Our everyday routine is full of repetition. Over time we naturally strive to optimize the way we are doing certain reccurring actions. Even with that natural optimization it is incredible how much you can further improve your quality of life if you consciously make an effert to look for additional improvement potentials.

During the last months I deliberately took note of daily tasks that seemed to be a wasteful use of time or sometimes even formed minor annoyances that I frequently dreaded. Sometimes really minor actions that due to their high frequency accumulated to noticeable hindrances.

Of course it is not possible to improve every task you dread but for me personally “If anything repeats often and takes too much time or inconveniences you try to change it.” is a really useful principle to life by. I love making my everyday life easier. It increases ease of mind noticably and in the long run even saves some time that I can use for things I like doing.

Convenience

  • Laptop power adapters
    Since years I do not own a Desktop PC. I always use a laptop as main PC. Most of the day I use the laptop at work and at home. The day I bought two additional power adapters immediately yielded great results. Since I have a power adapter at home, at the office, and in my backpack, I completely eliminated the need to constantly unpack and re-pack one single power adapter. I just leave the adapters at their designated location and I am good to go. Best of all is to never every worry again if I have packed my power adapter or not. I can remember several days in the past where I had to turn around mid-way on my commute to work to get the adapter or to run out of power during the day unexpectedly.
  • USB charging points with cables
    Same idea as with the Noteboook power adapter. Nowadays so many devices are charged through USB: smartphones, tablets, ebook readers, etc. I think it just makes sense to strategically place USB charging points throughout your living and working space.
  • Several tablets
    We are keeping a TV in the living room mainly for the kids to play video games. Not anyone in our family does watch TV regularly. Maybe once a quarter for a family movie night, but that is it. All our daily news, information, and entertainment we consume via Internet on smartphones, tablets or laptops. As such we have two tablets that are designated for a specific room. No need to carry devices around the house and re-connect cables constantly.
  • Chromecast devices
    We do not often use our video chromecast, as we seldomly use the TV itself. But our audio chromecasts are quite handy. We mostly use them to stream music from our tablets to higher quality speakers placed in severral rooms. Cables completely gone now.
  • Tablet/Phone holders
    Very convenient to have multiple spots to keep your digital devices. No more risk of them slipping or falling from places where digital devices do not belong, never lying around and forgetting where we put them.

Automation

  • Google Home
    With my last smartphone came a free Google Home device. We only have it since around one week and probably would not have bought one any time soon. But it is quite useful in the kitchen where it now resides permanently.
  • Remotely controlled power outlets
    You can get really cheap remotely controlled power outlets online. No need for an app or sophisticated devices that can be controlled remotely. I mostly use them for our many light sources. Makes it so easy to turn on / off our favorite ligth setups. Very convenient to only press one single button, e.g. when going to bed and just controlling all lights right from under the comfortable cushions.

Apps

There are many apps to handle information quicker and more securely – this helps me tremendously to optimize certain routines:

  • Taking notes and cataloging ideas (e.g. tasks, ideas, activities, recipes) – Laverna (Private), Evernote (Business)
  • Sharing content instantly accross devices (Smartphone, Tablet, PC) – Join App (Private)
  • Shared shopping lists – Listonic (Private)
  • Digitization of documents – Scanbot (Private, Business)
  • Cloud storage – Google Drive (Private, Business)
  • Password safe – Keepass (Private, Business)

Conclusion

Yes – I admit it – I am a huge tech geek. With electronical gadgets getting cheaper and better all the time it was never more affordable than now to venture into a digitally supported lifestyle. The most expensive item (tablet) is now well below EUR 150,- even with decent specs.

In total I defensively estimate to save at least half a work day each year by those optimizations. Depending on how much you value your time you get a return on your expenses within one year easily.