Automate everything. What can we do to automate more so we can focus on what matters? Here’s a few tips and examples on how to automate your life.
It’s no secret: automation is here. How can we automate our repetitive tasks so that we can use our limited willpower to do deeper work? There are famous examples: Mark Zuckerberg and President Barack Obama wear the same thing everyday. It’s no secret that some of the most powerful, productive, and successful people use automation tools to increase their abilities. What these savants do is accessible to the rest of us.
Repetitive tasks go bye-bye
What do we do every day? Not manual tasks like brushing our teeth. Once we brush our teeth often enough, we don’t have to think about it. What I’m referring to is the rest of our repetitive tasks.
We get dressed, make coffee, put on our shoes, shower, exercise, find our keys, check our emails, read the news, eat breakfast, and take our dogs for a walk (among the 1,000 other tasks).
What we don’t recognize is that many of these decisions use willpower, meaning that these choices eat up our daily choice allotment. So, what can we do to limit morning choices? A lot.
What I’ve experimented with over the past month is automating two, big morning decisions: clothing and food. Instead of choosing what to wear and what to eat every morning, I schedule them on Sunday night. I printed out a calendar and put one on my refrigerator and another on my closet door. When I wake up, I look at my food and clothing calendars, and do what they say. I don’t make any decisions.
How far can we go?
After food and clothing, what else? Automating is more than just getting things done; it’s also about focus. So, instead of whimsically checking email and social media at random intervals during the day, I only check these when they are on my calendar.
I check emails at 8a, 11:30a, and 4p Monday through Friday. It’s often enough where I will not miss anything, and it gives me a lot of cognitive clarity back because checking emails (task switching) is unproductive.
Ok, so food, emails, clothing, and social media are all out-of-the-way. What else? How about chores? I did some tracking and determined that I need to do my laundry, take my trash out, and run the dishwasher at schedule-able intervals throughout the week.
So now, I don’t have to think whether I should do laundry or take the trash out: I know exactly when to.
The last two tasks that I’ve automated is purchasing non-perishable goods and grocery shopping. I don’t need to keep a lot of food in my refrigerator nor do I need to think about when to buy paper towels.
I’ve figured how often I buy these items, and they are on an Amazon purchasing schedule. Same with the grocery store. At the beginning of the month, I map out about what I’m going to eat and when, and I’ve figured out how often I need to go and what to buy so I essentially don’t have to think at the store.
Is it boring?
When I tell my friends about my automation schedule, the first question they ask is “isn’t that boring?” The answer is no. I don’t eat the same thing every day nor do I wear the same clothes every Monday.
The point in planning ahead is to plan creatively. I spend about one hour a week planning all of my tasks so I get all that (and more) time back.
Sure, I don’t have whims. I don’t vary my scheduled tasks unless necessary. This is NOT for everyone. But, if you want more mental clarity, time, and to increase your productivity and energy throughout the day, I strongly urge automating.
Is it working?
Absolutely. Automation and focus has increased my productivity and energy. My morning routine, where I do the same thing for the same amount of time every morning, prepares me for a long, productive day.
I regularly work until 7p or 8p with no errors and high performance because I’ve eliminated many meaningless tasks throughout my day. When we don’t have to think about “stuff,” we spend more time thinking about the important tasks and issues in our lives.
Want to create more? Produce more? Try automating. It’s working for me.
We are always searching for more time to learn, grow, socialize, be better, and do better. We should all sleep 6-9 hours a day, and there’s not a good way to save time otherwise.
The best way to make more time is to automate.
I’d love to hear in the comments how this is working for you and in what ways you automate your life.