Shamelessly Slack Off With These Life Automation Hacks
Avid workers and productivity masters alike have to take some time for themselves now and then. The unfortunate truth is that often, this doesn’t necessarily mean a relaxing experience.
Certain activities and events still require a great deal of control, especially if you’re the type of person that wants maximum efficiency. There is truth to the saying that if you want things done right, sometimes you just have to do them yourself.
It’s exhausting, even more so when you’re dealing with rote or boring tasks. Luckily, there’s a hack for that. Thanks to modern technology, it’s now possible to automate a lot of these activities.
Here are some of the more common things that can be automated in our day-to-day lives, providing ample time to slack off.
1. Stop Grocery Shopping
It sounds crazy, but there’s no need to go into a store to buy groceries these days. Services like Walmart Grocery, Amazon’s Curbside Pickup, Instacart and many others modernized this entire process.
It works like this: Shoppers pick out the items they want via a mobile app or website, place the order and pay. Then, they drive to their local store, park in the designated pickup area and the goods are brought out to the car. Before the groceries are loaded into a vehicle, store reps will inform about any substitutions or missing items. In the worst case scenario, you can visit another grocery store on the way home to pick up what was not available.
Instacart, on the other hand, will have the order delivered right to people’s doorstep so they never have to leave home.
Either way, this eliminates all that time people spend in stores, moving from aisle to aisle or even waiting in the checkout lane.
2. Small Item Shopping
Similarly, there are tools and services to help automate small item and toiletry shopping, particularly through Amazon. Amazon’s Subscribe & Save service, for example, will send regular shipments of things like toilet paper, paper towels, detergent, deodorant and more.
The bonus is that you never run out of important items that are quite easy to forget about until you desperately need them.
3. Automate Your Bills
Anyone still paying their bills manually is doing it wrong. Managing a budget is still something we should all do regularly — and there’s automation for that, too. When it comes to actually paying bills, credit cards and utilities, though, too many people still handle the process themselves.
The reality is there’s no reason to do this. Most first-party providers allow users to automate this process on their own, but if that’s not appealing, there are additional services. Some banks, PayPal and several payment services allow users to automate this simply by including the necessary information and selecting a schedule.
4. Meal Planning
Believe it or not, planning meals can save a lot of time and money. There are services like HelloFresh and Blue Apron, but don’t fall into the trap of thinking you can’t handle this on your own.
Simply planning meals, buying the groceries and preparing the dishes at the beginning of the week is another option — it’s often cheaper, too. This is even more important for anyone on a diet or trying to balance portions.
There’s another good side to preplanning meals and activities. Creating goals and striving toward them can help build motivation, which is something that bogs down a lot of people. In fact, a lack of motivation is what can cause a lot of people to be considered slackers when it’s really just that they need to build that positivity and drive.
5. Automate Your Digital Life
Computers have automated cleaning tools to defragment and clean up temporary files, as well as security solutions to keep everything running smoothly. Most of them will work sans human input, so long as they are set up in advance. In addition, services like IFTTT allow the automation of various tasks related to smartphones, smart homes and certain apps.
Some examples include having a phone automatically turn on Wi-Fi and connect to a local network when arriving home or dimming the screen after a certain time each night.
There are a variety of tools that can help automate work and projects. Grammarly and Hemingway help with writing or documentation, MailChimp can automate email correspondence and Hootsuite can aid with social media.
6. Get Some Assistance
Whether you prefer Amazon’s Alexa, Google Assistant or Apple’s Siri, there’s a voice assistant for you. Amazon Echo and Google Home devices are smart speakers equipped with their respective assistant that can interface with other devices.
You can tell Alexa to turn on lights in a particular room. More advanced automation can be used to do a variety of things, like closing blinds and turning off lights at the same time or locking doors, arming security systems and more.
It’s OK to Accept Help
Meticulous, control freak, super efficient, dedicated — it doesn’t matter what the defining trait is, they all describe someone who loves to achieve their tasks and goals most often on their own. It’s OK to accept help, though, especially from a tool or system that automates repetitive tasks.
They can be just as efficient — if not more so — and save a lot of time. Even just finding another productive friend can help boost your own efficiency.
If you haven’t already, you should start thinking about automating some of the tasks above to free up more of your time, or even slack off if you dare to indulge.
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Also published on Medium.