To really use life hacks, one not only needs to think about those life hacks, but also use them effectively.

The idea is to think about it this way:

Every task one does no matter where they work, it goes in a sequence like [Think → discuss → decide → execute → follow-up…etc].

  • When the tasks are complex, the thinking step may be significantly time consuming. When they are easier, the thinking steps will be smaller.
  • When tasks are ambiguous and one person’s thinking process may not get someone to the most optimum solution, then it is better to discuss. When things are easier than that, then it is often easier to jump on to a decide step.
  • When one has decided, then all one has to do is to get to the goal.
  • Execution is what cannot really be crunched down in shorter time. If something can be done faster, sure! that is the way to go.

Now, why life hacks in the first place?

They narrow down all the windows such as thinking, discussions, decision making. If you have a hack for something, you can pretty much eliminate those windows to near zero.

If on the top of that, a hack saves you time, and also helps you reduce the time it takes to eliminate, then its even better.

Conclusion one: If a life hack is not saving you any of your time with thinking, discussions, decision making, execution, then leave it out. It is not applicable in your case.

How often to use them?

One can come up with a standard operating procedure that has general and wider applicability and incurs a lot of repetitions in which case each repetition saves a small amount of time that adds up as:

Time saved by a hack x repetitions of the hack.

  • If something is being repeated thousands or hundreds of time, you really need to come up with a hack that saves you time in the future.
  • I will give you a simple example: A friend of mine always used to get some kind of frozen food, that he used to heat up in the microwave, and then eat it. What he did on day one is to calibrate how long it takes to heat it up to perfect temperature, then narrowed it down to a closest window of time which would not over-heat it, but also was easier to type up on the microwave. He came up with 3 mins 33 seconds. Now if you imagine how this goes on the microwave – he has to put the packet in, and press 333 and click start, and get to the next task – such as taking care of some dishes.
  • You would see, that in the future no matter how many such meals he enjoys, that time would remain 333, and he would be saving himself a few seconds everyday.
  • I know that this example is not the best one, but I hope you get the idea.
  • Now apply this to real life, and begin saving few seconds, few minutes on some of the tasks, you would realize that if you continued doing it for five years, you would be achieving twice as much compared to everyone around you.
  • Another simple one I have seen him doing is to put his clothes in a dryer, and immediately take them out and hang them on hangers thus saving him all the efforts to iron his clothes saving him a few minutes per week.

Most of my life hacks were very strategic, and driven by computer programming. I only used to pick up tasks that someone was doing manually taking them minutes and I would simply automate them.

If the automation took seconds to do what someone was doing in minutes, I had at least an order of magnitude gain. I kept repeating this over and over until almost 80–90 percent of the things were automated.

Conclusion two: Be strategic about them, and note how many times you are going to repeat them. If the counting goes in hundreds and thousands, calibrate them as well as possible, and then simply go after repeating them.

You can now search other answers I have written on 99ThinkTechnology on what are the best life hacks.

Stay blessed and stay inspired!