Life Hack

Here's a new term for you to learn. Maybe you have heard of life hack? A life hack is a productivity trick created and used by programmers to organize data and cut through the information overload.


The life part comes from a person's productivity, organization, and work processes. In other words, it refers to any area the hacker ethic can be applied, and that ethic is to solve a problem.

The hack part comes from hacking of course. Hackers have a long history with geeks and others in the computing community. In the beginning, the phrase meant hacking together quick shell scripts and command line utilities for use, for example, with email and RSS feeds.

Over time, the meaning of life hack expanded so that now it means anything that solves a common problem in a clever "out of the box" way. The term is used all the time in the blog world now, especially by those afflicted by too much info.


Though life hack was a phrase created by British technology journalist Danny O'Brien, in a presentation to the O'Reilly Emerging Technology Conference in San Diego in 2004, he never got his planned operational.

Since then, other websites devoted to life hacks have started. Merlin Mann launched in 2004 and Gawker Media, a blog network, launched in January 2005. Leon Ho launched in May of that year. Subsequently, O'Brien redirected his to Mann's

In 2005, the American Dialect Society voted lifehack, as one word, as Runner Up for the "most useful word of 2005," right behind podcast.

Takeaway Truth

I like the word lifehack. I could certainly use a few lifehacks to organize my data, and my life.

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