Why life hacks don't work
"Life hack": a strategy or technique adopted in order to manage one's time and daily activities in a more efficient way.
I'm a sucker for simplification. I’m always looking for more efficient and effective ways to get things done. Apparently, I’m not the only one either. There has been an explosion of content published on the topic of life hacks in recent years. There are even several sub-genres of life hacks now in existence. Given the fact I work as a health and fitness coach, I find the genre of biohacking particularly fascinating. One only need search "how to become more productive" or "how to simplify...” to get a sense for the subject.
Why have life hacks become popular?
Possibly this is due to the fact our cost of living has increased? Keeping up with the materialistic standards of society has become so expensive that we are working more and have less free time to get stuff done. It's no surprise these life hacks seem so tempting then, for if they work it means that we can squeeze more into our days. The problem with life hacks
There is a problem I have encountered. Sometimes they work, and sometimes they don't. The problem lies with the fact that life hacks ignore the individual's values and unique priority of values. They support the idea that we consciously choose to do things and that our actions are ungoverned. This is not how the human brain works. I won’t get into the specifics of brain function here, but in reference to life hacks, they will only work if their specific purpose aligns with your individual values. If they align with your values, you will likely take action; if not, you will likely fail to take action. It’s that simple.
Also, some life hacks can be very unhealthy diet and lifestyle manipulations that yield short-term benefits at the cost of your long-term health. For example, ingesting huge amounts of caffeine and nootropics on a daily basis may keep you awake and productive for longer periods of time, but contribute to poor sleep and a deep level of fatigue in the long term. An alternative to life hacks
Of course, it's wise to optimise and simplify your approach to life. But it is far more important to understand that your values and beliefs dictate your behavior. If you are failing to take action towards certain goals in your life, stop and reflect for a moment. There may be no problem with your method or abilities. Perhaps the problem lies with your internal motivation?
To get some perspective here, I encourage you to ask yourself the following questions
Are these goals really important to you? If they were, you would already be taking action and you would not need outside motivation.
Have you subconsciously adopted someone else’s values, or the common phrases and values of society?
Do you truly understand your own values?
Are these goals even important? Honestly, step back and look at the big picture. Does it really even matter if you achieve goals 1, 2 & 3? Will you look back on your death bed and think, “Oh, if only I had bought that Range Rover and got that promotion”? Not likely.
Do you really think that your value is measured by your ability to achieve goals? It’s not. Your true value is never in jeopardy. Consider for a moment that the true value in pursuing goals is the experiences and lessons you encounter along the way, not the achievement of them. Try making life more about savouring the journey rather than the reaching any particular destination. Have fun experimenting with different approaches and life hacks, but remember that life is not all about achievement. Jay
I truly hope you found this article insightful and helpful in some way. If you know anyone who is struggling with their current goals or lifestyle changes, please share this article with them.