Category Archives: Business & Life Hacks

tricks, shortcuts, skills, methods that increase wellness, productivity & efficiency

Business & Life Hacks List

Business & Life Hacks

Being happier at work

What is disruptive innovation now?

You’re already more persuasive than you think

The new science of customer emotions

Mindfulness As A Productivity Tool?

Marketing – Why Some Videos Go Viral

Lessons From The 20 Most Popular TED Talks

Proof That Life Experiences, Not Things, Make You Happier

How To Impress Anyone In 30 Seconds

12 Things Successful People Never Reveal At Work

Natural, Herbal, Homeopathic Sleep Remedies


Business Hacks | Learning to love networking

Why? Because professional networks lead to more job and business opportunities, broader and deeper knowledge, improved capacity to innovate, faster advancement, and greater status and authority.

Corporate photographer shot this networking business meeting in Los AngelesLearn to Love Networking

by  Tiziana Casciaro, Francesca Gino, Maryam Kouchaki

“I hate networking.” We hear this all the time from executives, other professionals, and MBA students. They tell us that networking makes them feel uncomfortable and phony—even dirty. Although some people have a natural passion for it—namely, the extroverts who love and thrive on social interaction—many understandably see it as brown-nosing, exploitative, and inauthentic.

Corporate photographer shot this networking business meeting in Los Angeles

Corporate photographer shot this networking business meeting in Los Angeles

But in today’s world, networking is a necessity. A mountain of research shows that professional networks lead to more job and business opportunities, broader and deeper knowledge, improved capacity to innovate, faster advancement, and greater status and authority. Building and nurturing professional relationships also improves the quality of work and increases job satisfaction.

When we studied 165 lawyers at a large North American law firm, for example, we found that their success depended on their ability to network effectively both internally (to get themselves assigned to choice clients) and externally (to bring business into the firm). Those who regarded these activities as distasteful and avoided them had fewer billable hours than their peers.

Fortunately, our research shows that an aversion to networking can be overcome. We’ve identified four strategies to help people change their mindset.

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Business Hacks | win-win biz, helping the environment and humans in need

Flowers at weddings are beautiful—but their beauty doesn’t have to end there. People donate to Repeat Roses, who picks up the flowers, re-purposes them, and drops them off at hospices, hospitals and nursing homes, where they conjure needed smiles on patients’ faces.

Business Hacks - win-win business, helping humans in need and the environment TAnd then Repeat Roses takes it one step further–a week later, they pick up the flowers and compost them, saving them from the garbage.


Spread smiles to those in need. On your behalf, we deliver beautifully refreshed flower bouquets and arrangements to residents and patients in hospitals, cancer treatment centers, nursing homes, hospice care and shelter facilities.

Together, we can bring kindness and make a positive impact in communities across the country. From our headquarters in New York City to Los Angeles, California and all points in between. Continue reading »

Life Hacks | the little-known everyday habit of highly successful people

Working late into the night can make you more productive–and more successful–than you ever imagined.

Life-Hacks- little-known-everyday-habit-of-highly-successful-peopleThe Little-Known Everyday Habit of Highly Successful People

by Peter Economy

What’s that more successful person doing right now? Chances are, they are going to go to bed long after you’ve reached the happy land of dreams.

Although site after site encourages you to rest and take care of yourself–usually advocating tons of sleep to make sure your brain isn’t overworked–training yourself to fight exhaustion is a very powerful statement. The beauty of staying up late is that you have uninterrupted time to focus on yourself–and your work. Continue reading »

Business Hacks | being happier at work

Emma Seppälä, author of The Happiness Track, explains the proven benefits of a positive outlook; simple ways to increase your sense of well-being; and why it’s not about being ecstatic or excited all the time. Audio IdeaCast available too.

Jumping business executive man and woman in photo shot by corporate Los Angeles photographerSARAH GREEN CARMICHAEL: Welcome to the HBR IdeaCast from Harvard Business Review. I’m Sarah Green Carmichael. Today, I’m talking with Emma Seppala, science director of Stanford’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education. She’s the author of the brand new book, The Happiness Track, How to Apply the Science of Happiness to Accelerate Your Success. Emma, thank you so much for talking with us today.

EMMA SEPPALA: Oh, you’re more than welcome. I’m happy to be here.

SARAH GREEN CARMICHAEL: So I thought we should just start by talking about how you define success in the purposes of the book because you started, I thought was really interesting, with a quote from late poet Maya Angelou, who actually was one of my all-time favorite interviews that we’ve done on the IdeaCast. That was a few years ago. But she stuck out in my mind.

Jumping business executive man and woman in photo shot by corporate Los Angeles photographer

© photo by Gregory Mancuso – Jumping business executive man and woman in photo shot by corporate Los Angeles photographer

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Business Hacks | what is disruptive innovation now?

The theory of disruptive innovation has proved to be a powerful way of thinking about innovation-driven growth. Here’s an excellent article and video about how it’s evolving.

What-Is-Disruptive-Innovation-evolving toBy Clayton M. Christensen, Michael E. Raynor, Rory McDonald

The theory of disruptive innovation, introduced in these pages in 1995, has proved to be a powerful way of thinking about innovation-driven growth. Many leaders of small, entrepreneurial companies praise it as their guiding star; so do many executives at large, well-established organizations, including Intel, Southern New Hampshire University, and

Unfortunately, disruption theory is in danger of becoming a victim of its own success. Despite broad dissemination, the theory’s core concepts have been widely misunderstood and its basic tenets frequently misapplied. Furthermore, essential refinements in the theory over the past 20 years appear to have been overshadowed by the popularity of the initial formulation. As a result, the theory is sometimes criticized for shortcomings that have already been addressed. Continue reading »

Life Hacks | you’re already more persuasive than you think

Life-Hacks--top-10-tips-to-show-you’re-already-more-persuasive-than-you-think TIt’s amazing the opportunities we miss because we often doubt our own powers of persuasion.

You’re Already More Persuasive than You Think

by Vanessa K. Bohns

Our bosses make shortsighted decisions, but we don’t suggest an alternative, figuring they wouldn’t listen anyway. Or we have an idea that would require a group effort, but we don’t try to sell our peers on it, figuring it would be too much of an uphill battle. Even when we need a personal favor, such as coverage for an absence, we avoid asking our colleagues out of fear of rejection. Continue reading »

Business Hacks | the new science of customer emotions

When companies connect with customers’ emotions, the payoff can be huge.

Business Hacks-The New Science of Customer Emotions - best tips to increase sales

© photo by Gregory Mancuso

The New Science of Customer Emotions

By Scott Magids, Alan Zorfas, Daniel Leemon

When companies connect with customers’ emotions, the payoff can be huge. Consider these examples: After a major bank introduced a credit card for Millennials that was designed to inspire emotional connection, use among the segment increased by 70% and new account growth rose by 40%.

Within a year of launching products and messaging to maximize emotional connection, a leading household cleaner turned market share losses into double-digit growth. And when a nationwide apparel retailer reoriented its merchandising and customer experience to its most emotionally connected customer segments, same-store sales growth accelerated more than threefold. Continue reading »

Life Hacks | mindfulness as a productivity tool?

A wisdom tradition associated with personal growth and insight is now being absorbed by our culture as a tool for career development and efficiency.

Life Hacks-mindfulness as a productivity tool for career development and efficiency TIs Something Lost When We Use Mindfulness as a Productivity Tool?

by Charlotte Lieberman

I came to mindfulness as a healing practice after overcoming an addiction to Adderall during my junior year of college. I found myself in this situation because I thought that using Adderall to help me focus was no big deal — an attitude shared by 81% of students nationwide.

Adderall simply seemed like an innocuous shortcut to getting things done – and to do so efficiently yet effortlessly. I still remember the rush I felt my first night on Adderall: I completed every page of assigned Faulkner reading (not easy), started and finished a paper several weeks before the due date (because why not?), Swiffered my room (twice) and answered all of my unread emails (even the irrelevant ones). It’s also probably worth noting that I had forgotten to eat all night, and somehow found myself still awake at 4 a.m., my jaw clenched and my stomach rumbling. Sleep was nowhere in sight.

Life Hacks-mindfulness as a productivity tool for career development and efficiency

© photo by Gregory Mancuso

What I saw initially as shortcut to more focus and productivity ultimately turned out instead to be a long detour toward self-destruction. Rather than thinking of focus as the byproduct of my own power and capability, I looked outside of myself, thinking that a pill would solve my problems.

Continue reading »

Business Hacks | marketing – why some videos go viral

In “Puppyhood,” a video for Purina Puppy Chow produced with BuzzFeed, a guy spontaneously adopts a puppy, they bond in typical roommate fashion…and a marketer’s dream comes true.

This is the best funny youtube video of a man who doesn’t know anything adopting a puppy dogWhy Some Videos Go Viral

A viral video is every marketer’s dream. It’s the surest way to cut through the noise of the internet. And studies show that social viewers—people who watch shared content rather than videos they’ve found by browsing—are far more likely to buy a product and recommend it to others.

Why do some videos catch fire and others just sputter out? Unruly, a marketing technology company, offers an answer. Its analysis of some 430 billion video views and 100,000 consumer data points reveals the two most powerful drivers of viral success: psychological response (how the content makes you feel) and social motivation (why you want to share it).

Continue reading »

Life Hacks | lessons from the 20 most popular TED talks

The 20 most popular TED talks ever are likely to make you question just about everything. And they will toss in a few answers.

Life Hacks- life lessons from the 20 most popular TED talks videos5 Mind-Blowing Lessons From the Most Popular TED Talks of All Time By Minda Zetlin

What does it take to be happy? How do you motivate the people who work for you to do their best? How do you know what is and isn’t real in the world around you?

You may think you know the answers to all these questions, but watching the 20 most popular TED talks of all time will likely change your mind. With speakers like Bill Gates and Sting to choose from, some of the highest standards anywhere, and a proven method for mining the best and most insightful information any speaker can share, by the time a talk is published on the TED website, it’s always worth watching and almost always brilliant.

Dan Gilbert: The surprising science of happiness

Just how great does a talk have to be to shine in that high-level group? Take a look at these examples and you’ll know. They are not only entertaining and thought provoking, but will likely make you rethink many of your assumptions. Here are just a few beliefs that these talks may unsettle:

1. Getting what we want will make us happy.

Not by a long shot. After explaining how making his younger sister think she was a unicorn kept her from feeling pain after a fall, psychologist Shawn Achor explains how the external facts of our lives account for very little of our actual happiness. And Harvard psychologist Dan Gilbert shows us how we can be happy even when everything goes wrong.

2. The best leaders create great incentives.

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Life Hacks | proof that life experiences, not things, make you happier

If you’re wondering whether to use that extra money you came upon to buy that new expensive bag or go on vacation, a new study suggests your best bet may be the latter.

Life Hacks - photo offers proof that life experiences, not things, make you happier, tResearchers from San Francisco State University found that people generally know life experiences will make them happier, but they still choose to spend their money on material items because they think they’re of greater value.

“We naturally associate economic value with stuff. I bought this car, it’s worth $8,000,” study researcher Ryan Howell, associate professor of psychology at the university, said in a statement. “We have a hard time estimating the economic value we would place on our memories.”


Life Hacks - photo offers proof that life experiences, not things, make you happier

photo by Gregory Mancuso ©

For one of the experiments in the study, published in the Journal of Positive Psychology, researchers surveyed study participants before and after they bought something. Before making the purchase, the participants said that they were aware that a life experience would bring them more happiness, but that it would also make more sense financially to buy the material item.

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Life Hacks | natural, herbal and homeopathic sleep remedies

Insomnia can negatively affect your daily activities. Here are various home remedies for insomnia including natural remedies, herbal treatments and homeopathic medications.

Sleeping photo displays best natural, herbal and homeopathic remedies for insomnia--good life hackInsomnia is a complex condition caused by a wide range of factors. To counter it, these factors need to be addressed. While for some people sleep may come effortlessly, this is not always the case. Some people experience sleeplessness which leads to a sleep deficit.

To regain normal functioning, it is necessary to identify and eliminate the causes of insomnia. Various herbal, Ayurvedic, natural and home remedies for insomnia can help achieve this. They are as discussed below.

Sleeping photo displays best natural, herbal and homeopathic remedies for insomnia--good life hack

photo ©Gregory Mancuso

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Life Hacks | 12 things successful people never reveal at work

You can’t build a strong professional network if you don’t open up to your colleagues; but doing so is tricky, because revealing the wrong things can have a devastating effect on your career.

Photo showing 12 things successful people never reveal about themselves at work-life hacksBy Travis Bradberry

Sharing the right aspects of yourself in the right ways is an art form. Disclosures that feel like relationship builders in the moment can wind up as obvious no-nos with hindsight.

The trick is to catch yourself before you cross that line, because once you share something, there is no going back.

Photo showing 12 things successful people never reveal about themselves at work-life hacks

photo ©Gregory Mancuso

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Life Hacks | how to impress anyone in 30 seconds or less

Few things in life will help you more than knowing how to make an immediate great impression. Make note of these impressive habits.

Executive photo about best ways to impress anyone in 30 seconds for financial success--great life hackBy Lolly Daskal

Some experts estimate that 85 percent of your financial success comes not from your skills or knowledge but from your ability to connect with other people and engender their trust and respect.

Within seconds, everyone you meet forms an impression that largely determines whether they’ll like, trust, and respect you. Whether you’re job-hunting or fundraising or leading an organization, making a good impression is absolutely critical. (No pressure, right?)

Executive photo about best ways to impress anyone in 30 seconds for financial success--great life hack

photo ©Gregory Mancuso

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Essay | Sleep On The Job To Work Better – scientists prove what my grandpa and cat told me

power nap, cap nappingMy Grandpa and cat told me naps are important. Now smarty-pants scientists also say ‘power naps’ improve cognitive functioning, increase reaction time, learning, efficiency and health. Result? Get more work done.

black cat napping

photo by Los Angeles photographer Gregory Mancuso | modeling by JR

My grandfather didn’t speak much English, and my cat, well, even less, but they told me how important naps were. One of my earliest childhood memories is hearing my grandfather’s booming voice and his Italian command “pisolare, pisolare”, and seeing his big gnarled hand coming down to snatch mine and tug me over to the couch.

We would then proceed to lie down together and take a short nap. We knew a ‘power nap’ would improve our cognitive functioning, increase our reaction time, learning, efficiency, and health.

Ok, I’m lying, we didn’t know any of that. But smarty-pants scientists have discerned all that and more in study after study. We just knew it gave us more pep to proceed with grand adventures and mischief around our Bronx neighborhood or the serious work of creating coloring book masterpieces. When serious work is confronting you, getting the project done faster and better can be achieved by sleeping on the job.


First let’s get a handle on what a ‘power nap’ is and then how best to pull it off. Regarding duration time, many sleep experts advise to keep the nap between 15 and 30 minutes.

Sleep comes in five stages. If your nap takes you from stage 1 sleep (just drifting off) to stage 2 (brain activity slows), you will wake up feeling energized and more alert. If your nap takes you into stages 3 and 4, which is deep sleep, you will not wake easily and will feel groggy and tired.

Sleep stage 1 typically lasts about 10 minutes and stage 2 lasts another 10 minutes. That makes the 20-minute nap ideal for most people. Speaking from my two decades of personal slumbering experience, I find between 20 and 30 minutes is ideal.


Now I know what some of you are thinking–‘I can’t spare any time–I have piles of work piling up–emails to email–deadlines, deadlines and deadlines’. But the thing is, you’re going to get all that stuff done faster by stopping for a short time span because the nap increases your efficiency.

So if you sleep for 15 minutes and maybe increase your efficiency by a conservative 15% for the rest of the work day, say four hours, you’re going to, in effect, save 36 minutes, so you’ll actually come out ahead by 21 minutes. And whatever you’re doing is probably going to be done at a higher quality level to boot.


Say you’re not a numbers nut–but instead a health nut–there’s tons of evidence that this short break provides numerous health benefits. For one, it decreases the risk of dying from heart disease. That’s nothing to snore at. A large, six-year study of Greek adults found that people who took a siesta at least three times per week had a 37 percent lower risk of heart-related death.

Research also shows that a nap significantly reduces stress, and we know stress can lead to all sorts of deleterious issues. Naps also improve cognitive functioning, boosts your patience, improves reaction time, increases learning, boosts creativity, makes you more alert and in general improves your overall mood.

Although our own US culture generally frowns upon mid-day sleep, many others around the world smile upon it. Italians like my grandfather almost consider it mandatory. When I was in Italy I remember it seemed like the country virtually shut down for part of the afternoon, especially when I was outside the big cities. And this snoozing has been tried and tested for hundreds of years in many other cultures.


Regardless of culture, humans are manufactured to shut down in about 8 hours after waking. Most people experience a natural increase in drowsiness in the afternoon. It seems that between one and three o’clock is the best time period to nap. Once you get to 4 o’clock or after, the nap can interfere with you ability to fall asleep at night.

The best time will vary among individuals and vary a little from day to day. Your own mind/body clock will tell you when, if you’re open to listening to it. Or if you’re open to listening to a psychic cat.

My furry office manager and lucky black cat, JR, had an uncanny ability to sense when I needed a break. When I would start fading in the afternoon, he’d leap up on my desk, lay across the computer keyboard and meow to take a nap with him. If I would lift him off the keyboard, he would lay right back down across it and meow in a more exasperated tone. He refused to budge until I got up, and as soon as I did, he did.

Then JR would follow me to the sofa or bed, lie across my chest and purr contentedly that I was smart enough to follow his advice. Cats are indeed napping experts and I did well in heeding his guidance .

So whether you put more weight in a big bunch of smarty-pants scientific studies, or an old grandfather and his ancient culture, or the expert opinion of felines–everything points to napping for enhanced work and better health.

written by Los Angeles photographer & writer Gregory Mancuso