How to put those annoying tasks on auto-pilot

Now I am not a nerd, well I kind of am, but nothing floats my boat more than automating all of the annoying tasks in life. Think bill paying, setting up meetings, keeping food and wine in the fridge and all of those other things that can slip through the cracks if you aren’t careful. You don’t want to pay unnecessary late fees on bills you forget to pay, let alone run out of cab sav, I talked a little bit last month about some systems you can set up to help your children manage both their belongings and themselves before and after school. And this month we will look at some cool tricks for setting up your personal life auto-pilot.

Bill paying

This is one of the easiest things to automate simply by using one of the systems that most companies offer to encourage us to pay our bills on time. You can set up regular direct debits for fortnightly payments, or arrange for the total amount be paid automatically on the due date. I have yet to find any of my providers that don’t offer this kind of service. While you’re there, switch to electronic bills and keep unnecessary paperwork out of your house too.

Finding times to meet that suit everyone

Do you hate trying to find a time to meet up that suits everyone? We can usually sort this out at work through online calendar functions, but what about working out a time for cocktails? Try a Doodle poll (doodle.com), a free website where you can quickly send out options to choose from and then pick the option that suits most people. And if you are already on Facebook messenger, there is an option in there as well. When in a group conversation, just click on the + icon and choose polls then customise to ask your question.

Ninja calendar habits

Being the master of your calendar can make a huge difference to your life with very little effort. As well as appointments and other commitments, you can also use your calendar to remind you when bills are due and to send reminders when you have to take action. For example, my calendar sends me a reminder three days before I meet with a client as a reminder for me to give them a quick phone call. Use your calendar to remind you of all the things that slip through the cracks – medication running out, the date monthly subscriptions renew (in case you want to cancel before you are charged for another month). You can even get a reminder a few weeks before a big yearly bill is due to arrive to avoid that ‘oh sh#t!’ moment.

Automating apps

There are all sorts of automating apps and platforms, some free and some paid, that you can use to fully automate some processes. I use an app that tracks all of my driving so I can spend 30 seconds at the end of the day designating private and business expenses. I have also played around with IFTTT (If this then that – ifttt.com) which allows you to pair actions across different software, such as automatically saving emails from gmail to evernote that meet certain conditions. A word of warning, these platforms can be fun but addictive (if you are anything like me). They can do some pretty amazing things, most of which may not be needed in your life right now, so if you use them be clear about the problem you are trying to address or say goodbye to Sunday afternoon.
A good place to start when automating your life admin is to either think about the tasks that cause you the most frustration, or the tasks that always sneak up on you. Getting a few areas streamlined and automated can make a difference to your daily life, and who doesn’t want to outsource some of that thinking?