Access to the internet is only getting easier no matter where you are, and apps are becoming increasingly ubiquitous. We can now control so many aspects of our life from a smartphone or laptop, so why not use them to increase your efficiency and automate the boring bits of your week? Whether it’s for entertainment, education or organisation there are a myriad of ways the internet can improve and enrich your life. Make 2018 the year you get online savvy and use the internet to save time rather than waste it.
1. Schedule a regular groceries delivery online
Many grocery outlets offer home delivery, some at no extra cost. Using the same online grocery store every time is important, as your profile will save items you’ve bought before and prevent you from wasting time searching the website for your favourite brands and weekly staples. It’s also budget friendly, as you can scroll through what’s on special and add it to your cart with the click of a finger, rather than hunting around the shop trying to find a bargain.
Automated Pro Tip: To really save time, if you pre-purchase months’ worth of delivery, you can have a regular list delivered weekly to ensure you never run out of staples. No more empty fridges and excuses for expensive lunches purchased at school or work.
2. Sync your online calendars
Make the most of the calendar app on your phone and laptop. Using an app that syncs between your devices is a lifesaver, as you can check what you’re up to quickly and easily wherever you are. The more information you schedule in your calendar, the less you must rely on your memory during a busy and stressful week.
Automated Pro Tip: You can also create shared Google calendars to help your family keep up to date on any important events. Changes are automatically synced and setting reminders can be a relationship lifesaver.
3. Automate your rent and other monthly payments
If you have a scheduled payment that’s the same every fortnight or month, schedule it to be transferred, or be directly debited automatically. This will save you the stress and hassle of performing the same task manually each time. The bonus of automating recurring payments is they’ll never be late, giving you a stellar credit rating and making you the property manager’s favourite. Pop an automated reminder in your calendar a few days before the payment is scheduled to be made so there’s sure to be money in the account.
Automated Pro Tip: You can also have an automatic transfer between accounts to ensure your payment account always has sufficient funds.
4. Subscribed news feeds
Don’t waste time ducking to the shop to buy the paper or searching online to find the news information that interests you. Most major news outlets offer an online subscription service, as well as a free app with fresh articles to keep you in the know. Another option is to subscribe to a daily email with all the headlines, so you’re across the basic facts without having to lift a finger. News podcasts can inform you of current affairs while you work-out or drive to work.
Automated Pro Tip: You can subscribe to RSS news feed services that, with a few keywords set up initially, send relevant news directly to your inbox or straight from the app, on whatever schedule you would like.
5. Podcast and ebook subscriptions
Reading is a wonderful way to wind down, but sometimes it’s hard to get motivated when there’s so much to choose from. Bookabuy is a literary subscription service that will pop a new novel (curated to suit your taste) in your letterbox once a month.
Automated Pro Tip: You can download a podcast app like Podcast Addict via the iTunes or Google Play stores for free and subscribe to hundreds of podcasts that will automatically populate into your app as they are released.
6. Online learning
While online study, or elearning, is not going to be fully automated, you can benefit from the opportunity to view your lectures/video content at your convenience, rather than having to attend lectures, workshops or study groups on campus. All your teaching and assessments can be completed online, at any time of day, any day of the week. There’s no better way to do it if you’re someone who must juggle a busy schedule. For some course inspiration, check out our list of popular online courses and the careers they could lead you to.
Automated Pro Tip: Make sure you set up your Facebook or messenger apps to receive instant notifications when anyone (especially the trainers) in your online study group leaves a question or comment, so you can instantly stay up-to-date. You can also mark your groups as "see first" under "Following".
7. Automate to motivate using apps
If you use apps (who doesn’t these days?) do you think you are taking full advantage of their capabilities. We’ve already discussed the calendar function, but there are so many useful apps that can help automate your life. Often people forget to take the time to ensure they are taking the time to practice their hobbies or practicing wellbeing exercises. Be it for learning a new language, practicing meditation, learning guitar, brain training, trivia, gardening or art, there’s bound to be an app that can help you out.
Automated Pro Tip: Many apps can be set up to send you daily or even hourly reminders to take a break, practice or have a play. Take advantage of those and don’t ignore them when they pop up.
8. Money tools at your fingertips
Gone are the days when it was necessary to spend hours mapping out a spreadsheet to manage your personal finances and investments. Some of the most useful apps to automate your financial life are out there, many are free, while some require a subscription (but usually offer more services). Using a budgeting an app like Wally, you can take photos of your receipts and it will automatically track your spending to see where your money is going.
Automated Pro Tip: Acorns is a micro-investing app that automatically invests your spare change into a diversified portfolio of exchange traded funds (ETFs), enabling Australians to start investing early and often. The automated digital equivalent of a coin jar.
9. Meal kits automatically delivered
If you’re feeling extra time poor, you want to carefully manage your weight, or you just don’t love cooking consider signing up for a meal delivery service. You can choose between getting all your meals delivered, or just some, and it takes the stress out of trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle. There are heaps of services to choose from, so peek at a few menus and see what gets your taste buds tingling.
Automated Pro Tip: Once the regular deliveries are scheduled, you can sync these with your regular grocery deliveries and your shared Google calendar to ensure everyone in the household has what they need for breakfast/lunches and knows who’s turn it is to cook dinner.
10. Health and fitness trackers and planners
The Fitbit has been a popular choice you are probably familiar with that allows people to track their exercise goals and encourage them to be more active. Another highly used app is the food journal MyFitnessPal, which enables you to calculate your daily calorie, macronutrient, and exercise intake without the fuss of complicated manual equations. Nike+RunClub is a worldwide running club, you can compete with your friends and strangers from all over the globe, or simply track your own progress at your own pace.
Automated Pro Tip: Some of the newer health and fitness apps will automatically plan your meals and exercise routines a week ahead, allowing you to simply follow their lead. With daily notifications and reminders from apps like 8Fit and automatic meal planners like EatThisMuch, it will be easier than ever to keep fit and healthy.
Hopefully these 10 tips to automate your life will allow you to become a master of time management. And these are just the beginning. Try setting up two new automated systems every week and by the end of the month you’ll notice a marked improvement in your efficiency, leaving you more time for work, study, friends and family. With all the time saved and your improved finances and health, perhaps you it's time to move up the professional ladder. Why not upskill your qualifications by taking one of over 100 online courses on offer here at Upskilled?