Life hacking

Life hacking

Life hacking is defined as an approach to getting things done arising from “a systematizing mindset, willingness to experiment, and fondness for tech."

The idea of hacking life arose during a period when technology was achieving one small marvel after another. Smartphones seemed almost magical in their ability to assist with everyday niggles, like giving people directions to your house, or paging through a newspaper to find out where the latest movie is showing.

The tech company believed it could do productivity, as well as everything else, so much better.

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A series of trends are grouped under the rubric of life hacking, labeled "the Californian Ideology." It is a mix of cybernetics, free-market economics, and counter-culture libertarianism. It is very individualistic and distrustful of institutions.

Later on, the life hacking mentality showed up in seemingly unrelated phenomena as the pickup-artist scene. PUAs are a product of a subculture believing that all human activities can be "optimized" by applying systematic processes and formulae like workflows and algorithms. Life hackers started out analyzing and streamlining their to-do lists as well as their intimate relationships.

Life hacking is a kind of American self-help. It was practical and evidence-based.

Getting Things Done or GTD, promoted the idea of breaking tasks down into pieces and sorting them by how much time they'll take to accomplish, then allocating reminders. The goal is to free you from a mental to-do list running in the back of your thoughts, making it possible to focus all your energy on a task.

It is possible to spend so much time organizing your work that you never actually do any of it.

  • Many of the early champions of life hacking never got to actually do the work and finally abandoned the tech world's preoccupation with productivity.
  • Others became proponents of minimalism - where you get rid of most of your stuff and then focus more on the few things you keep.
  • Life hacking developed into other forms too. One blogger wanted to write a book in three months while simultaneously attempting seventeen other missions.

Life hacking is a pursuit of the “creative class,” an exercise in box-ticking.

The ingenuity behind so many life hacking schemes could make one a more effective promoter for social improvement. The focus of hacking life is on hacking the self, but the focus is on a rather bland and limited part of the self in the process.

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There are 4 categories here:

  • Satisfying work: clearly defined challenging activities, that provide clear feedback.
  • The experience or promise of success: we want to feel we are getting better over time.
  • Meaningfulness: being a part of something bigger.
  • Social connection: sharing experiences with others, while working towards a common goal.

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IDEAS

It’s about getting rid of things you do not use or need, leaving an uncluttered, simple environment and an uncluttered, simple life.

It’s living without an obsession with material things or an obsession with doing everything and doing too much. It’s using simple tools, having a simple wardrobe, carrying little and living lightly.

GTD is an organizational system. It doesn't put rules around how you actually do your work. Instead, it focuses on how you capture the work you need to do, organize it, and choose what needs your attention

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