10 Hacks for a Good Life – A Malaysian Alien Column #16

Don't Just stand there

So. I’ve often harped on an on about finding joy at work, and finding meaningfulness in life. But with trying to get ahead, pushing your career forward, or designing a unique role for yourself to inhabit, you can sometimes get bogged down in the ‘hustle’ of it all.

I want to share 10 rules that I try to live by (at the moment – I am no fool and I know that what I preach one day, might very well be the thing I hate another day). And I will also get around to sharing my calendar soon as well, because if it is one thing I fully believe in, it is the art of scheduling.

My 10 rules for a good life:

1) Define your destination.

These could be a long term goal or a short term goal. Or it could just be stating and owning your situation: you choose to be in a secure job that isn’t ticking all your boxes, because you want to work on a writing project. For example. But set yourself goals, if your current job isn’t right for you, give yourself a timeline to finish that book. Or if your job is the perfect one for you, give yourself targets to reach to keep yourself relevant. Use these goals as shining light in your mind. Whatever happens, hold on to this as it will guide you back on course if or when you detour.

2) Get up earlier.

This might not be right for everyone because some people are just night people, and ideally, you’d want to find a job that allowed you to come in at 10 or 11am if you are one of these. But for me, one of the best habits I have cultivated is to wake up earlier and have a healthy morning routine. I am currently on a mini version, where I just have time for a morning meditation, shower, and make the bed and go. But I am working towards having enough time in the morning for yoga, meditation and one bit of tidying.  Remember to go to sleep earlier, I swear by at least 7 hours of sleep.

3) Meditate.

Twice if you can, but at least once in the morning will change your life. Well it changed mine, and that is all I can go by. And I am not a zen-bashing fanatic, all I do is sit up in bed and have a 20 minute meditation. Not having to get up and get dressed before I meditate actually makes it much easier for me to do, and makes waking up a lot nicer.

4) De-clutter Errythang.

Be ruthless about clearing the noise:

Spring clean your inbox – try to sit on ‘no new mails’ ALWAYS.

Minimalise your wardrobe – it will make you more stylish (you have a handful of outfits that all work well together) and takes the stress out of dressing in the morning.

Streamline your belongings – The Japanese KonMari method is a great tool for achieving a clean, tidy and stress free home.

Schedule like a boss –  Get a calendar app or tool and carve out your time. Plot in your exercise, cleaning, tidying, REST, that fun project you were meaning to do for ages, that friend you haven’t seen in a month. I take great pleasure in planning out my calendar.

5) Plan your meals.

Nothing new here. Keep your Sundays free for a big shop, making stock (or bone broth if you’re well trendy), and making lunch prep for the rest of the week. Sometimes I do this, sometimes I don’t. But I feel better when I do.

6) Exercise.

Again, nothing new. But it helps you be a hero everyday. There are no words to explain how much I RULE, when I have had 20 minutes meditation and half an hour of yoga in the morning. Villains beware…

7) Pamper once a week.

Does not mean ‘treat yo’self’ with Krispy Kreme’s or that huge pizza. Although on occasion, maybe it is what you want. I won’t judge, because I do the same. But good treats, like sitting in the sauna, or putting on a face mask, or doing your nails, are better. Do something to make yourself feel great.

8) Support .

Cherish your good friends. These are not the people that show you a good time, but the ones who you call on when the world collapses around you, when you have been faithfully following all ten of these steps and still things go horribly wrong. Choose your friends wisely, these are the guys that can see the biggest potential in you and will help you reach it.

9) Bravery.

Everyone has heard the phrase ‘do something that scares you’ and there’s good reason for this – it is good advice. But it could be as simple as looking at a new job, or a new place to live. Go on, explore a country by yourself or put yourself in a difficult situation that you HAVE to rise to. Do it just to keep sharp, to remind you of your worth, and the worth of the things you currently have in your life.

10) Fun.

Break all the rules once in a while, being too good is boring.




Why do any of this? What is the point?

Ultimately the pursuit of happiness. What more could we hope for really. But I am also trying to design my life, design my ‘self’ – in the hopes to create a future where I work on dream projects for dream clients, or just for myself (and make enough money to sustain a good life while doing it).

This talk by Kathleen Shannon explains it well.


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