British technology writer Danny O’Brien, in 2003, interviewed people he considered to be the most productive folks he knew. This group included computer programmers who implemented simple and technical strategies to improve their work. For example, they would rely on text documents to remember important information, like birthdays and to-dos. They could then search for this information when they needed to access it.

The following year, O’Brien presented his findings at the O’Reilly Emerging Technologies conference in San Diego to brainstorm up-to-date tips and tricks. These secrets were called “life hacks” by O’Brien. And, we’ve been obsessed with hacking ever since.