Life Hacks you must Master to Help you Grow and Glow in Life

Life nowadays is more hectic, busy and can be downright overwhelming at times. A lot of us, if not all are itching for a time out or a method to handle the numerous demands life brings our way.

We need to be okay within yourselves and with those around us if we are to navigate this thing called life in a fulfilling and positive way.

A few life hacks I have come to find useful are listed below in no particular order – try to incorporate them in your own way and life as you know it may be a little easier to get through.

Network/Socialise more

I know, I know… an article like this, you’d think I’d be advocating for more alone time and silence, BUT more people time is actually not such a bad thing.

The reason I say this is because you never know who you could meet out there who could easily be the missing link you needed for a job you were looking for, a position you were looking to fill, a service you needed, a friend you never thought you needed, and possibly a life partner who would never be if you hadn’t gone to that event, that meeting or that party.

Growing your network is never going to be a bad thing and the more often you put yourself out there, you learn to network smartly.

Socialising more also helps develop your people skills, boosts your confidence and self-esteem and it helps you grow as a person.

There’s a reason the saying ‘no man is an island’ exists. Humans are co-dependent, we require interaction, connection, and engagement with others like us…

Get out more, interact more, connect more with like-minded people – it can be a literal lifesaver.

Functional Eating

We want to make 2019 our best year yet yes? So why not incorporate better eating habits to our lifestyle? It’s much easier said than done for sure but there are simple hacks that can help you achieve a perfectly balanced diet on a daily basis.

First – Control your portions

Using your hands will help you manage the number of carbs, veggies and protein and fats you ingest.

The rule is usually, a palm of proteins with each meal, a fistful of veggies, a cupped hand of carbs and one thumb length of fatty foods if you are adding fats to your meal.

It may read like a lot but if you think about it, it actually fills your plate with proper portions and you don’t miss out on the essentials.

Image by pelambung on Pixabay
Second – Drink your greens

Drinking your greens has got to be one of the easiest ways to get all the veggies you need into your system.

Celery juice is all the rage right now and for good reason – a hydrating juice with vitamin K, potassium and antioxidants that relieves bloating, helps with digestion and gives me an energy boost as well, where can I get one now??

It’s a perfect pick-me-up first thing in the morning, pushing the Apple cider vinegar phenomenon aside for a bit (not saying that it doesn’t have its benefits).

Green juices, especially those made at home with no artificial additives are great for you and fill you up, leaving no room for indulging in cravings. They give you all the nutritious elements you need and keeps your skin popping all day every day too, who doesn’t want that?

Put down the sugar-laden latte sometimes and pick up a green juice, or better yet a green smoothie that will keep you fuller for longer.

Third – Manage your eating schedule

Most of us have a 9 to 5 job which means we have to actively make time for meals – do it in a way that doesn’t add to your waistline but still fits in your schedule. Never ever miss breakfast.

Eat a healthy filling breakfast, be it at home or at work to avoid snacking badly throughout the morning hours. Carry packed lunches more often – this helps you avoid eating out and saves that coin as well as your diet. Drink more herbal teas instead of copious amounts of coffee.

Green tea, for example, is great because it keeps your metabolism going and still has a substantial amount of caffeine to keep you going for the day.

When you get home, have an early dinner, around 6 if you have a 10/11pm bedtime and a dinner devoid of starch if you can if you can’t – try to apply the hand portion control rule mentioned above.

Create Boundaries

As much as people time is necessary, protecting your space is also very key in getting through life. Creating boundaries with your friends, colleagues, family and everybody else you interact with is important as it keeps your sanity and lets others know you’re not one to be messed with.

Some people detect a weakness in someone and immediately use it to their advantage, therefore, making that person feel disrespected and defeated.

Boundaries at work help keep your working relationships strictly professional and keep your mind clear of any drama thus helping you focus on the task at hand. Boundaries with family members protect your peace, some relatives can be toxic and if you aren’t careful, it can put you in a negative space that doesn’t end well for either of person.

Create boundaries. Letting friends know the non-negotiables with you, and vice versa keeps you both accountable to the friendship. Click To Tweet

You love your family definitely but you also have a life to live and sustain, if someone is actively coming in between that in ways you cannot handle, it is okay to love them from a distance.

Friends are great and we all need that tight-knit squad we can always count on and trust. But we also need to make it clear when friends have crossed the line with us.

It’s never easy but some people can get too comfortable in your life and treat you in whatever way they like, thinking you’ll never have an issue with it.

Letting friends know the non-negotiables with you, and vice versa, keeps you both accountable to the friendship and in most cases, it helps cement the already great foundation of the relationship/friendship. It also helps you filter out the genuine people from the non-genuine ones as well.

Positive Financial Habits

We all like money, we all want more money but how do we utilize the money we already have? How often do you save? What do you do with said savings?

Financial responsibility is a harsh reality of adulthood and in this world of flashy lifestyles and doing everything for the gram it’s important to practice good financial habits. Saving and saving smart is one habit to incorporate this year.

You may want to finally move out this year, or finally go on vacation to one of the destinations on your bucket list or perhaps you want to get a car. All these things need money and a good chunk of it.

A good saving hack I picked up from YouTuber Shameless Maya was to always save 10% of anything you earn.

It can be more than 10% if you would like but it should never go below that, try it and see how much you save at the end of the year.

Image by loufre on Pixabay

Another positive financial habit is to immediately put money for all your bills aside as soon as you get paid.

You can put it in a separate account than the savings account so that the account is solely for bills. Once the 10% is put aside and this other amount is stored away to cover all the bills you have throughout the month, you are left with a nice little fraction for your monthly survival.

Usually, people tend to treat themselves to something once they get paid, either by going out or buying something nice which isn’t bad, but can also be avoided if your goal is bigger than that meal or those shoes or that one night out at the club.

If you focus on the end goal of where you want your finances to go, you’ll learn to compromise on the little things you spend money on like buying a coffee every day or eating out on the weekends or going out every other Friday.

When you’re in Greece giving us all the FOMO with your vacation pics, you’ll be glad you saved that 10% and carried packed lunch instead. Save those coins!


Social media is our new normal. We cannot seem to escape it and it’s been developed so much to a point where we somehow cannot live without it.

The baby boomer generation before us who never even understood social media are now the ones on Facebook and showing us YouTube videos and sending constant forwards on WhatsAppp.

(Thanks, but no thanks mum).

Unplugging is reiterated a lot more now because of how addictive the internet has become.

This is another life hack to keep your peace of mind and to give yourself a break from all the noise and chaos that is social media.

I think of social media as a machine that refuses to turn off, it is constantly on and constantly going and if you’re not careful it can swallow you up and spit you out in the worst way.

Social media is not horrible, not at all, but it can consume you very easily so taking time off it from time to time will give you clarity and calmness you never thought you needed in the already busy life you lead.

A simple hack I learned from a friend was to pick one day in the week to completely be offline from everything.

I chose Sunday. Every Sunday I switch off my data, wifi and I don’t get online for anything the entire day. If anyone needs to find me, they can just call or text me directly.

There’s no WhatsApp to keep me chatting, no Twitter to engage in and no Instagram to scroll through. At first, it feels difficult because you want to know what’s going on, you want to know what people are doing, where they are etc… but after one or two weeks of doing this, you actually anticipate that one day offline because of the peace that surrounds you.

You have a lot more time on your hands, you can get into other non-internet activities such as reading, cooking, calling up a friend to talk and catch up, going for a walk, spending time with your parents or siblings… you’ll start to realize how much you don’t do just by being on your phone/computer all the time.

Unplug. It helps you cancel all the noise in your head, for a while. Click To Tweet

You can do it for a day or a couple of hours, whatever you decide – try it and see how much fuller your life becomes with a simple break once in a while.

All these plus many more life hacks I’m sure you can add on here are just little ways to make your life a little easier, more manageable and just easing the stress of everyday life, in the long term keeping you happier and fulfilled.

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Diana Odero: I have had years of practice travelling on a budget

Diana Odero
Patience, an open mind and other skills you need to master the art of budget travel Click To Tweet

Diane Odero counts being a journalist (and contributor to SLA) among her growing list of accomplishments. She is also an avid travel lover and is able to do even though she was a student until just recently. For Diana, travel is an enriching experience and an opportunity for African women to get out there and see the world for what it actually is and not for what we think we know about the place.

Travel is more than just time to re-energize, reboot, press the reset button on life, it also helps bring in some Chi back into your life. Diana has only ever travelled on her own and has found that travel can be therapeutic.

Let’s talk finances, how do you find the budget to travel so widely?

I save constantly! I’m just like every other young woman who likes to shop, eat out and have a pamper day once in a while but then I also love to travel. And if you know anything about travel fares, they sure don’t come cheap. So I usually compromise on most things that I would like but don’t necessarily need.

I also make sure to put some money away with every income earned to keep up the saving habit. Also, I started travelling a lot while I was quite young, so I knew early on that I wanted to study abroad at some point and I was fortunate enough to do it twice for undergrad and for my Masters.

I also signed up for various sky miles programs years ago, not knowing how beneficial they would be in the long run. The miles started accumulating a lot while I was in college and before I fully understood the magic of sky miles. Now those miles have come in handy in the past two years and with more flights made, more miles are earned —it’s a beautiful cycle.

Lastly, I have mastered the art of finding really cheap flights. Would you believe me if I told you that my direct return flight to Italy from London only cost me £100 on British Airways? Insane. I couldn’t believe it myself, but booked it instantly before it disappeared. (Fares like those on such airlines don’t come by every day).

I’ve had years of practice since my college days with my friend Fiona who would scour the web with me at wee hours of the night (best time to find flights, also best days are Tuesday & Thursday in my experience). I also realized most of the travel packages out there put out a really good deal if you research very carefully.


What about visas? Have you faced any difficult travelling within or outside the continent as a Kenyan citizen?

The one place I have had minor issues was in the US where the Kenyan passport isn’t as valued as others. My visa was never an issue but the way I was treated compared to other people with passports from non-African countries, was really disappointing.

Nonetheless, America is still a second home to me and I know as more people of colour travel and even more Africans get out there, these unnecessary stereotypical discriminations will stop in due time.

In terms of visas, the UK visa was quite the struggle to obtain particularly for school. It’s not an impossible task, they just make it ultra difficult so you need to have a lot of patience when travelling to the UK. One single step missed in the application process and you’ll be denied one as soon as your interview is done.

Having applied for various visas before, I already knew what to prepare for and the dos and don’ts of the process; the lengthy process was what I had not expected at all. Within the continent, I haven’t had any problems with travel and visas so far.

What five skills does every African travel lover need? Why these skills in particular?

Time management skills

I have never missed a flight and I’ve only ever been close to missing one once in my life. That was because I had a 7:30am flight and woke up at 5 (the time I was meant to be at the airport). I literally got there as they were closing the gate; I had to beg them to let me in because I was rushing to school to make it in time for an exam.

Why I woke up late you may ask? I was up the night before until 4am —silly, I know but I really thought I would hear the alarm clock. Be very time conscious so as to never miss flights because rescheduling is such a pain and costs so much as well.


I’m usually a very patient person but some things can drive you insane. Traveling a lot has made me appreciate the art of being patient with people everywhere because not all places work the same as where you are familiar.

You have to be patient enough to scope out the environment around you, to learn how things work instead of forcing your ways upon someone who has no idea what you mean or are doing.

You need to be patient with the visa processes while going through security and customs at different ports, and you need to be patient when flights/trains get delayed over and over again. Keeping calm is much better than blowing a fuse believe me, you’ll get to your destination eventually.


An open mind

It’s really the only way you will enjoy anywhere you travel to including the traveling process as well. The world is a huge ball of diversity and with so many cultures living in it, no one person is the same so keep an open mind wherever you go to embrace what all these different places and people have to offer.

A lot of Africans are very rigid and very stuck in their ways, unwilling to embrace any type of change even while in another country. This will make your visit/stay quite miserable over time because the homesickness will overwhelm you and the longer you keep your mind closed to what’s around you, the worse the feeling gets.

Home is always going to be home but there’s no harm in making your new destination feel like home as well by being positive about all the place has to offer.

Financial Savvy

Please put down a budget! I can’t emphasize this enough. Always write down a budget before embarking on any trip especially if it’s a solo trip or one with friends where you don’t have family to rely on in case anything goes awry. Vacations, work trips, even road trips take up a lot of extra money that doesn’t come back to you so spend wisely even if you are on holiday.

Research on transport options in the area you are visiting, you’ll find it’s cheaper to use the local public transport than taking cabs everywhere. Eat at local spots; avoid the big brand names you’re used to, try something new that may end up being cheaper and healthier in the long run. Hotels are luxury exemplified for sure but the only purpose a hotel serves is somewhere for you to sleep and store your luggage, you hardly spend any quality time in there.

Instead of splurging on fancy hotels that you may never even eat in, go for an Airbnb or couchsurf, there are plenty of much more affordable accommodation options nowadays thanks to travel becoming a huge part of the millennial lifestyle. And all the money you’ve saved in hotel costs can go into extra shopping or activity spending money – win win!

Be responsible

I know I know… such a dull word to put together with travel and adventure but you knew it was coming. Once again, if at all this is a solo trip or a trip with friends; know that you alone are solely responsible for yourself. Your safety, health and your belongings – all you. You may want a vacation to just go turn up and have a blast, but always think, where is my passport? Where is my money? How is the security at this hotel, apartment or house?

I personally don’t trust hotel safes, so I keep my IDs/passport on me at all times. Money stays on me as well if I’m not using a card for purchasing items and I keep a look out for my friends whenever we are out. Others may have a different way of going about things but all in all, you need to remember where you are is foreign to you thus you need to be extra careful and stay safe.

Most travel packages provide you with a tour guide who can also double as your security because being local they know the ins and outs of the place and can guide you effectively.

Worst case scenario —something does go wrong, say an accident or robbery, the authorities in the area are always willing to help, and it will go by much smoother if you cooperate with them.


What will be your travel goals for 2017? How do you plan to make them a reality?

I have so many travel goals! I always start out the year planning out where I want to go which is usually 2-3 different countries or cities within my own country here in Kenya. But as you know, plans don’t always work out they way you want them to.

This year, I decided I’ll stick to the decision I made after completing undergrad —that I must travel to at least one new place every year and if more trips happen to come about, even better. It’s been about three years since I said that and true to form —I have travelled even more than once each year since. I believe in speaking things into existence.

Travel is a special part of my life and has been for a very long time and because I love it so much, I work hard to make it a reality. For 2017, I would love to go to Cape Town, it’s the one city in South Africa I really want to explore but I haven’t had a chance to visit yet and I would also love to go to Morocco. A few friends and I already have that plan in the works, so if God wills it, it will happen.

My ultimate goal though is to secure a job that feeds into my passions - Diana Odero Click To Tweet

My ultimate goal though is to secure a job that feeds into my two passions in life —writing and travel. This will enable me to not only keep checking countries off my travel bucket list but it will also contribute to my career by giving me constant inspiration and content to write about —telling the world great stories of different places, people, and things.