“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. Check them out below and vote for your favorites⁠—it’ll help others find them too! We've shared our favorite life hacks before (here, here and here) but there’s always something new to learn. Bored Panda also spoke with Graham Allcott from Think Productive and he's given us some fantastic advice on how to do exactly that. If you're interested in beating procrastination and getting things done, read on for our full interview!

#1

30 Useful Life Hacks That Are Worth Noting 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.

anonymous , pxhere Report

Whatshername
Community Member
11 months ago

Teach them your number asap. If lost; shout a description of your child so others can help. Don't give them shirts with their name on it, people with bad intentions can fake knowing them.

View More Replies...
View more comments

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

30 Useful Life Hacks That Are Worth Noting Do the dishes whilst cooking instead of waiting around. Leaves the majority of the dishes done by the time your food is cooked.

synthesezia , Aaron Harmon Report

L_M
Community Member
11 months ago

Yes! The 'clean as you cook'-method. Saves a lot of time :)

View More Replies...
View more comments

“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

30 Useful Life Hacks That Are Worth Noting Never go grocery shopping when you're hungry.

anonymous , Atoms Report

ADHORTATOR
Community Member
11 months ago

And prepare a list! We do this for years and jave zero food waste since

View More Replies...
View more comments
#4

30 Useful Life Hacks That Are Worth Noting 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.

kpberry , pxfuel Report

Alex Luiz
Community Member
11 months ago

... Handy.

View More Replies...
View more comments

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

30 Useful Life Hacks That Are Worth Noting 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.

ChrisF79 , MIKI Yoshihito Report

TJay
Community Member
11 months ago

My friend called that his ho bag

View More Replies...
View more comments
#6

30 Useful Life Hacks That Are Worth Noting 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!

anonymous , Meruyert Gonullu Report

ADHORTATOR
Community Member
11 months ago

I do this too - but my wife can' t stand it :-)

View More Replies...
View more comments

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

30 Useful Life Hacks That Are Worth Noting 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.

elblanco , Liza Summer Report

troufaki13
Community Member
11 months ago

Not for this year though... I just wore my pajamas and sweatpants but I'm pretty sure I'm gonna need my clothes for next year! :D

View More Replies...
View more comments
#8

30 Useful Life Hacks That Are Worth Noting 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.

Fonix79 , Yan Krukov Report

Burs
Community Member
11 months ago

Yeah. That is one of the best ways of finding bibliography. Another hack is that although Wikipedia is never to be trusted they often cite actual papers. You can then read those papers for your research.

View More Replies...
View more comments
#9

30 Useful Life Hacks That Are Worth Noting When you need to remember to bring something with you, put your car keys on it the night before.

drewlb , Marco Verch Report

mulk
Community Member
11 months ago

God Damn! Where did I put my car keys???

View More Replies...
View more comments

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.

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.

#10

30 Useful Life Hacks That Are Worth Noting 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.

flatlander30 , Elaine Report

Burs
Community Member
11 months ago

Or make a bit more of dinner so you have leftovers for lunch but you don’t need to cook twice.

View More Replies...
View more comments
#11

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.

anonymous Report

Katie Lutesinger
Community Member
11 months ago

And if you spend a lot of time sitting at a desk, invest in a good chair with proper back support.

View More Replies...
View more comments
#12

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.

anonymous Report

troufaki13
Community Member
11 months ago

Also do that when you have a party at your house. Clean everything no matter how tired you are. Next morning when you wake up, the place will be clean and you can just relax instead of having to do all the cleaning :)

View More Replies...
View more comments

Bored Panda spoke to Graham Allcott, founder of Think Productive. Graham is an author, speaker and podcaster, who encourages everyone to do their best work. I asked Graham what makes people procrastinate so often. He explains it brilliantly: "I use an acronym to diagnose where procrastination comes from: D.U.S.T. – so is the thing difficult, undefined, scary or tedious."

"Usually procrastination occurs because the survival part of our brain, the amygdalla, or ‘lizard brain’, is very good at steering us towards avoiding stuff that we’re scared of or don’t want to do. So it’s important to try and understand what the root cause is."

He continues with how we can avoid each of the points on his D.U.S.T. metaphor. David said, "If something is difficult, it’s about replacing that item on our to-do list with the training or advice we need to overcome the difficulty."

"If it’s undefined, we need to break the task or project down into tangible next steps and endpoints so that it’s clearer. If it’s scary, we need to look at how we can use things like deadlines or accountability, and if it’s tedious, we need to find a way to make it more enjoyable (like allowing yourself to watch some Netflix while you file your expense receipts)."

#13

30 Useful Life Hacks That Are Worth Noting 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.

anonymous , John Diez Report

Marc
Community Member
11 months ago

That is so true. You think you can remember it, but it happens so fast that especially the little things get lost quickly because our brain doesn't consider them important. I have to write a lot of minutes of meetings in one of my jobs and I always write everything down in bullet points and write the minutes on the same day if possible, before they are really just a sketchy memory the next day.

View More Replies...
View more comments
#14

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.

deephair Report

Anyone-for-tea?
Community Member
11 months ago

That’s difficult when it’s your family, and the only way you can see your nieces and nephews is to keep them onside.

View More Replies...
View more comments
#15

30 Useful Life Hacks That Are Worth Noting To talk to people all you have to do is just ask questions. just let them talk.

capt_0bvious , Canva Studio Report

Håvard Hovde
Community Member
11 months ago

Good tip! But this might be tiring if it's only one sided. A good balance is the thing! And a willingness to share a bit about yourself too. ;) But yeah, most people like talking, it seems.

View More Replies...
View more comments

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.”

Graham Allcott also explained further about our habits. I asked him why we get stuck in our routines, even if there's better way to complete them. Graham answered, "Habits, by their nature, are ‘effortless’, meaning we don’t have to think too much and act mostly on a kind of autopilot, which is a convenient and sometimes essential way of dealing with the pace and complexity of work."

"It takes time and effort to think about the processes of work at the same time as the content of our work," Graham continued, "so either if we’re feeling lazy or we’re just dealing with a fast paced environment, we tend to avoid thinking about the processes of work and just focus on getting through the day with the least effort."

#16

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.

munificent Report

Lily Mae Kitty
Community Member
11 months ago

this just reminded me of getting ready in high school. I'd put on an album and had one side to get it together.

View more comments
See Also on Bored Panda
#17

30 Useful Life Hacks That Are Worth Noting Putting socks on before pants. Socks are like pant lubricants. Believe it.

flatlander30 , Lukas Horak Report

Aahzmandus Pervect
Community Member
11 months ago (edited)

Life hack? That's just a proper way of putting socks on.

View More Replies...
View more comments
#18

30 Useful Life Hacks That Are Worth Noting 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.

snarfit , Andrea Piacquadio Report

Aahzmandus Pervect
Community Member
11 months ago

The place the thing probably should be in the first place.

View More Replies...
View more comments

Graham gives us more insights into productivity and asks us to rethink what we know about it. Graham said, "The main thing when it comes to productivity is to abandon the idea of time management altogether." He believes that: "What really matters is ‘attention management’—this is about recognizing the times in your day and in your week where your mind is at its most focussed and applying those hours of attention to the hardest thing on your list. Conversely, you can save up the easy tasks for when your brain is fried at the end of a day or week."

Graham continues, "The best way to approach this is to keep a diary for a week or so and really understand your own peaks and troughs in terms of energy, and then keep tasks on your to-do list based on the varying levels of energy needed to complete them. So, for example, my to-do list has three separate categories: ‘normal’ tasks, ‘deep-thinking/high attention’ tasks, and ‘mindless’ tasks."

#19

30 Useful Life Hacks That Are Worth Noting 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.

munificent , cottonbro Report

Lykke
Community Member
11 months ago

Or make the chore more "enjoyable" by listening to great music or a podcast, or eat a snack you love while doing the boring stuff.

View More Replies...
View more comments
#20

30 Useful Life Hacks That Are Worth Noting 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.

Renovatio_ , CivilEngineerThrow Report

Burs
Community Member
11 months ago

We used to do this at home in our kitchen tiles. They are white and perfect to use as a board to write messages to each other, small lists or congratulate one in their birthday

View More Replies...
View more comments
#21

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.

GeorgePB Report

Bobert Robertson
Community Member
11 months ago (edited)

Ha. First time in New York city with 3 friends we went to a concert. We took a picture of the hotel so we remembered where it was - this was just before google maps and apple maps were a big thing, and we had flip phones with garbage cameras. Then we somehow got separated at the concert. 3 of us reunited by the end of it (there were thoooooousands of people on Randall Island for Rock the Bells), and we waited for a long time for the 4th to show up. Turns out he got so drunk he wanted to go back to the hotel, so he left, got in a cab, and they asked where he was going, looked at his phone (drunk I remind you) and said "Chinatown" He gets there, gets out, and cannot find the hotel anywhere. He finally found us at like 4am after sobering up a bit and realizing it was just a chinese restaurant next to our hotel, we weren't actually staying in china town. We all thought he was a goner, since he wasn't answering his phone. My point is, make sure you get enough detail in the photo to remember exactly where you want to go or you may be going on an adventure

View More Replies...
View more comments
#22

30 Useful Life Hacks That Are Worth Noting 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.

munificent , Alexander Suhorucov Report

Ozacoter
Community Member
11 months ago (edited)

I dont know about this. I often dont tell things to people until I have done them because you often get all kinds of criticism. Like I want to buy a cheap car because I am too ill to walk? My father will be angry. I do not want to buy it becausw its a lot of money? My father will be angry.

View More Replies...
View more comments
#23

30 Useful Life Hacks That Are Worth Noting Try to put yourself in as many socially awkward situations as possible. You will be desensitized to it which makes you more outgoing.

capt_0bvious , Jess Cadorette Report

Serial pacifist
Community Member
11 months ago

This does not include coughing in public and not wearing a mask.

View More Replies...
View more comments
#24

30 Useful Life Hacks That Are Worth Noting 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.

anonymous , Aaron Yoo Report

Lykke
Community Member
11 months ago

Use a wakeup light which slowly increases light intensity and sound. It is amazing when you have to wake up when it is dark outside, because you are not startled by a sudden loud noise in the dark.

View More Replies...
View more comments
#25

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.

anonymous Report

Vicky Z
Community Member
11 months ago

What if you are too lazy to work out generally in any time?

View More Replies...
View more comments
#26

30 Useful Life Hacks That Are Worth Noting 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.

mellowmedium , cottonbro Report

Burs
Community Member
11 months ago

A pirates life…

View More Replies...
View more comments
See Also on Bored Panda
#27

30 Useful Life Hacks That Are Worth Noting 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

sumthinwitty , Daria Shevtsova Report

Stefan Scheiben
Community Member
11 months ago

Better use a bottle or at least a pitcher with a lid. The water will not be as stale. Additionally it can help a lot when you have a large glass of water before you go to bed.

View More Replies...
View more comments
#28

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.

bowmhoust Report

Madre_Dr4gnZFly
Community Member
11 months ago

Ugh. I took typing in high school and eventually worked up to 80wpm. My gaming geek son (who is 33 yrs old) never took a class, types 115wpm using FOUR FINGERS(2 index fingers, both thumbs.) and it sounds like a litter of kittens running back and forth on the keyboard.

View More Replies...
View more comments
#29

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

eredhuin Report

Bobert Robertson
Community Member
11 months ago

I have had some of my clothes for like 20 years, and they always go in the dryer. Don't prematurely underestimate the quality of your favourite hoodie.

View More Replies...
View more comments
#30

30 Useful Life Hacks That Are Worth Noting Applying an ice cube to a zit will reduce swelling and redness.

Syms , Michael Himbeault Report

WilvanderHeijden
Community Member
11 months ago

Applying pressure to a zit will account for a great video on youtube.

View More Replies...
View more comments

Note: this post originally had 59 images. It’s been shortened to the top 30 images based on user votes.