J. R. Swab

How To Increase Life Efficiency Through Automation

Repetitive tasks are tedious, mind-numbing, and mostly a waste of our precious time. We only do them because they need to be done, but we can automate almost all of these brainless routines. With automation, we give back to ourselves the time we would have wasted yet again on whatever needs doing again and again.

Automate Computer Task

For me, automating computer tasks is worth every second spent writing a script. Short scripts to launch programs with arguments I never remember to multi-line scripts to automate server setup and customization.

Doing this has an upfront time cost but allows for an infinite time gained when running a task countless times. We can even take this to the next level by having the computer run the scripts we created at startup or at a specific time on specific days (CRON).

Programming is fun for me, the challenge of figuring out how to get the computer to do something is a dopamine rush keep me coming back for more.

It's my drug of choice

Since I love solving computer-based problems and automating tedious tasks, the next logical step was to bring this love into the workplace. In the office, I am forced to use a Chromebook, so there is no way to create CRON jobs or run some Go code. Instead, there are Chrome extensions which can interact with web pages to achieve the desired result.

Lucky for me, all the work that needs to be done each day is completed through an internal website allowing any extension created to manipulate the data present.

So I wrote a simple extension to do the boring stuff.

The thinking part is still all on me, but the repetitive clicking, copying, and pasting are now all done by the computer. Freeing up my time to focus on the task at hand. Also, now that the whole team uses my creation, I can further improve the usefulness by listening to what pain point my coworkers' experience. Decreasing the total time spent by my team per task.

Automate Daily Life

Not a programmer? No problem!

There are many ways you can automate your life outside of making computer scripts. An easy one is to automate our finances. After reading the book I Will Teach You To Be Rich by Ramit Sethi; this is a new goal for me (and in turn my wife lol).

The idea behind automating your money is to give you back control without feeling restricted. In the book, Ramit talks about percentages of our income and what they need to be set aside for, such as saving, investing, and having fun.

Once we figure out the dollar amounts for each of these groups, then he says to have the money go to each account automatically. This way we don't even have to think about it let alone have time to spend the money needed for critical stuff.

If payday is every Friday, make every Saturday at midnight the automation date of your money. Any bank with an online management option (basically every bank) will have a section to set up reoccurring payments.

For everything, other than the percentage of spending cash, set this up. By doing this, the leftover money is yours to spend on whatever you want. No need to feel guilty about buying those first two volumes of Dragon Ball for $7 on eBay because everything else has already been resolved.

As mentioned, I am in the process of doing this all now. Including looking into better saving accounts with higher interest rates and figuring out my own percentages, so I know how much to invest in an index fund, save, and spend. The goal is not to sprint but to set up systems that allow us to go the distance so when we look back at 70 or 80 years old, we don't regret our lack of discipline.

Systems always trump willpower.

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