The Best 1 Minute Life Hacks to Save Time and Enjoy Life – The James Altucher Show

Check out the The James Altucher Episode Page & Show Notes

Key Takeaways

  • Write down 10 ideas a day to improve your creativity
  • On the second and third drafts of a piece of writing, focus heavily on reducing the word count
  • What gets measured, gets managed
  • To be happy, set low expectations
  • Enjoy and focus on the process, rather than the results


  • In this episode James (@jaltucher), along with his producer – Steve Cohen, and author – Kamal Ravikant (@kamalravkiant), discuss a list of life hacks

Jot Down 10 Ideas Every day

  • James carries a waiter’s pad with him everywhere he goes and tries to write down 10 ideas every day
    • He expands more about this practice in his book – Choose Yourself
    • They don’t have to be business ideas – They might be 10 ideas for charities he could donate to, 10 fun date ideas, 10 places he hopes to travel…..the point is just to get the creative juices flowing
  • Waiter’s pads are cheap!
  • If you need ideas of things to write ideas about (hah!) check out the book – Become An Idea Machine: Because Ideas Are The Currency Of The 21st Century

An Interrogation Hack

  • If you ask someone a question and they don’t answer it directly, there’s a chance they’re hiding something
    • If you ask your wife where she was last night and she replies – “Out with friends” – there may be more to the story
  • Another test is to have the person sit in a rolling chair
    • If they start to roll away in the chair when you ask questions, it means they are trying to “get away” and are likely lying

A Networking Hack

  • “Even if you don’t smoke, always carry around a pack of cigarettes” – James
    • If you’re at a restaurant/bar/meeting etc, and someone you want to network with goes out for a smoke, go outside as well and join them for a smoke break

A Writing Hack

  • When writing a long piece, remove the first and last paragraph – this will greatly improve the piece overall
    • The first paragraph is usually a warm up that isn’t a strong as the rest of the piece and the last paragraph is usually the writer trying to find an artificial/fancy way to end things
    • Kamal says the final copy of his book Love Yourself: Like Your Life Depends On It ended up being ~90% shorter than the original draft
      • The average book has 65,000 words – Love Yourself had only ~8,000 and was still a bestseller
  • Another writing top – When writing the second draft of something, try cutting the word count down significantly (James aims to cut about ~30%)
    • Stephen Dubner (author of Freakonomics) once told James to read each draft out loud and take out whatever feels “cringe-worthy”
      • Kamal does the same (he actually prefers to print out his work and read it on paper, rather than proofreading on a screen)

A Progress Hack

  • “Whatever you want to improve on, figure out a way to measure it” – James
    • If possible – make the measurement visible – this allows you to discover patterns

The Email Hack

  • James likes to sometimes dig through old emails, and reply to extremely old messages
    • (He’ll literally reply to an email from 7 years ago, and answer it as if he just got it)
    • “It’s amazing how much benefit I’ve gotten out of that” -James
    • James personally finds it very funny and the other person is usually thrilled to get a reply back to a message they sent years ago
    • James actually got his website from this hack
      • In 2003 a person emailed James saying he had bought the domain name “” as a birthday gift for James, but back then James had said he wasn’t going to do anything with it. Then in 2009, James replied to the man’s email – the guy still had the domain name and gave it to him. The two have been friends ever since.

The 1 Second Happiness Hack

  • Happiness = Reality – Expectations
    • “Happiness becomes all about expectations because reality is slow to move, but expectations… you can change in a second” -James
      • For example – if someone is unhappy because they aren’t married, they’re bound to be unhappy for a while (high expectations)
      • So to be happy…just have low expectations 🙂
    • “Whenever I feel unhappy, I always ask myself, ‘Where are my reality and expectations different? And how can I change my expectations?’” – James
  • Another happiness hack – focus on the process, rather than the results/outcome
    • For example – Instead of saying you’ll be happy when you lose 20 pounds, which might take weeks or months, allow yourself to be happy with the process that goes along with losing weight – like hitting your calorie intake goal for the day
    • “The nature of the mind is dissatisfaction” -Kamal
      • Kamal finds happiness in the writing process instead of publishing because you never know if or when your work will be published….
      • “Even if you get there, you’ll only be happy for a certain amount of time”
        • So instead of delaying happiness, Kamal sets low expectations – he’s happy if he simply writes something great that day
    • “If you enjoy the process, you’re okay with sucking for a while as you learn, as long as you’re getting pleasure out of improving” – James

These notes were edited by RoRoPa Editing Services

James Altucher Show :
Notes By Alex Wiec

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