My Lifehacking Life

Jelly-Side Down Lifehack

Jelly-Side Down Lifehack

Miles run today: 4

Emeril’s coconut cake made yesterday for my BFF’s b-day: 1

Lifehacks on YouTube: 498,000

Did you know you were a Lifehacker?

I didn’t, either.

In case you’ve missed it, YouTube is full of what women’s magazines used to call “Quick Tips” or “7 Steps to an Easier Life” or “How to Make Your Day 10,000 Times Better.”

Ever threaded a screw? Home improvement store Vine videos show you how to use a rubber band to coax the screw out. Some guy shows you how to fold chip bags down and push the bags up to make a handy-dandy “chip serving bowl.” Ever had fruit flies? Lifehackers show you how to make a fruit fly trap with fruit, plastic wrap and a chopstick in your little Tupperware container.

YouTube is trying to give “Quick Tips” street cred and bring these meaningful life lessons to a broader audience, perhaps one that doesn’t care much about using white vinegar and newspaper to clean windows but one that is more concerned with how to keep your straw from bobbing up in your soft drink can.

Yesterday, I made a coconut cake because my best friend said she really wanted one. It was a totally Lifehack-free undertaking in which I used a real oven, a bag of sweetened coconut and actually left the butter out on the counter to come to room temperature (which took all of about 10 minutes in the 92-degree heat).

But there have been times, my friends, when I have been an unknowing Lifehacker. I bet you have, too.

Setting: our minivan

My son: Yeah, mom, you’ve told me the thing about the threaded screw about 15 times now.

Me: But aren’t we all Lifehackers? Why is this a thing?

My son: Um. How are you a Lifehacker, exactly?

Me: When I know I’m running at 5:30 the next morning, and I don’t want to wake everyone up, I put all of my running clothes, shoes and toothbrush in the downstairs bathroom, all ready to go. Running Lifehack!

My son: Yeah. I don’t think that’s a Lifehack.

Me: Isn’t Lifehacking about doing something that makes your life easier?

My son: Yeah… but…

Me: I’m a Lifehacker. Fear me.

My storied Lifehacking career began when I was 2 years old, and I began arguing with my father in the legendary Toast/Jelly Kerfluffle of the ’70s.

Setting: our kitchen table

My dad: No, Anne, the jelly goes on THE TOP. See? [exaggerated conventional toast eating commences]

Me: No. [with the jelly-side down, the best part (jelly) reached my tongue first, making my way far superior]

My dad: Anne, the jelly is going to drip everywhere. Turn your toast over.

Me: No.

And voila! My Lifehacking Life began, _____(fill in the blank kindly) years ago.

Today, there is even a guy on YouTube touting the best way to eat a burger so the fixings don’t make your burger bun soggy. Guess what? You turn it upside-down! I was way before my time.

How have you been Lifehacking lately? I bet you’re amazing, just like me.


24 thoughts on “My Lifehacking Life

  1. Carrie Rubin says:

    I can make my day ‘10,000 Times Better’? Wow, I didn’t know it sucked that much! 😉

    Thanks for teaching me a new term. I guess I constantly lifehack, from laying clothes out the night before to pre-chopping veggies and washing fruit so they’re ready to go. Though my family uses these reasons to call me Sheldon, I prefer to think of my methods as efficiency…

    Glad to see the job hasn’t kept you from your running!

    • annewoodman says:

      Ha! Glad to hear from you, Carrie! I hope your writing is going well. I’ll have to check in over at your place for an update.

      I think your efforts are definitely Lifehacks and only slightly Sheldon-esque. ; ) We all love Sheldon, so take it as a compliment.

      Read any really good books lately? I’m dying for a good one to sink my teeth into.

      • Carrie Rubin says:

        I just finished JK Rowling’s new one, ‘The Cuckoo’s Calling.’ Lots of description but a great story. I’m currently reading Jussi Adler-Olsen’s first book. He’s a Danish author who writes Nordic thrillers, of which I’m a big fan. And of course, I’ve read lots of Indie books by my blogging buds. I plan to list them on my Monday post. I have to try to get back to regular blogging. 🙂

      • annewoodman says:

        I know what you mean! It’s hard to get back into the swing of things after a hiatus.

        I read JK Rowling’s Casual Vacancy and ended up feeling like she’d lost all faith in humanity. Pretty depressing. I saw that she’d done The Cuckoo’s Calling and wondered if it had the same vibe. Maybe I’ll pick that one up. I love the Nordic thrillers, too, and I think it’s because the setting is so very different from my reality.

      • Carrie Rubin says:

        I haven’t read Casual Vacancy, but from what I’ve heard, The Cuckoo’s Calling is nothing like that sobering tale.

  2. Daryl says:

    Loved the post, I have so many. Here is one: When grilling corn wrapped in foil, create a point and fold it over at the end of the ear. This helps you orient the corn on the grill. Turn each ear 45 degrees to stop it from burning or creating hot spots–it also stops you from over rotating back to the same spot.
    Sometimes when no one is looking, I flip my toast over too 😉

  3. Christi says:

    Lifehacker videos and blogs are so fun to check out — and also turn into such a time waster for me… I need a life hack on how to consume the tips more efficiently.

    And you’re right; we’re all lifehackers in our own way. Great post!

    • annewoodman says:

      That’s funny, Christi! Yes, if only I could remember all of the lifehacks when I really needed them… I could rule the world (or at least complete my novel).

      Thanks for reading!

  4. Do you realize I was clueless to the meaning of “life hacking” until reading this post?!
    Whenever I’d see it in an on-line article title, or WORSE, the random Facebook profile à la “reader, writer, life-hacker extraordinaire” I’d be like “WTF are you TALKING about?!” and then move on….hahahahaha!
    So! Thank you for explaining the term, which really means “let me share how I do things that makes life better/easier?”
    Talk about reinventing the wheel!!!!
    🙂 🙂 🙂

  5. David Gentry says:

    I was clueless, also! “Life hacking”! What the heck is that?

    I guess I am the odd bird. I doubt I would qualify to be a life hacker. I may be a life slow poke. After all, I am the villain in the right way to eat toast with jelly on it. I am glad, you, Anne, remembered the actual occurrence. It certainly was memorable for your mother and me. We had our first glimmering that we were going to be on the losing end of arguments. And we were right!

    Thank you for another fun blog post.


  6. I never knew there was a word for it. Ironing for the week done on Sunday. Clothes for the day laid out before leaving for work the day before. Coffee and lunches made the night before. A weeks worth of duties performed prior to leaving for the weekend so that Sunday is not so hectic upon returning from the cabin. I am a sad little man. 😉

  7. Bernie Brown says:

    Fun post, Anne. I’m so far behind on the learning curve that not only did I not know what lifehacking meant, I’d never heard of it until you wrote about it. Thank you for introducing me to lifehacking and to explaining it. I think the term is a little “rough” comparied to its reality. It sounds like someone is making nasty throat noises; when, in fact, lifehacks are simply a later day term for “Hints from Helouise.” Who knew? 🙂

  8. Ravena Guron says:

    I’ve never heard of lifehacking before this post! Erm… I can’t actually think of ways I’ve tried to make my life easier, because I like everything to be as hard as possible so I can scream at people that I am the world’s best procrastinator. Fear me 😀

    (On a side note, I ALWAYS eat the toast upside down. Better taste.)

    • annewoodman says:

      Ravena, I am very afraid. ; )

      I also like you even more now that you eat the toast upside down. We clearly know something that other, less enlightened toast eaters do not.

  9. jmmcdowell says:

    Here’s another clueless soul. 🙂 On those few occasions when I’ve seen the term, I thought it might mean identity theft!

    Lovely to see another post from you, Anne!

    • annewoodman says:

      JM, I’m glad it’s not an identity theft thing! And it is kind of nifty that people out there are sharing tips on how to do things better or more efficiently.

      I stopped by your blog yesterday and am glad to see you’re still keeping up with the posting. I hope your (fiction) writing is going well, too.

      • jmmcdowell says:

        I’m so glad you could stop by. And today’s post is about the writing breakthrough I’ve finally had after a barren spring and summer. Madeleine O’Brien has told me how to revise her book in a big way!

        And I hope you’re finding time to work on your novel, too, even with your full-time schedule. What little you’ve said about it sounds so intriguing!

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