hack your life?
It’s a word that has become increasingly popular — a suave and techy term that no longer only applies to expert programmers and network wizards. (Kevin Mitnick and so can you!) Now when we hear “hacking,” we’re not just talking about getting knee deep in US Armed Forces computers or making way into the Bush family email account.
Instead, people can now (quite legally) hack their life: gargle whiskey for a sore throat, organize your cables with toilet paper tubes, or download an app to get more shit done. We’re also hacking time: We’re getting our dream body in four hours and our workout done in four minutes. People are hacking their days by getting toothpaste delivered to their bathroom and dinner delivered to their kitchen. We’re encouraged, as Ari Misel coined, to automate, outsource, and optimize. Do less, and in some odd, wizard-like way, get more.
Of course, the term “hack” can be loose. When we say “hack your BBQ,” it can be as innocent as making smoked lemonade or swapping cinnamon sticks for skewers (holy shit). It can be silly, fun, or über life changing. But no matter how you apply hacking to your own life, one thing is pretty certain: Hacking is pretty darn cool.
Now, I do support this idea of hacking your life to be more productive, happy, and creative. I get it. I really, really do. But (yeah, it was coming…) I was thinking about this idea of “expanding” time without budging the 24-hour clock while I was on my 21-mile run yesterday. For time-hackers, tabata fiends, and productivity wizards alike (I’m using that term a lot, sorrynotsorry), long runs are bad news. My workout is taking almost 3 hours, and it’ll leave me wiped out and in relative discomfort for the rest of the day. And if I’m looking to get in shape, why run for 180 minutes when I can do a WOD at a CrossFit gym, run circles around track, or download an interval app and be done in less than 60?
Because truthfully, I don’t always want to hack my life. Sometimes I want to take the extra step (or billion…). A three hour run is incredibly liberating; a trip to the grocery store and an hour in front of the stove rewarding; drawing out a map (with pen and paper!) before heading to a new neighborhood fun. I miss the adventure that hacking can sometimes take away. And I get scared that people do everything in their means to be so incredibly productive that the empty space to get more done never fills.
For many, hacking time leaves space for other important things that can slip away: time with family, time to rest, time to read. But I often get the sense that hacks leaves time to do more — to hustle to a crazy degree, to keep going and going and be so efficient that time almost feels artificial.
Which is why I approach hacking with caution. Find the tips and apps and tools that make you more efficient, but don’t let it compromise your own creativity, your hard work, and your love to let things happen naturally, and in due time.