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Here are 15 life hacks that ‘seem fake' but are actually a 'true lifesaver'

“Compound interest isn't just something to do with money. It works with exercise, too.”

life hacks, great advice, atomic habits

A box of baking soda and a woman doing a light workout.

Have you ever heard advice and thought, “That’s too good to be true?” As we all know, that usually means it doesn’t work. However, sometimes, there are simple and easy solutions to problems that once seemed impossible. We just have to look for answers in the right place.

A Reddit user who has since deleted their account reached out to the online forum and asked people to share their life hacks that at first seem to be fake but are a “true lifesaver.” They shared everything from tech tricks to bring back dead laptops to easy ways to trick ourselves into developing powerful, “atomic” habits.

Here are 15 of the best responses to the question: What lifehack seems to be fake, but is it a true lifesaver?


1. Freeze your busted hard drive

"Hard drive in the freezer to get it to spin up one more time. I swear to god I thought it was bullshit until I was out of options and tried it... and the damn thing came back on a few more times and I got the data off of it I needed." — KnightCrusader

"I'm not sure there is a better answer to this question. It is such a goofy solution that shouldn't realistically work. The number of times I've successfully extracted data from a dying drive using this technique is ridiculous. When a good friend of mine gave me this advice over the phone, I remember being genuinely pissed that he wasn't offering any real guidance. He had twenty-plus years in IT at that point and he was my go-to in times of crisis. I was absolutely gobsmacked when it worked." — MJSlayer

2. Mental vs. physical fatigue

"Don’t confuse mental fatigue with physical fatigue. After a long day at my brain-intensive job, I think, “I’m tired, I should lie down.” But really, I’ve been sitting on my butt for eight hours and what I need to recover is physical motion." — From_around_here

3. Stop crying

"You can’t cough and produce tears at the same time. It only works for a second, but if you need one to keep from crying, clear your throat." — Fermifighter

"I can confirm this helps; if I am trying to hold back tears and feel them starting to slip, I clear my throat several times and it helps me regain control so I can focus on breathing and calming down." — Redheadredeemed

4. Slow down to speed up

"’Slow is smooth, smooth is fast.’" My therapist told me this and it has changed my life. At the beginning of a work session or project, I think through everything patiently, without rushing. Start working, and before I know it, I am in a groove and time flies by." — BreakfastSimulator

5. 2-Minute Rule

"I like the '2-minute' rule. If it takes less than 2 minutes, just do it right now. It greatly helps for people like myself who are prone to procrastinating. Whether folding a few shirts, making a phone call, putting away groceries, putting something in the kitchen, cleaning something, etc. You put off trivial small things, and over time, they stack up and become too overwhelming to do. If you follow the 2-minute rule you will find that you're more organized and there are fewer annoyances that get in the way of the real things to do." — Musecorn

6. Memory trick

"If you are one of the types that gets anxious about leaving the iron on or similar stuff, do this. Remove the plug from the socket, point at it, and say out loud, 'Iron is off.' You WILL remember that you did, in fact, turn it off." — Buroda

7. Vacuum trick

"Yell at your vacuum cleaner to get your dogs to stop barking at it. Apparently, it helps your dogs realize that you are dominant over the vacuum, so they stop trying to protect you from it. Sounds like BS, but I literally did it once and it was never a problem again." — IAmNotScottBakula

"This works! I felt ridiculous telling my vacuum to sit and stay and 'bad boy' in front of my dog, but after that, dog gave zero f**ks about the vacuum." — Silver_Ells

8. Atomic habits

"Lots of the tiny habits/atomic habits stuff sounds so dumb, but it works for many people. Basically, the idea is that you commit to just doing one pushup a day, or learn to write one foreign language word, or one hug with your partner, or write for minutes, basically one teeny step toward whatever goal you are aiming at. Over time, the ritual gets built in and you can scale it. It's worked really well for me for writing. I write now. Less so for exercise, but hey ho. I still do 5 minutes minimum per day, every day." — AutoReponseUnit

9. Baking Soda

"Baking soda is a miracle cleaner and unpleasant odor remover. You can clean ovens, clear up slightly clogged bathroom and kitchen drains, remove grease, remove stinks from furniture and clothing like shoes, and many more." — TheBassMeister

10. Look busy

"When you look annoyed all the time, people think that you're busy." — Upstairs-Traffic

"I discovered later in life that I had developed Resting Bitch Face. A little investigation revealed that colleagues often just left me alone instead of making requests because they thought I was busy and probably pissed off with work. I actually love helping people, so I've made efforts to offset it, but if I really DON'T want to be bothered, um, yeah, turns out that works." — DeathBoyUK

11. Magical Vodka

"Vodka is the ultimate odor remover. You can use it for BO on clothes or animal urine scent. Put the cheapest vodka you can find in a spray bottle and spray the affected area. Allow to dry. It's like freaking magic. I have gotten odors out that nothing else worked on. Vodka is the ultimate odor remover. You can use it for BO on clothes or animal urine scent. Put the cheapest vodka you can find in a spray bottle and spray the affected area. Allow to dry. It's like freaking magic. I have gotten odors out that nothing else worked on." — Diedbyicee

12. Splurge protection

"If you are thinking about a splurge purchase, wait 3 days. If you're still thinking about it at that point, then splurge away. Otherwise, it was just a passing fancy." — No_Mongoose5419

13. Exercise

"Unfortunately, getting vigorous, regular exercise really does help with depression. Doesn’t solve it, but actually does make a difference. I used to get so mad when therapists would suggest it, lol." — Personal_Custard_95

"I have been diagnosed with depression. A walk and some exercise help my MOOD a lot, but it doesn't CURE the mental illness, that's what the meds are for! A walk does help though, and having a dog does help with ‘get up and go for a walk’ because he gets so excited to go around the block." — CooperTucker

14. Take accountability

"Taking accountability for your actions and apologizing rather than trying to justify them and becoming defensive." — IndianBeauty143

"This one is so huge. The relief you feel when you stop fighting it and just admit when you’re wrong. So much tension and anxiety releases." — Capaldithenewblack

15. Lift a little

"Compound interest isn't just something to do with money. It works with exercise, too. Invest as little as 10 minutes a day in getting your heart rate up or doing some weights; that is all you need to do. You don't need to bust your ass off 5 hours a week." — PPLifter

"A few of my friends are personal trainers and they love to pump anyone up by telling them that even five minutes of exercise a week can make a difference after enough time. People take on too much at once with exercise and they crash and burn because they're overworking their muscles and hurting themselves. There's a lot more to it than that, but starting small is great." — Nauin


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