What’s Your Favorite Outward-Facing Life Hack?

There are lots of little “life hacks” for making your life better. Tips on how to get the last drop of toothpaste out of the tube or how to extend the battery life of your smartphone.

Those are great, but I recently stumbled upon a different type of life hack: The kind that makes other peoples’ lives better, easier, or happier.

It occurred to me when I was stuffing a Netflix DVD back into an envelope. I think I was giving it to a friend who was going to the post office.

As I started to seal the envelope, she said, “You didn’t stuff it the right way.”

I had no idea there was a wrong way to stuff a Netflix envelope. But my friend pointed out that there’s a little window on the return envelope that coincides with the bar code on the DVD. If you line them up, you make it easier for Netflix to process the return:


It’s a little thing, but it’s the type of thing that probably saves a fellow human being the annoying 2 seconds of opening up the envelope to see what’s inside. And that 2 seconds might add up so everyone gets their DVDs a little faster.

That’s my outward-facing life hack of the day. What’s yours?

7 thoughts on “What’s Your Favorite Outward-Facing Life Hack?”

  1. I’ve heard that term “hack” a few times now, and from what I can tell, it seems like something whippersnappers say when listening to their rock n’ roll music. Seriously, though, in the 90s this word basically was only used to describe someone breaking into a computer; now it seems to denote something that makes anything easier/faster. Does anyone know the etymology of this use of hack? It’s one of those cultural phenomena at which I marvel. How are we supposed to know to begin using “hack” in this context?

  2. This is one I picked up from my mom years ago… a lot of people are superstitious, so if they see a coin on the ground and it isn’t head’s up, they won’t pick it up, thinking that it’s bad luck.

    So if my mom sees a coin like that, she flips them over so the next kid to come along will not only get the money, but think they’re having a “lucky day”.

    Always seemed like a nice, small gesture to brighten up a stranger’s day.


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