None of us seem to have enough time these days. One step toward finding more time is to automate as many tasks as possible. Here are some ideas.
Make A List Of What You Do
If you don’t know what you do you don’t know what you can automate. Record your actions during a week. Pay special attention to the little things like picking out what clothes to wear on a given day.
Next eliminate completely what you can, and then mark what you think can be automated. Some will be easy and some might require a little research. And you’ll be left with some that are tasks you simply must do. We’ll talk about those below.
Here Are Some Of The More Obvious Ones:
Pay Bills Automatically
Does anyone use checks anymore? I might use maybe 5 a year!. Most companies allow you to set up automatic payments. I’m not a big fan of having the individual companies in control so I prefer to set up billpay at my bank. Bills where the amount doesn’t change often (like auto payments) can be set to pay monthly automatically. Others can be directed to a credit card where you still have some control because you can always dispute a charge. For other bills, handle them electronically using billpay on a scheduled bill day (see below.)
Lump Money Tasks Together
Decide what days of the month will be “money days.” Usually twice a month is enough. On those days pay any bills electronically that can’t be completely automated. These are also the days to plan ahead a little so that you make sure sufficient funds will be in your bank account to prevent overdrafts and see how much you can safely spend without surprises.
This is one that gets talked about a lot thanks to Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerburg’s habits of wearing the same clothes everyday. I talk about this more in my article “Killing Decision Fatigue.” What us common folksl can do however is first to go through our wardrobe, and donate or toss anything we are unlikely to wear anytime soon. Then once a week, after doing laundry, organize what you will be wearing for the whole week and hang it in order in your closet. This is about as close to automated as you can get.
This one is important for multiple reasons and always recommended. If you are employed, get your investment dollars taken out of your paycheck before you even see them. For retirement there are target date funds that make choosing investments easy if you don’t want to do your own research. Have a regular amount deposited into your savings account, either deducted from your paycheck or through a regular scheduled transfer from your checking account.
What items do you buy all the time on a regular schedule? Set it up to have them delivered automatically at a set interval.
Set up an automatic backup plan so you don’t have to think about it. Not only do you save time but you will thank yourself when that inevitable hard drive crash occurs.
Again, this one is good for a bunch of reasons. Plan your meals ahead for the week so you don’t have to waste time figuring out what to cook (or end up eating unhealthy junk food.) Maybe cook a few meals on a Sunday and save them for use during the week.
Make Use Of Alexa (Or Google Assistant)
Learn how to make full use of Alexa (or Google Assistant) to save time.
Proofreading Your Documents
Use Grammarly or similar automated tools to save time when proofreading your documents.
Use Travel Sites To Make Travel Plans
Make full use of online travel sites to plan your trips and check reviews. They can be a great alternative to calling all around yourself.
Plan Your TV / Movies in Advance
If you are going to watch TV at all, at least plan it out in advance so you don’t waste time channel surfing. Pick out a few shows or movies you really like so you don’t have to search when you do sit down in front of the TV.
What About Tasks That Can’t Be Automated?
You’ll find that some tasks really do need a human’s intervention. You have two choices. Either simply make a decision to do it yourself, or hire somebody. Contractors can be hired for most one off jobs. If your budget allows, the use of a virtual assistant may make sense and be a lifesaver.
So what unusual tasks have you automated. Share so others can benefit!
Photo by Andrea De Santis on Unsplash