post written by: Marc Chernoff

3 Easy Steps: The Only Life Hack You Will Ever Need


There is an endless pool of life hacks out there discussing methods for improving your productivity, happiness, and general quality of life.  However, there is only one life hack that forms the foundation for which all others are built upon.  If you ignore it, you will fail.  That’s the bottom line.

“Besides the noble art of getting things done,
there is the noble art of leaving things undone.
The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of non-essentials.”
 - Lyn Yutang

This life hack consists of 3 easy steps:

  1. Figure out what is important to you. – The 80/20 rule suggests that only 20% of your daily activities are actually important.  The other 80% are mostly excess time wasters of far less importance.  The key to success rests in being able to distinguish between the two.
  2. Eliminate the excess. – What is cluttering your life?  What don’t you use on a regular basis?  Throw it all away.  What extra steps are you taking that don’t directly support your goals?  Remove them from your routine.  If it does not help you move forward, it isn’t worth doing.
  3. Focus all your energy on the outcome of step #1. – After completing steps 1 and 2 you will be equipped with a clear vision of what is truly important.  All you have to do now is focus your efforts accordingly.  If done right, you will actually notice yourself doing less and accomplishing more. 

This life hack is really quite easy to execute once you get past the first step.

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9 Comments

  • Does that mean I have to give up video games? I really don’t want to have to do that :(

    Sound advice though, makes perfect sense.

  • @Aaron:
    Hah… no I think everybody deserves a little free time to do whatever their heart desires. Remember, I said eliminate the stuff that is unimportant to you. If video games make you happy, they can’t be all that bad if played in moderation. ;-)

  • This one is going on my bathroom mirror. Great summary!

    But just to clarify, the 80/20 rule isn’t intended to add up to 100%, it just happens to. It states that 80% of your results will come from just 20% of your efforts. By mentioning the 80/20 rule, you seem to be saying two things with your first step. First, that 20% of your activities make 80% of your results, and second, that the remaining 80% of your time only gives you a 20% increase in results, not necessarily that it is wasted (although they very well may be!) The 80 and the 20 are two separate measurements, like output and input, and neither bad and good, nor in this case useless and useful activities.

    I run a home-based side business, and I could easily show that I use 20% of my time gives 80% of my profits, but the remaining 80% of my time is not wasted, it is spent doing boring things like tracking invoices, talking with clients, and avoiding problems. So they are only less efficient, and should be the first things to automate and pay someone to do once I grow large enough to afford them.

    The important point, and the point you have made, is that you should focus on activities that give results and minimize activities that do not. Life hacking at it’s simplest!

  • @Dan:
    Thanks for the added insight. You’ve made some outstanding points. My description of ‘wasted time’ may have been a bit harsh. There is always a grey area when it comes to productivity.

  • Yes, excess of everything is bad. Life will be good if we can manage a balance between the 80/20 things. We don’t tend to bifurcate and the possible reason is lack of time management.
    Three things if incorporated in life, can bring up efficiency and our living standards
    1. Planning
    2. Time Management
    3. Scheduling
    If one can just use these three things in a right manner, life would never be a problem.
    Other thing which is far less speculated but is fairly important is having faith in yourself. faith binds everything together and is very necessary for you to stride through tough times.

  • So what percent does reading this fall under? 80% or 20%? Good advice though!

  • I totally agree with this post. I know that I spend all kind of time doing things that don’t mean anything to me, and there is simply too much meaningless stuff in my life.

    Thanks for the reminder :)

  • these things, are key to full and fruitful life having an idea about what were u are in resport of health and how u feel in both your own inner world and in everyday life. And having a clear about what we want either its playing games all day, or being a monk (u can do both if u want) its about having an amorst zen mind set ENJOY doing what u enjoy be 100% in it.

    We can get lost in this kind mucky water or thought forms floating around and not being able to get a pin down on what to do in everyday life what do with this brain (this is how i feel anyway), this being, the zen mind idea or modes of life, sadly is lost to 70% of ppl

  • Sounds a bit too general to me, but there’s indeed truth behind this post!

    I still remember and old saying from my late uncle. It can be roughly translated to english like this:
    “Simplicity is just another complicated thing you have mastered or understood”.

    Simple philosophy, always inspiring.

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