take blows. You are a man, you are created to stand in the way of opposing forced and to not falter. If facing your fear crushes you, then you still did something that most will never do. Learn from your mistake and try again. Remember that if fear is a poison, your top priority is to spit it out and find the antidote. If you think this statement is antiquated and sexist, let me spare you the time and don’t read this blog any longer.

 

Fear in Marriage

I made it very clear when I met my wife, that I did not want fear of any kind to be a part of our family. That may sound a bit abstract, but here’s some practicalities of common fears in marriage:

1. Security: financial, situational, reputation
2. Family: Parents, Grandparents, relatives
3. Children: Having, raising, etc.

My wife and I both came from divorced homes, and we are both adamant about not only never getting divorced, but about learning to vehemently love and serve each other better each day as life goes on. Part of that resolution is we agreed to never fear our financial situation, career situation, or extended family situation. We fully cling to one another emotionally, physically and spiritually–and that’s only possible when you can leave everything else behind. Both of our parents for reasons that boil down to fear.

 

Charlie, the fearless lumberjack.

Charlie, the fearless lumberjack.

Fear Surrounding Children

Have you ever met a child that was afraid of everything? If you bring the poison of fear into your home, it will affect your children and manifest itself in problems that you will have to deal with for the rest of your life.

The common fears you see will be written off as personality traits, however this is a dangerous slope.

Fears most seen around children:

1. People
Your job as a parent is to instill in your child a sense of discernment, so that he/she can easily understand who is a true stranger, who is to be trusted and who is not to be trusted. The word “socialized” in my opinion applies to dogs. Teach your child to be a human, treat him/her like a human and put him/her in social situations like a human. Kids look to their parents for social cues that say “this person is our friend” or “this person is a stranger, but we’re safe”

When kids don’t learn to differentiate friend/foe, they are most susceptible to predators who show them friendly interest.

2. Food
My son is 8 months old and literally eats everything except for milk & honey (sorry Promised Land). Within one week of starting purees, we pushed him forward into basically eating everything we eat, in milkshake form. Two months into it he’s had everything from chicken curry to carne asada fajitas. He continues to be healthy, happy and is gaining personality at an alarming rate. This is not “luck” this is common sense in action.

If you look up what the “experts” say, they suggest weaning kids into everything and waiting 4-day stints before introducing another food, as though foods don’t interact in digestion. What honestly makes you a “baby expert” anyway, shouldn’t that be having lots of healthy kids? Feed them what you have, that’s what our ancestors figured out.

I also think that making special meals for your infant/kid creates either an entitlement or an inferiority complex in kids. In a few instances, say when I’m eating stir fry and my son is eating spinach–he’s eyeing my stir fry and loses interest in the spinach. He wants to be treated like everyone else. Make your kid a part of your family, and not a sidecar of it. Unless you or your wife/partner has a deadly food allergy that could’ve passed down–grow a pair and feed that kid!

3. Having Kids in the First Place
When/how to have our kids was the only thing that my wife and I ever argued about. She wanted to wait at least five years, until we’d had our fun, and then after being tuckered out like a couple of old horses we’d start having those kids. The root of this, is that having a kid was my wife’s biggest fear in life.

My attitude towards it, was that kids are a natural progression in life, and we’re not morons so if a kid comes down the pike–we’d figure it out and make the best of it.

– Maternal Instinct, Fear as Inadequacy
In my archaic approach to life, I also keenly recognized my wife’s maternal instincts and knew that when the time came she would tackle Motherhood like a boss. A key way to identify that, gents, is to observe when your potential wife encounters kids–will the kids forsake their own Mom to come be with your wife? Even though that sounds like a threat (to your kid/wife) you should trust that your child’s intuition is acknowledging potential in someone else. I would encourage this and let the guy that brought her over know that this is a good thing.

– Loss of Fun, Fear of Change / Fear of Loss
Because our little Charlie was a surprise to us, we didn’t fall into some of the pitfalls of parents who desperately wish to have kids and are therefore in an indebted position to their kids. Charlie, a force to be reckoned with, came into our life–but it is our job to make him a part of our family, an entity that existed before him. This simple mental paradigm–making the kid conform to precedent, is not common in the “self esteem / entitlement” era, but I assure you it will make the world a better place for future generations.

We continue to live life, see friends, go out and do things per usual and we bring Charlie along for the ride. We instilled in him from day one the understanding that he needs to act as part of a micro-community, not the head of a monarchy.

Key Takeaways:

+ Fear is a poison, strike it from your heart
+ You are the family’s sword and shield
+ Don’t allow weak thinking to poison your family’s direction

 

Is this post archaic? What era – Middle Ages or 1950’s? What do you think?

 

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