I must be completely out of touch, since this was the runner up for the prestigious “word-of-the-year” in 2004, yet somehow I have never heard of “lifehacking.” My excuse is that I was still mired in the college-student mentality and, consequently, was completely out of touch with the world.
That said, in searching for various bits of information like a reminder on how to reformat my old XP desktop, or how to fix a leaky sink, I’ve come across the term “lifehacking” several times. Without any background into what it actually is, I really liked the term. I imagined people sitting down at the computer of life, trying to sneak in and get little bits and pieces out (or put bits and pieces in) that will make it better (On a sidenote, I try to avoid thinking of hacking as a potentially negative thing – call me a hopeless optimist if you want).
After looking it up, I came across this TIME article (via Wikipedia’s entry on “life hack”). I think it sums up pretty much what I think about the concept: that lifehacking is finding ways to sneak the minutes, hours, and days of out of life by using little tips and tricks (most often with technology) that help you do things more efficiently. The idea is to be efficient so you have more time to do things you enjoy, thus making you a more happy person.
It just got me thinking – how fun would it be if I had students write articles on “schoolhacking” – tips and tricks for getting through the drudgeries of everything that bogs them down: classes, teachers, homework, etc. I bet that would be a pretty cool writing assignment. Maybe a mid-year activity that they could share with each other, or even an end-of-the-year activity that could be passed on to next year’s 9th graders.