December 20, 2019

Automation in daily life

No need for extremism. The essence of this technique, that most people don't get, is what I call "life automation".

Automation in daily life

The story about the grey shirt Mark Zuckerberg wears every single day becomes viral from time to time. There are similar stories for Steve Jobs and Albert Einstein.

If you are not familiar with these stories, they go like these: these crazy smart/successful people that have hundreds of decisions to make every day they don't bother deciding what to wear every day; they just have multiple items of the same outfit.

This is to unload the mental process of choosing everyday clothing that normal people would waste their mental energy. And this "mental power" that they have saved can be used to other more useful tasks throughout the day.

You might argue that this kind of technique is only useful to the super busy. Not to the everyday man.

Sure, I am not in favor of wearing the same outfit every day. No need for this kind of extremism. The essence of this technique though, that most people don't get, is what I call "life automation".

Just like we tend to automate repetitive tasks with computers, we can come up with "systems" to handle the repetitive tasks in our life. These "systems" are just predetermined decisions about things that you constantly have to do, and every time you have to do them you don't spend time thinking about them.

This will give you more time back than you can imagine. These small savings in time and mental power will sum up and can be used to things that you enjoy, instead of things you have to do.

Let me give you some examples to make it more concrete.

  • Traveling is exciting. Preparing your luggage before traveling, not so much. Almost every person has that "did I forget something" when heading to the airport or the train station. Yet the things that you need to pack for every trip are quite similar. This is a repetitive process with an easy "automation" for saving you all that time worried. Just create a travel checklist in Google Sheets or your favorite organizing app. This will give you free of mind and will make packing time super fast compared to the previous process "let's see what I need to pack". Of course, each trip might have some special requirements and you can focus on those.
  • You have to do laundry every week. And every week you argue with your partner if today there are enough clothes to justify laundry. This is a repetitive process. And small amounts of time are wasted each week for this matter. Just pre-decide that you will put laundry the same day every week. If for some reason there are not enough clothes for laundry, skip to the next day. But no more pointless thoughts about when and if to do laundry. You can even get a simple reminder app, such as microtasks, to show a persistent notification every time you need to do laundry.

Everyone does repetitive tasks in their lives. All you have to do is identify them and then think about how to achieve them in the long run. Pre-decide how to act when you need to do them. And direct the time and energy that you get back to things that matter to you.