If you’re looking for ways to make your life easier in the new year, then you might want to start by automating the tasks you can.
Work-life-balance doesn’t always have to involve expensive gadgets or making big, sweeping changes to your habits and routines. Oftentimes, it’s the small, micro changes that make a significant impact. And automating your tasks is one of those things that can make a noticeable difference without requiring too much extra effort.
Think of all the tasks that you do multiple times a day, week, or month. Maybe you’re always writing the same type of emails to clients and customers. Or you’re always trying to figure out what to make for dinner or wear to work. These are all tasks that seem routine and simple on the surface, but can zap your time and energy. But by simply automating these tasks, you can free up your schedule and your mental reserves.
If you’re used to doing a lot of your work manually, then you might be feeling resistant to automating your tasks. After all, how do we trust apps and tools to do the work for us? What if we sound like an AI bot? Or our lives become predictable and robotic?
These are all valid concerns. But automating your life tasks doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to go fully digital and hands-off. The trick is to combine the ease and convenience of technology with your own personalized touch. By doing so, you can simplify the tasks in your life while also ensuring that important details are being well-managed.
Here are some of the other benefits of automating your life tasks:
- Beat procrastination. Instead of dragging your heels on a chore or run-of-the-mill task, you can rely on systems and tools to kickstart your momentum for you. It’s much easier to send off all those emails when the templates have been prepared in advance. Or manage your meals for the week when you’ve done your meal planning ahead of time.
- Stay on top of deadlines. It may not seem like a lot of work, but trying to remember monthly payments and deadlines can be mentally exhausting. One of the prevailing rules of productivity is that we shouldn’t rely on our memory alone to get things done. We need external tools and systems to help us stay organized. Automating your work can help you stay on top of your deadlines without draining your mind.
- Free up your bandwidth. When your tasks are automated, you can harness your mental energy for activities that do require your attention and creativity, and focus on doing deep work.
Identify the tasks that can be automated
To help you figure out what to automate in your life, make a list of things that you do regularly and ask yourself:
- What areas in your life could use extra support?
- What are the tasks and chores that can go on autopilot?
- What tasks do you dislike and could use help with?
Here are some ideas for tasks that you can automate:
Maintain your inbox with email templates
It seems like there is no bigger headache in our modern lives than our email inbox. A simple way to make your email correspondence more manageable is to use email templates. Email templates are great for routine emails that you send all the time like invoice submissions, meeting requests and rsvps, customer or client responses, and more. This way, you don’t have to feel like you’re starting from scratch every time you send a routine email.
For instructions on how to set up email templates on Gmail, you can check out this guide here.
You can also templatize emails for longer, more substantive messages. For instance, if you get a lot of “pick your brain” emails, then create a google doc with all the information and advice you would typically give, and then use that for all future responses. You can tweak it and personalize it as you go, but at least you don’t have to do the big job of composing a new message every single time.
Automate your payments
A great way to save time and manage your personal finances is to automate your regular payments. Autopay takes the hassle out of trying to remember payment due dates every month, and ensures that you pay your bills on time. It’s best to automate payments for bills that stay fixed every month. Things like your rent, cell phone, car and health insurance bills are a good fit for autopsy. For bills that vary each month, such as your credit card or utilities bill, it’s probably best to pay those bills manually so that you can review the charges.
While autopay is a great convenience, it’s still important to track your spending and income on a regular basis. If your income fluctuates throughout the month, then you’ll want to choose your autopay dates strategically and make sure that you have enough money in the bank to cover those payments. This way, you won’t get blindsided by a hefty withdrawal.
Automate your cooking with meal plans
We know that cooking our own meals is better for our budget and our health. But shopping for ingredients or chopping up vegetables can be a headache–especially if you have a busy week. Use meal planning to make your life easier. By consulting your schedule and figuring out your needs, you can take the guesswork out of what you’re going to eat that week. You don’t have to prepare every single meal from scratch, but planning for certain meals like breakfast or lunch can simplify your process.
Automate your cleaning
Staying on top of household chores is a job in itself. Try to set-up an easy-to-follow cleaning schedule to make cleaning and organizing feel routine. Maybe designate Saturday mornings to do a quick tidy of your home. Or combine a 15 minute cleaning session with your favorite TV program. By creating a schedule, you can just execute the task without really thinking about it.
And you’ll also want to take advantage of self-cleaning tools. Whether it’s a Roomba or an air purifier, self cleaning tools help keep your home clean and hygienic, while also minimizing the effort that you have to exert.
Written by JiJi Lee.