Get better at (almost) everything with these 17 beautifully simple lifehacks from the Soho House team
Run joyfully into 2017
Planning on taking up running in the new year? Think about posture. Keep your head high, your back straight and your eyes on the horizon. Never slouch. Your shoulders can hang loose, but your arms should bend at 90 degrees. Both hands should be lightly clenched into fists; imagine holding a piece of paper between your thumb and forefinger. Take short strides, don’t lift your knees too much. And enjoy yourself!
Courtney Van Dusen
Personal trainer, Soho House Chicago
Love your nails
Throw away your nail strengthener – your nails are dead and slathering them in ‘protein’ isn’t going to change that. For lasting integrity, stimulate your nail matrix (the living root, just below the cuticle) with almond oil. You’ll notice a difference in weeks. Drumming your fingernails on a hard surface is also great stimulation. That’s why typing pool girls back in the 1950s had such lovely nails.
Educator and training manager, Cheeky London
Stop crying in the kitchen
If you’re crying over onions, it’s because you need to sharpen your knife. A blunt knife squeezes the onion, spurting irritants everywhere. Chop swiftly and cleanly and you’ll have no problem.
Commis chef de cuisine, Soho House Berlin
Improve your appearance
There’s an easy way to do this – just clean your mirrors. Take two sheets of newspaper, one moistened with water, the other dry. Rub the mirror with the wet sheet, then polish with the dry. This method cleans to a sparkle, leaves absolutely no residue and never streaks. It works on windows as well.
Housekeeping manager, Soho House New York
Get inspired by Instagram
Fancy collecting some art in 2017? Then first of all, pay no attention to the art snobs – what you like is completely valid. And secondly, get on Instagram. Add a few galleries and institutions to your feed; a daily dose of art is nourishing for the soul and the perfect way to browse pieces you might eventually choose to buy. Leonardo DiCaprio and Florence Welch have both bought from Instagram, and you don’t need to spend a fortune. Prints and drawings are an inexpensive investment and will make a huge difference in your home.
Head of collections
Escape your inbox
Emails are useful, but they can be abused. Take a moment to think before hitting the button – do I really need to send this? When it comes to organising an inbox, lots of people wax lyrical about creating folders in Outlook. Folders, within folders, within folders. But, I say, it’s easier to stay on top of one folder and work as hard as you can to keep it empty.
Support office coordinator, Soho House Toronto
Improve your aroma
To prevent those nasty odours after a workout, change your damn socks! The longer your feet spend in them, the worse the problem. Also, remove your insoles after you go for a run, especially when storing sneakers – it tackles the real enemy, bacteria. Some people like the idea of sprinkling baking soda (about half a spoonful in each shoe), but that can be messy. My top tip? Dryer sheets. Toss one in each shoe overnight and they’ll be as fresh as the dawn.
Gym manager, Soho House Chicago
Beat your hangover
You just need a few cupboard basics. Mix a little lemon juice, black pepper, grated ginger and turmeric into a shot glass. Drink it in one. The pepper catalyses anti-inflammatory agents in the turmeric, which takes care of headaches. Ginger settles a queasy stomach, and lemon juice raises the pH of your system, which helps your kidneys excrete all those nasty toxins. Or, alternatively, just whip up another cocktail and start over.
Bar manager, Little Beach House Malibu
Keep it chill
The key to dealing with tricky guests is to never give the slightest impressionyou’re stressed. If they can tell that you’re ‘in the weeds’ they assume you’re not going to be able to help them, which gets them even more worked up. Presenting a confident, collected and smiley demeanour will diffuse most situations. If you don’t have time to do everything, don’t be afraid to ask someone on your team for help. And, if you can’t do what the guest wants, for whatever reason, always offer some form of alternative.
Club server, Ludlow House
Know your shortcuts
It’s worth brushing up on nerdy workarounds, as it can mean the difference between staying late or joining your friends in the bar on a Friday. Use a blank Outlook email for your to-do lists; it’s simple to edit, and autosaves to the ‘drafts’ folder for easy access on any device. Flip between applications using ALT+TAB (cmd+TAB on a Mac). Dialling into a conference call? Save the phone number, plus two commas and the PIN code in a single string. That way, when you hit dial you’ll automatically go through, as each comma creates an automatic one second delay – perfect for when you’re driving.
Assistant to the COO
Poach a perfect egg
Michelin-star chef Pierre Gagnaire developed this simple technique that most of our UK sites now follow. Cook the egg in a combi oven at 63°C for 45 minutes. At this precise heat, bacteria dies but the yolk remains liquid. To serve, peel off the shell, dunk in hot water for a few seconds and serve with a sprinkle of rock salt and chilli fakes. Voilà!
Stock up on kitchen basics
It pays to have simple ingredients of high quality in your kitchen. Chunky kosher salt is superior to fine-grain, iodised salt. Sherry vinegar lends brightness to roast vegetables, especially anything that grows underground. Keep two different olive oils in the cupboard; a fancy certified Italian oil for drizzling on bread, a less pricey one for day-to-day cooking. Always have a few nuts and seeds for toasting – a flavoursome textural enhancement to salad or fish dishes.
Sous chef, The Allis, Soho House Chicago
Take 21 days to form a good habit
Motivation works in interesting ways. Everybody has their own targets – things they want to accomplish. I’d advise somebody who has never really gone to the gym before to set monthly targets. Go twice a week for a month. By the end of that month, as long as you’re eating well and taking it seriously, your body will expect to go to the gym. Then you’re set.
Server captain and fitness enthusiast, Ludlow House
Do it face-to-face
A simple but important tip: discussing issues in person is the best way to resolve tension, especially when email can so easily be misinterpreted. People are always kinder and more inclined to be conciliatory and consider alternative points of view when chatting face-to-face.
Head of learning and development, UK and Europe
Shape up your shaving routine
Before shaving, exfoliate vigorously in a hot shower. It makes your whiskers stand clear of tender skin. Apply pre-shave oil early too, as it takes time to penetrate. Most people get the importance of shaving with the grain, but pay close attention near the sensitive collar line where the grain can travel in two or even three directions. A splash of cold water and a soothing balm will close your pores and refresh skin when you’re finished, but the real secret of avoiding redness is in the prep.
Master barber, Neville, Shoreditch
Know what to look for in a good cuppa
The best way to judge a coffee shop is on its cappuccino. It’s the hardest drink to get right: the sweetness of the milk, the consistency of the foam, the character of the espresso. Also, certain drinks should come in certain vessels: cortado in 5oz glasses, latte in 10oz and so on. Finally, service matters; the cult of the snobby hipster is in decline, fortunately. But it’s an ongoing process.
Coffee quality control manager, East Coast North America
Lastly, get comfortable
Pleasant surroundings are key to enhancing your productivity. Good lighting, a comfy seat, the right temperature and a handful of inspirational knick-knacks get creative juices flowing. At Soho Works we insist on plants (oxygen matters) and water fountains for hydration. We stock books on art, design, cartography and science. Not because people are aspiring particle physicists, necessarily, but because inspiration is everything, and browsing beautiful books is a lovely way to refresh a frazzled brain. When you’re bored, or fidgety, or cold, distractions happen and productivity slumps. So make sure everything is set up just the way you want it.
Director, Soho Works
Compiled by Andy Hill.
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