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Life hack (or life hacking) refers to any trick, shortcut, skill, or novelty method that increases productivity and efficiency, in all walks of life. The term was primarily used by computer experts who suffer from information overload or those with a playful curiosity in the ways they can accelerate their workflow in ways other than programming.
The original definition of the term "hack" is "to cut with rough or heavy blows." These included quick-and-dirty shell scripts and other command line utilities that filtered, munged and processed data streams like e-mail and RSS feeds. In the modern vernacular it is more often used to describe an inelegant but effective solution to a specific computing problem. The term was later extended to life hack, in reference to a solution to a problem unrelated to computers that might occur in a programmer's everyday life. Examples of these types of life hacks might include utilities to synchronize files, track tasks, remind oneself of events, or filter e-mail.
The term life hack was coined in 2004 during the O'Reilly Emerging Technology Conference in San Diego, California by technology journalist Danny O'Brien to describe the "embarrassing" scripts and shortcuts productive IT professionals use to get their work done. After his presentation, use of the term life hack spread in the tech and blogging community.
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