8 "Life Hacks" You Shouldn't Bother With
Life hacks — or tricks intended to make life easier — are everywhere. There are life hacks for food, family, work, and everything else under the sun. But not all hacks are really beneficial. Some will just add another step to your daily routine. Some may wind up costing you much more than just your time. (See also: My Personal Productivity Rules...What Are Yours?)
1. Unlocking a Door Without a Key — in a Way That Requires the Door to Be Open Already
There are a lot of life hacks that may seem useful, like this one from Buzzfeed, but leave you with a solution for which there is no problem. If you can unlock a door to begin with, you probably have access to the key, and if you make it so that you can open the door without a key, anyone else can, too.
2. Extending a Deadline By Sending the Wrong File Type
I’ve heard this trick — sending a file as a .png rather than the expected .doc — recommended both for work and school situations, and I consider it downright dishonest. It may get you the end result that you want, but that’s not good enough. If a hack crosses the line into unethical or even illegal behavior, it’s not a good hack.
3. Using Doritos as a Seasoning
There may be a few people for whom that Dorito flavor is the greatest flavor ever, but it’s certainly one of the least appealing cooking hacks I’ve personally seen.
4. Taking Prescription Drugs in a Non-Prescribed Manner
You can find a lot of different hacks that involve taking prescribed medication for affects not intended by doctors, like making it easier to study. Unless you have a degree in pharmacology, though, it’s generally a bad idea to muck around with drugs without your doctor’s advice. If you really want to try such a hack, get your doctor to sign off on it first.
Many life hacks offer ways to do more than one thing at a time. But research has established that multitasking doesn’t work. You just wind up with two tasks that are both completed at a lower level. It’s better to just focus on one task and get through it quickly — and well.
6. Changing Your Family Traditions
Every year around the holidays, I’ll see a post or two that recommend hacking some other aspect of your holiday celebrations. The danger that you risk, though, is that you’re not just hacking your own life at that point — you’re changing how you interact with your family. There may be some changes that would be mutually beneficial, but it’s rare that you can change the status quo and still keep an extended family happy.
7. Anything That Requires Buying More Gear, Tools, or Apps
Most life hacks are inexpensive, but there’s always another piece of software you can buy to make your life easier or a new gadget that will change everything, at least according to the marketing team. The reality is that, most of the time, the change isn’t enough to make up for the money you’d have to spend, so it’s better to just hold on to your cash.
8. Continuously Tweaking Your Hacks
The pursuit of complete productivity is alluring, but you can wind up focusing just on perfecting your system rather than using the time you’ve saved to live. This recent essay on Lifehacker lays out the experiences of someone who went too far in his life hacks.