Stop Hacking Your Life: Shortcuts Only Hurt You
By ewenstrom on February 25, 2014
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Hack Your Way to Better Productivity. To a Better Body. To a Sharper Memory.
These kinds of blog titles are all over the Internet. Everyone wants to help you hack your way to a better life. It’s become a hot buzzword. And a personal pet peeve.
The promise to deliver a quick hack to a better life is certainly an easy way to draw in readers. Who doesn’t want to be able to make big changes in their lives with a few simple shortcuts?
So … what’s wrong with it?
To start, the word “hack” implies you can treat your body and mind like a machine. I have a big problem with this. But I’ve written about this before so I won’t get into it again now.
More to the point, hacking your life doesn’t work.
“Hack” implies a shortcut. An easy way to skip the work and get right to that more productive, skinnier, smarter, whatever-er you.
The things that really matter? There just aren’t shortcuts for these things.
You don’t get healthier with a simple hack. You get there by consistently making the right choices every day, even when it’s not easy, even when someone brings doughnuts in to work, even when you’re really tired and hitting the gym is the last thing you want to do.
The same goes for developing a creative project. You don’t get from concept to success with shortcuts. You get there by putting in the time, thinking through every detail, doing the hard work of making your idea a reality.
And then there are the things that shortcuts do work for. But a lot of those things there just isn’t value in. Others can actually be bad for you long-term.
For example, the mentality of constantly becoming more productive — getting more done in less time. It’s easy to think this is important in our on-the-go culture.
But is it good for you? The last thing we need is more ways to multitask. I know I, for one, have completely drained myself trying to approach my work this way.
Perhaps better skills to develop are the ability to determine priorities, develop healthy boundaries, and learn to think more about the quality of our work than the quantity of it.
Which brings me to the real problem with life hacking. It’s not about you.
Content that offers you life hacks isn’t created for you. It’s created for the writer. Using the word “hack” is simply a hack in itself to create something catchy and alluring that will boost readership metrics and get passed around on social media. Link bait.
Don’t settle for quick fixes and catchy headlines. There’s so much more out there for you. Yes, you will have to work for it. But what you will get back for your effort will be well worth it.
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