Most repetitive tasks are energy sucks. Opening the same web pages every day, clicking our way around the cybersphere, answering the same questions to our customers, all of these tasks are relatively low-value and cumulatively add up to a large chunk of our lives. The 80/20 rule tells us that 20% of the things we do provide 80% of the value to our lives and 80% of the things we do provide 20% of the value to our lives. In an effort to reduce the lower 80%, or at least to raise the value-level up a notch, I’ve been going through a phase of life-automation.
I’ve been teased that what took me a couple of hours to automate could have been completed in 2 minutes. While this is true, if I cut that 2 minute task down to 5 seconds, I’ll have my time back after 63 repetitions (60 repetitions to earn my 120 minutes back, plus 3 repetitions to include the 5 seconds it now takes each time). And shortly after, I’ll be hours ahead of you. Plus, if I contribute my enlightened hacks to the world, I’m a bodhisattva. So there!
And through automation, I’ve been able to cut 15 to 20 minute tasks down to 60 seconds. It’s safe to say that I’ve caught the automation bug. I find myself noticing the tasks I do everyday and asking myself how can I automate this or at least reduce the steps to completion.
Another benefit to automation is creating a frictionless environment in which to be productive. For example, I’ve always wanted to keep a journal. But the way I chunked the process of keeping a journal was a major de-motivator for me. If I was going to keep a journal, I had to look at the time it would require and figure out what I was going to give up. 15 minutes to an hour a day is a serious commitment. What did I do? I scripted a journal with built in reminders. Now I don’t have to think about it. My journal just runs in the background.
I’ve already posted a few of my automated lifehacks and I wanted to create a space for sharing even more. That’s why I’m pulling all past and future ILP automations into a series on this blog. I hope this is a useful contribution to your life.
Fair warning: these will primarily be technological hacks for the Mac. Just another reason to switch and support the argument that buying a Mac is cheaper than a PC in the long run because it can save you so much time.
Nice! Yet another reason for me to get a Mac this year.
Graham English says
The Mac is totally 2nd tier. 🙂
Along this vein, I cannot suggest enough William S. Burroughs essay “The Discipline of DE.” It appears in his collection Exterminator as well as Word Virus. He fleshes out so many of the ideas in this post with genius and wit.
Cool post. Your math made me laugh out loud.
I suppose automation is an intelligent way to save time.
I guess the danger would be in going on autopilot while everything else becomes automatic.
If a person can stay awake and embodied while some of our life tasks become automated, we are simply living more efficiently and effectively.
If on the other hand, our automatic life tasks simply allow us to fall asleep and become absent, well then …
Graham English says
Hey Aaron, I fixed your URL because you typed a comma instead of a period after www. 🙂
To me, being mindful during automation and being mindful during tasking isn’t any harder or easier. The challenge is always to remain awake. This is why I even try to automate my mindfulness.
I think the greatest benefits to automation are saving time–so you can spend more time on higher value practices–and creating a frictionless environment to serve your life’s purpose.
Thanks for your comment.