Mother packing meal for school lunch on table

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NEW YORK — Ever pick up a time-saving “life hack” from an online video? Today might be a good day to start — new research suggests that those little tips and tricks save Americans almost four hours of effort each week.

That’s according to a survey of 2,002 people, 41 percent of whom actively use the term “life hack” to describe these types of efficiency shortcuts. One-fourth of those familiar with the term claim that life hacks save them six or more hours of effort each week.

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Minute Rice, the survey also finds that 71 percent of “life hackers” (1,372 respondents) are using them more now than they did before the pandemic started in early 2020.

The most popular life hacks focus on cooking, with 54 percent saying they use a hack in the kitchen. Cooking hacks that rank high include batch cooking meals for the whole week (41%), boiling potatoes with the skins on for easier removal later (40%), and using microwaveable rice (39%).

Life hackers are finding inspiration online

Life HacksSix in 10 respondents say they watch life hack videos on the internet all the way to the end. Moreover, 61 percent say they save them to watch later, compared to just 42 percent of people who say they’ve shared their own life hack tips online at some point.

However, clickbait-style headlines don’t always work on Americans, with 67 percent saying they won’t try a life hack if the article leads with something like “’You’ve been doing X wrong!” or “I was today years old when I learned….”

Like all skills, some life hacks require practice; respondents revealed that it takes them an average of three attempts to get a life hack right. Forty-four percent have tried a life hack that failed spectacularly, including one respondent who simply replied with, “Cut my finger off!”

“In today’s busy world it seems like we’re in such a rush that there’s not enough time to get it all done. That’s why anything that gives us time back in our day, from cooking hacks to back-to-school hacks and more should be embraced. Because when we save time on daily life tasks, we can slow down and enjoy time – and hopefully a meal – with those who matter most,” says Erica Larson, Senior Brand Manager of Minute Rice, in a statement.

Running out of time

Life HacksOf the 1,572 respondents with children, 78 percent wish there were more hours in the day, compared to just 48 percent of those without children. That’s probably why 23 percent of parents use life hacks often or all the time. That’s almost double the 13 percent of non-parents who do the same.

Popular parental life hacks include buying snacks in bulk to split up for individual lunches (43%), getting the kids to pack their own lunches to build confidence and save time (42%), and filling homemade snack bags with air to stop the items getting crushed (40%).

One in three parents have frozen juice packs to keep all the items in their child’s lunch bag cold during the day.

“The back-to-school season is one of the most stressful times of the year for parents. One of the biggest stressors? Juggling school, sports, homework and more with lunches and mealtime. Food and cooking hacks can be a game-changer to save time and help remove some of the stress that comes with getting your kids back into their school routine,” Larson adds.

About Chris Melore

Chris Melore has been a writer, researcher, editor, and producer in the New York-area since 2006. He won a local Emmy award for his work in sports television in 2011.

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