Archive for the ‘Life hacking’ Category

Search around the web or Twitter these days and this expression is common enough. But what is Life Hacking?

No matter what you might think, Life Hacking does sound pretty cool.  If asked what you do for a living which answer would you rather come up with:

Answer A – I’m distribution manager. Or…

Answer B – I’m a life hacker.

I know which one sounds more interesting to me. Life hacking sounds grandiose, it sounds worthwhile, its modern, its cutting edge. Its making differences to lives today – and those differences will make a fuck of an improvement to your life – right now!

According to Wikipedia:

Life hacking refers to any productivity trick, shortcut, skill, or novelty method to increase productivity and efficiency, in all walks of life; in other words, anything that solves an everyday problem of a person in a clever or non-obvious way.

So life hacker isn’t really an occupation, its more a hobby or perhaps a pastime? Let’s reword the question. So what do you get up to in your spare time?

Answer A – Try and hit the gym regularly, keep up with some books and a little blogging

Answer B – I life hack. I make myself more productive and more efficient.

For sheer interest value I’m still with Answer B. But as its now only a pastime, I’m starting to think it’s sounding a little cheesy and maybe smacks a little of an over inflated ego.

There are lots of websites and individuals with Lifehacking claims and these range from the sublime to the ridiculous. For example I’ve seen a Lifehack suggesting that you shouldn’t wash a pair of denims and instead just use Fabreeze to freshen them up a bit so the denim doesn’t fade so quickly. Save washing only for when they are covered with stains and noticeable dirt. OK, this sounds a moderately practical idea but somehow it doesn’t conjure up what Life hacking sounds like. Another one I saw suggested taking a picture with your mobile phone of friends when they borrow something (with the borrowed item) so you can remember who borrowed what later on. Seriously? This is hacking one’s life? No, it’s just old-fashioned ‘tips and tricks’ and even then some of them are just plain idiotic (my suggestion is if you are incapable of working out who you lend things to, its time to stop lending things…. How’s that for a Life hack?).

That said – I still want to hack my life. But not in a fortune cookie kind of way. I want to review my actions and my productivity. Could I have done better using a different technique? Could I have gotten better results? And my favourite unanswered question – what is my potential to do that better next time? Where that is anything from the report I’ve written, to the time it took me to make a playlist to the set of reps I did at the gym. The hack comes in with the improvements I can think of.

To me a life hack should be meaningful and not as Wikipedia suggests a “novelty”. It’s not a gizmo to make your desk marginally tidier (use bulldog clips to secure cables) or how to stop paint spilling off a tin (put a rubber band across the open top of the tin to wipe your brush on). Life hacking should be something you feel enriched by, your life has changed for the better.

  • Ignore calories and concentrate on what you are eating and what’s in it.
  • If you want to lose weight, don’t just go to the gym – eat less. And eat more carefully. For weight loss eating better is way more productive than going to the gym.
  • Don’t look for motivation, it’s a variable. Think about discipline – it is a constant. (This statement alone is making a massive difference to me just now).
  • Don’t change the world overnight. Just getting lots of small gains will change your world for you. Next thing you’re winning the Tour De France.

To me, the above are life hacks – real life hacks. That’s the sort of information that changes lives – meaningfully. So my aim is to become a life hacker. I’ll hack my own life to be happier. I’ll hack it to be more productive, to be fitter and to feel I’m living up to my potential. I’m not interested in ‘novelty value’ and never will be. So the Mid Life Male will be looking to become a meaningful life hacker. It might not be everyone’s definition of life hacking, but it will work for me and hopefully along the way some others too.