Do you want to easily get things done at home, work, and school?
Would you like a fun, personalized, and creative way to solve a recurring problem (or two) in your routine?
Lifehacks can help you be more productive and efficient.
What’s a lifehack? A lifehack is a shortcut, skill, trick, or technique that offers an easier way of completing a task.
With a bit of creativity, thought, and experimentation, you can create custom-made lifehacks!
In this post, I offer a five simple steps to help you create your own DIY lifehacks.
Follow these steps anytime you are looking to streamline your life.
Find a task that needs a lifehack.
This first step shouldn’t be all that difficult.
All you have to do, is to look for a task or other activity in your life that falls under one, or more, of the following categories:
1. Takes a long time to complete
2. Is of a rote or mechanical task by nature
3. Bothers or annoys you to no end when you are directly or indirectly dealing with it
4. Creates singular or multiple difficulties for you in your daily routine
What are some examples of every day problems?
How about filing that giant stack of papers on your desk? Misplacing reusable cloth bags in your purse or bag?
Having no place to safely store your water bottle near your desk? Or working with a specific computer program or application?
Take a moment to write down any thoughts you may have when it comes to daily problems or annoyances.
Identify possible solutions.
When it comes to creating a lifehack, anything goes. The important thing to keep in mind is that it is about problem-solving! You need to give yourself some time to think about your problem, and identify a possible and appropriate solution…or two!
How can you go about finding a possible solution for your problem? Here’s a few ways to go about it:
Do some research. A little bit of knowledge can go a long way. Read a book, conduct an online search, view message boards, open up the instruction manual, or listen to a podcast. The point here is to do more research on the task or problem in question.
Use your imagination. Try looking at your troublesome task in a completely different manner. How would, say, a famous person from history approach and solve this hack? How about your favorite TV character? How about your pet?
Ask a friend. Everyone looks at the world differently. Run your task by a friend, family member, neighbor, or colleague to see if they have any ideas on how to solve the problem.
Look around your immediate environment for solutions. The answer to your problems might be sitting in front of your nose! Could you use an existing item sitting in your home or office? How about repurposing a container, storage device, structure, or framework for your needs?
Do a couple of mini-experiments. Sometimes the best way to try out something, is to just go ahead and do it. Roll up your sleeves and test out a few different solutions.
Try out your lifehack.
It’s time to give your brand-new lifehack a test drive in the real-world. You’re going to test your lifehack to ensure it solves, or at least lessens, your problem.
Now, depending on your lifehack, you may need to try things out across different spans of time. This might mean trying several different attempts in one sitting, or trying a new approach to your problem each day, week, or month.
Make corrections to your lifehack.
How did your lifehack perform in your real-world trials? Did you happen upon any difficulties, issues, or concerns? Did the lifehack perform beautifully, or does it need to be scrapped and reworked.
Don’t be discouraged if things don’t first work out as expected. Sometimes, you need to do a lot of real-world testing, and go through many trials and error, to find a viable, and a ridiculously simple solution.
Practice your lifehack.
The only way to improve your lifehack is to hone and practice it. You can make mental notes, or take physical notes of your progress. Over time, you’ll learn the best way to complete a task for your needs. Practice makes perfect…even when it comes to lifehacks!
Over the years, I’ve developed a few lifehacks of my own. Take a look at the below to get some inspiration!
- Packing a salad for lunch at the office. Instead of carrying a heavy, or unwieldy solid plastic container, pack greens in a zippered plastic bag, and use a large bowl at the office.
- Searching for a pen in a purse, bag, or backpack. Roundup loose/unused pens at home, and place at least one pen in each bag I own.
- Finding the fastest route to work in the morning. Instead of taking the express and local train to the office, take the express one stop further and walk to the office.
- Securing a digital camera’s wobbly battery flap. Instead of using a rubber band, which expands, and snaps, use a coated elastic hair tie.
- Keeping email inbox a manageable size. Immediately delete daily alert, sale, news, and other timely emails after reading.
How about you? Where could you benefit from a few new lifehacks, either at work or at home? Are you going to try creating your own lifehack today? Join in the conversation and leave a comment below!
A version of this post appeared on the blog in 2015.