Living hack free is hard

A hack-free 2016 revisited

Back at the beginning of 2016 I wrote a post about living hack free. In looking back over 2016 I can say without reservation that the effort was an abject failure. Why? Because there are benefits to hacks when you find the right ones. Now don’t get me wrong, I did make an effort to reduce the number of hacks. However I found as the year progressed that eliminating all the “hacks” made me miss some great productivity ideas.

Where’s the middle?

So is there a balance between “hack free” and “hack happy?” In looking at my original post the guidelines I applied there still apply today:

1. Will it make an immediate impact on my everyday productivity?

2. Is it sustainable over the long term without the addition of work to my daily routines?

3. Does it require a change in mindset to implement?

Through a little more judicious application of these questions I’ve found there’s no reason to go to the hack-free extreme. Quantitative and qualitative analysis of hacks as they’re found give me the chance to see if they’re worth trying, saving, or ignoring. While the process isn’t perfect, it’s a good way to triage the flood of ideas directed at you if you’re into being productive.