Surprise! Many of the things we think we’re doing correctly are actually not the best ways to do them. This includes even basic, everyday things like cooking, driving, and even shaking hands (separately, of course). Let’s take a look.
Unless you’re dead, you’re breathing and that’s all there is to it, right? Although there isn’t a “wrong” way to breathe, there’s a more efficient way that increases your energy and gives your body more oxygen: belly breathing, which for some reason we stop doing past the baby stage. But if babies can do it, so can we!
#9 Peeing in a Urinal
Pee should not haphazardly splash back on to the floor or yourself. Physicists have revealed the best way for men to use a urinal to minimise the dreaded splash-back: get close and aim down.
#8 Brushing and Flossing Your Teeth
Morning and night, you’re supposed to brush your teeth. Your dental hygienist probably showed you how a long, long time ago, but are you still doing it right? If you brush your teeth after breakfast or rinse with water after brushing, you’re not helping your teeth.
#7 Pronouncing Certain Words
Although you shouldn’t be afraid to mispronounce words in public, there are a whole lot of words we’re all probably mispronouncing — from foods and drinks to the highly contestable “gif”. Maybe everyone’s mispronouncing your name too. (Wouldn’t life be so much easier if language was simpler?)
#6 Standing and Sitting
Like breathing, your posture might also be straying from what’s best for you. We’ve discussed how to ergonomically optimise your workspace, how to fix your sitting posture, how to test your back and neck posture, your natural sitting and standing posture, and even how to stand properly. Phew. Whatever you do, just don’t sit around all day.
#5 Washing Your Hands
Hand-washing also seems like such an easy skill that’s hard to mess up, but are you washing your hands as long and as often as you should? Are you wasting time and money with anti-bacterial soap, waiting for hot water, or an inefficient towel-drying method?
#4 Loading the Dishwasher
Everyone has their own way of loading the dishwasher. This organisation method, however, might be the best way for maximum cleanliness. (And if you’re one of those types who cleans dishes before putting them in the dishwasher, seriously, stop.)
#3 Handling a Knife
No, not in self-defence or for street wars, but for cooking. Learn the right way to hold a knife, sharpen it, and other knife skills so you don’t end up in the emergency room from a knife-related kitchen injury.
#2 Using Your Keyboard’s Feet
You know those little feet that extend out the back of your desktop keyboard? Contrary to popular belief, they’re not there for ergonomics, and having them extended can actually negatively affect you — depending on how you type.
Even the simplest of acts like dispensing Tic Tacs and peeling oranges have been “life hacked” into cleverer, better alternatives than the normal way most of us do it. Maddox, of The Best Show in the Universe, rants on several of these in this NSFW video. Yeah, we’re all probably doing everything wrong, because, well, nobody’s perfect. Still, if you’re reading Lifehacker, you’re probably looking for ways — large and small — to improve your life, and the first step to that is understanding the areas where you can improve.
This article has been updated since its original publication.