It seems like our home lives are just getting busier and busier. As we live in a hyper-connected, 24-hour society, so the expectations we have increase and with busy jobs and home lives, it’s no wonder we can begin to feel a bit squeezed. The good news is that incorporating the latest tech into our personal admin tasks can help us to claim back some of the precious time and create a little breathing space by streamlining our worlds. Here are some must-set-up systems that will help you to free up some headspace
Use the power of the cloud
If you haven’t already started using cloud computing in your personal life, where have you been? Storage, transfer and every other aspect of dealing with documents and other life admin can be simplified by switching to one system. Google Docs, Calendar and Tasks will seamlessly digitally corral all your to-dos in one place, or Microsoft has a rival system in 365, which features OneDrive storage and handy access to a tabbed digital notebook in OneNote that could transform your task lists. Similarly, you can store pictures and documents digitally in a free Dropbox account and access them on any device. It may seem simple, but you’d be surprised how much time you can save by keeping your admin to one, universally accessible system.
Get a smart task list.
Leverage the power of our always-connected smartphone driven lives to make your admin processes seamless. You can now access apps such as 24Me and TaskAware that combine what you need to do with GPS integration. Need to pick up some dry cleaning? These apps can recognize when you’re near the dry cleaners and remind you to stop in. It can even generate a map of all the locations you need to visit and provide directions to your sat-nav system. Other apps can be used to place recurring orders with online retailers, so whether you need to re-order printer cartridges or get the weekly grocery shop done, set up a simple calendar appointment and your orders will be placed for you by one of these virtual personal assistants. If you need some extra motivation, there are other apps out there that reward you for recurring behaviors, like Streak, or ones that gamify your list meaning you can level up as you complete tasks. A perfect way to motivate yourself or your kids to do some chores!
Getting sucked into the endless vortex of social media can be a massive drain on our free time, but we also don’t want to miss out on what’s happening with family and friends. So look at using a social media aggregation tool to control and centralize all the different channels for you. Programmes like Hootsuite log into your Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare and LinkedIn accounts, plus others. This lets you see one dashboard of content and also schedule and combine posting updates of your own.
Ditch the paper
Even in this age of modern technology, how many of us are still weighed down by paper bills and statements? These documents clog up our homes, and need filing or shredding en masse once opened. So if you haven’t already, take a load off by going paper-free for bank statements and bills. This means that you can securely access electronic paperwork as and when you need it, either through a provider website or even by downloading PDF copies to your cloud storage system (there may also be the option to auto-download). Not only does this make you kinder to the planet and cut out a lot of time spent processing mail but it also makes you less vulnerable to opportunist identity fraud with no paper documents lying around. And if you haven’t set up the auto-pay option on these bills, what are you waiting for?
Make modern RSS your best friend.
There are so many streams of news that we try to keep up with online – updates from news sites, interest-specific feeds – and the process of checking them all can be a significant time-drain. So, similar to using an aggregator for social media, that old favorite an RSS feed can help you to stay on top of things. Most smartphones now feature a customisable RSS page, and you can also set up your tablet or laptop to pull news from different sources. With the benefits of machine learning, over time a product like Google Reader will understand more about your personal preferences and tailor your newsfeed even further. Having this on your phone means it’s easy to catch up whenever you have a spare five minutes in your day. Make the news fit around you, and you’ll find it’s much easier to stay connected.