People Are Sharing Their Best Life Hacks That They Actually Use (63 Answers)

“Work smarter, not harder” is a fantastic motto. Anything that will help you save time and energy will make your life a little easier (or even a lot easier). Whether that’s finding a shortcut in your day-to-day routine or solving a problem in a way you’d never thought of, it’s always a joy finding a hidden productivity secret like this.

Humans have always shared their smart solutions with each other, but nowadays, these have been rebranded as “life hacks”. Not everything filed under this moniker is useful, however. But thankfully, Bored Panda is here to help.

We’ve picked out some of the best life hacks that will help you out today. We've shared our favorite life hacks before (here, here and here) but there’s always something new to learn. Check them out below and vote for your favorites⁠—it’ll help others find them too!

#1

Putting my clothes in my closet with the hangers reversed once a year. As I pull clothes out, I reverse the hanger. Every year I give away any clothes that I never took out.

Image credits: elblanco

Although the term ‘life hacks’ is relatively new, the idea behind it is anything but. People have shared knowledge and better ways to do things since the start of recorded history. You can see an example of vintage life hacks in another article that we’ve posted.

So, where did this modern take on the term come from? It was originally coined in 2004 by Danny O'Brien, a technology journalist. O’Brien talks about this with Gina Trapani of LifeHacker.com, the website founded under the same expression of his. 

O’Brien said, “Life hacks popped out of an ongoing discussion I'd been having with people about ‘secret software’—the scripts that geeks write for themselves to get them through the day. Hacks are often a way of cutting through an apparently complex system with a really simple, non-obvious fix.”

#2

Try to put yourself in as many socially awkward situations as possible. You will be desensitized to it which makes you more outgoing.

Image credits: capt_0bvious

“So, the idea of life hacks is just really appealing to geeks,” O’Brien continues, “because it's an expression of this huge hope that you can actually hack life in this way, that you might make it a bit more bearable without having to swallow or understand the whole thing.”

O’Brien explains how these newly dubbed ‘life hacks’ expand to the meta: “The hacks that work for geeks end up being useful for a lot of other people who aren't in that subculture at all.”

#3

Back when I was 18-26, I always had one full bag packed in my car. It generally had clean underwear, a t-shirt or two, jeans, shorts, flops, and toothbrush/deodorant. I can't tell you how many times I'd just meet up with some friends and next thing you know it was 2AM and I needed a place to sleep. Having everything with me was awesome.

Image credits: ChrisF79

#4

Make lunch for work the night before.

Groceries are way cheaper than eating out every day - f**k anyone who thinks you're lame because you don't have a Timmyho bagel or BK for lunch everyday. I'm saving 4-5$ per meal.

Not making lunch the morning makes the morning that much smoother.

Image credits: flatlander30

Although it started its early years as perhaps a geeky term, it’s expanded to become commonplace online and has now been included in the dictionary too. It’s a fun expression that makes sense for the internet generation and it sounds better than “general life productivity tips”.

In essence, that’s what they are: productivity tips for life. So, they can help you get better at pretty much anything. For example, building confidence in social situations, learning how to save money, or just general life skills. 

#5

Putting socks on before pants. Socks are like pant lubricants. Believe it.

Image credits: flatlander30

#6

Never go grocery shopping when you're hungry.

Image credits: anonymous

And learning such life skills will last a lifetime. Staying organized is just one way of thinking about it. In fact, a paper was published on the benefits of being organized for students, and how it reflects on their grades. 

In short, those students who learned how to organize themselves and their work, ended up with better grades and a more positive outcome overall. Respectively, those who were less organized had results that were quite the opposite.

#7

When you need to remember to bring something with you, put your car keys on it the night before.

Image credits: drewlb

#8

If there's something big I want to get done, I tell all my friends I'm going to do it. The fear of looking like an ass helps keep me motivated.

Image credits: munificent

#9

I set up automatic bill payment for everything. I don't remember precisely when those payments will go out. The fear of a bounced check or declined payment keeps me from getting too close to a zero balance.

Image credits: munificent

Preventing procrastination is also one of the top themes that we see in our list of life hacks. According to one study, approximately 80% of college students consider themselves procrastinators. At least the first step to solving a problem is admitting that you have one.

#10

If there's something I need to do but am procrastinating, I find something else I also need to do that's even more of a chore. I can then put off doing the second thing by doing the first.

Image credits: munificent

#11

Babywipes for the bathroom. Seriously, your life will be +1.

Image credits: anonymous

#12

To talk to people all you have to do is just ask questions. just let them talk.

Image credits: capt_0bvious

So, take heed students, there’s plenty of life hacks here to help you get started on that paper you've been putting off. Or maybe it’s some cleaning tips that are needed—we all know how bad student dorms can get when you’re sharing with half-a-dozen other people.

#13

Measure your hand from your fingertips to palm and memorize it. Now you can judge the size of anything without a ruler. I've used this my whole life to estimate distances of all kinds of things. Also pick a finger that is pretty close to 1cm or a joint close to 1 inch and remember which is which. You will never need a ruler to estimate again.

Image credits: kpberry

#14

On the ends of every box of aluminum foil there are tabs to push in that keep the roll from popping out; same for cling film.

You're welcome.

Image credits: PhilxBefore

#15

Applying an ice cube to a zit will reduce swelling and redness.

Image credits: Syms

Learning new habits such as these life hacks can take some brain reprogramming, of sorts. Once you get into them, though, they’re hugely beneficial. I remembered James Clear’s advice from his book Atomic Habits.

In the book, James calls habits: “the compound interest of self-improvement”. He explains by saying, “They don't seem like much on any given day, but over the months and years their effects can accumulate to an incredible degree.”

#16

I use my refrigerator as a giant dry erase board. Rubbing alcohol can be used to remove permanent marker if you use the wrong pen.

Image credits: Renovatio_

#17

Place alarm clock across the room, so you have to get up to turn it off. Especially if you know you're going to have trouble getting up in the morning.

Image credits: anonymous

#18

I used to do this when my daughter was little, "just in case." When going on a crowded outing with your kid, snap a photo of them on your cell phone camera when you arrive. That way, if something happens and you get separated, you have a photo of them that is recent, in the clothes they're wearing that day. Also, stick one of your business cards in your kid's pockets.

Image credits: anonymous

So, these life hacks could change your life for the better, if you stick to them for long enough. Learning good organizational practices is paramount if you want to get ahead in life. Just think of those who have founded their own businesses and managed to grow it to enormous success. It’s hard to imagine someone hard working, such as Elon Musk, being lazy and leaving dirty dinner dishes in the sink overnight. 

#19

Always be ten minutes early to everything, no matter what; once it's a habit, you'll never stress about being late again. If something unexpected happens in transit, you're on time. Bam!

Image credits: anonymous

#20

When you wake up in the middle of the night to do something, cover one eye with your hand and leave it there until you return to darkness. The eye that was covered will have retained its ability to see well in the dark so you will not run into the dresser on your way back to bed.

Image credits: mellowmedium

#21

While pre-gaming or preparing for a night out, ensure that there is at least a pint of fresh water next your bed. You are unlikely to think of this when you get in and it will help you immensely in the night/morning

Image credits: sumthinwitty

#22

Get an annual physical. A lot of generally healthy people overlook this, particularly if health insurance is an issue, but if you can at all afford it, do it. Small things like a chemical or hormone imbalance that you may not directly notice can have a big impact on your overall quality of life, and an annual check-up is great for prevention.

Image credits: anonymous

#23

Never go to bed with a messy kitchen/dirty dishes. Waking up to a clean kitchen feels good and it makes making breakfast a lot easier in the morning when you're 1/2 asleep.

#24

Take notes during meetings, even if it seems like something simple you will remember later. After 10 more simple things get mentioned, you start forgetting them.

Image credits: anonymous

#25

Invest in a good bed, you use the thing a third of your life! All the good stuff happens there. Sleep after a long day's work, snu-snu with the missus, and if you're like me, 90% of Sunday.

#26

If I spend time looking for something, as soon as I find it and finish using it I put it back the FIRST place I looked for it.

Image credits: snarfit

#27

Before grocery shopping I take pictures with my phone of the refrigerator and food cupboards- so I can tell what it is I am out of.

Image credits: knight1to1

#28

Put a scented dryer sheet in the bottom of your garbage cans and change them every time you replace your garbage bags. Your garbage can will smell a lot nicer for a lot longer.

Image credits: Physion

#29

Squeezing your left thumb greatly reduces your gag reflex.

Image credits: Tarasosx

#30

Cover your pillow with a clean towel, and your acne will go away.

Image credits: AnimZero

#31

Out clubbing or bar hopping and don't want to wait in line to get in the club/bar... Tell the bouncer you forgot to close your tab. Really helps when you need to pee too.

#32

"No" is in the pocket. Interpretation: If you don't ask for something you have already received the answer "no." If you ask, you have a chance at getting "yes." Best advice I've ever received. I'm much more outgoing and willing to approach situations I would normally be nervous of dealing with.

#33

Here is a lifehack for all of the students out there. If you are charged with writing a lengthy research paper, find one very solid source that directly pertains to your thesis, and then you can use that source's bibliography to back into locating new sources.

Image credits: Fonix79

#34

Never owe money on a car and never carry a Credit Card balance. It makes my life way easier and it is my way of saying F**k You to the debt ecouraging system we live in.

#35

Don't use the dryer on anything you don't want worn out prematurely, use a clothes rack.

#36

Poop at work. You'll be using less of your own tp and more of your company's time. I started going into the john to play games on my cell phone for 5-10 minutes just to take a break; while I was in there I'd pinch one out. After a few weeks I realized that I hadn't replaced my own tp at my apartment in a while.

Image credits: anonymous

#37

Keep in mind whenever you hate you are simply express deep love in a different way. For example I hate being around closed minded people because I love when people broaden their views and understand more of themselves and their environment. It has made my life much more enjoyable and when I see it this way I just want to educate people as opposed to avoiding them.

#38

When you are given an assignment, try to do at least half an hour of that assignment the same day. Helps to know what's required so you'll know how long it'll take and it's already started, so it's more motivating to pick it up again.

#39

Your sink should rarely have dirty dishes in it; it's much faster to clean one meal's worth of dishes 5 times than 5 meals' worth of dishes 1 time.

#40

If you're exercising and don't want to tuck your key in your shoe or pocket, simply loop your headphones through it!

#41

Live as close to work as possible. Even if you only commute a half-hour each way, that's an hour a day, five hours a week, over twenty hours a month. What would you do with an extra day every month?

Image credits: mechanate

#42

I used to have my computer set up to start playing a specific iTunes playlist on the stereo at a certain time. The playlist was exactly as long as I had in the morning and went from chill songs to more energetic. Throughout my morning routine, I could always tell how I was doing on time by the currently playing song.

#43

Upon waking, drink at least 500ml of water. You are most dehydrated after your done sleeping and it immediately starts your metabolism/bowel movements.

#44

Celebrate my successes. I don't have a lot of self-discipline, so when I do actually exert some, I try to reward myself to encourage me to do it more.

#45

Scissors are easily sharpened by cutting sandpaper.

#46

Here's a little trick that helped me learn 10-finger-typing really well:

When you read an article in your browser, activate the search function (ctrl+f) and just start typing the text you are reading. With firefox or chrome, the text you are typing will simultaneously get highlighted.

Just read the highlighted text. You'll want to know what comes next so you'll type as fast as possible. You want to read the text fluently, so you'll type blindly and so on. Worked 100 times better than all these boring training programs.

#47

Put a pen and a small block of paper in your jacket. Too often you have to write something down, can't, and then forget.

#48

When you park at a huge parking lot, take a photo of the nearest parking location sign with your cellphone camera. That way, you won't forget that you parked at H43 near the East exit and waste 30 minutes trying to find your car.

#49

Do the dishes whilst cooking instead of waiting around. Leaves the majority of the dishes done by the time your food is cooked.

#50

If you have chest congestion, drum on your chest lightly but rapidly. Same thing goes for a dry or gooey throat; drum lightly but rapidly on your windpipe. Just drum for ~30s and then wait a minute or two for it to kick in. The effect will last 5-10 minutes before you start getting the feeling again. Repeat until you feel better.

Explanation : If you perturb the cells lining your airways, they will release ATP. ATP is rapidly broken down into adenosine in the airways. There is a receptor on the cells lining your airways that will start a cascade that pumps water into the airway when hit with adenosine. This water will be pumped up under thick mucus and help break it up.

#51

I'm naturally lazy, so I work out first thing in the morning. It wakes me up and then it's over and done with and I don't have to care about it for the rest of the day. I can be lazy during/after work and not feel guilty.

#52

The caffeine nap: caffeine takes ~15-20 minutes to kick in. If you are feeling really tired, drink a cup of coffee and then take a light, 15-20 minute nap. You will wake up incredibly refreshed and awake.

#53

Cut negative people out of your life.
Cut people out of your life who only contact you when they want you to do something for them.

#54

I do all my daily chores at once and super fast to save time. So, while I'm heating up food in the microwave I scoop out the litter box. When I'm done eating I let my dishes soak and vacuum my room.

#55

Pressing your tongue against the roof of your mouth cures brainfreeze

#56

Raising your arm high above your head will stop a bloody nose pretty instantly.

Image credits: tehShark

#57

If you need to pack clothes, sleeping bags, duvets or similar, put them in a big plastic bag, and use a vacuum cleaner to suck the air out. You are using the whole atmosphere to pack your duvet densely.

#58

I keep a cot, pillow and blanket in my trunk--at all times. I'm often on the road and I've used this more than I can remember. I hate sleeping on the floor. This weekend I plan on going a friends house and there is going to be several people there all drinking. I assume I will not get a bedroom to sleep in, so I will pull my trusty cot out of my trunk. On Saturday morning, I will not wake up cold on the floor with my back hurting.

#59

I built a treadmill desk. It keeps me moving while I work and study. I go from 1-2.5 mph at a time, depending on what I'm doing. It's really helping my weight loss.

#60

I've taught myself to laugh at most everything. It sucks sometimes when you're in a fight with somebody because they just get more pissed. Other than that it really helps with things that would otherwise depress/frustrate you or make you mad.

#61

Buy some quality used gym equipment on craigslist and save both your gym membership fees, and the time getting to/from the gym.

#62

After a shower, if you need a fogless mirror, just point a hairdryer at the glass for a few seconds.

Warm glass -> evaporated droplets -> clear mirror.

I'm proud to say I figured this one out by myself.

#63

In the morning I practically jump right out of bed, go and wash my face with cold water. Then I jump back into bed and listen to music while I'm waking up. I've found this a lot easier than just lying there waiting to wake up naturally. I can just hop out of bed right away, knowing that I'll be back in just a minute, and then the water wakes me right up. Before I used to do this I'd just lay there like a sloth, moaning in my head about how tired I am etc. I've found this trick to be a good happy-medium.