Jan 16, 2019
 in 
Life management

Automated recurrences made my life so much better

T

his story outlines how I discovered and automated various recurrent event reminders in my life to make it more productive, healthy and bright.

Problem

There is a lot of stuff in your life. And it's sucking your energy.

Decision Fatigue — In decision making and psychology, decision fatigue refers to the deteriorating quality of decisions made by an individual after a long session of decision making.
It is now understood as one of the causes of irrational trade-offs in decision making. Research has shown that we only have the capacity to make so many sound decisions in a day, because making decisions is exhausting.
Notably, major politicians and businessmen such as former United States President Barack Obama, Steve Jobs, and Mark Zuckerberg have been known to reduce their everyday clothing down to one or two outfits in order to limit the number of decisions they make in a day.

So recently I got this idea that it might be pretty cool if I compile a list of errands and actions that I periodically do in my life. Then, set up some system to be constantly reminded at the right time and date about my stuff. Now, I don't need to think about when I should do something and I also never forget that I have should done something. This ranges from boring assignments like cleaning out a refrigerator to performing something healthy like signing up for a massage, dentist or whatever.

How does it work

1. Come up with a list of actions which you perform or want to perform on a somewhat consistent basis;

2. Write that down into your task manager;

3. Setup an automated recurring timeframe for every task depending on your preferences (I have daily, weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, yearly and 2-3 yearly recurrences)

Congrats on making your life more organized now.

For example, this is how my agenda for today looks like:
For some of the recurrences, you can even see deadlines, like for the "sports" one and for the "remove dust in bedroom".

I also have 5 more recurrences here, but they aren't displaying the deadline because they are scheduled to be recurred every day no matter if the task was cleared before: my company management and sales routines, planning next day and practicing my English with an app.

What tool am I using as my task manager?

Things 3.

It's just beautiful. A nice alternative I used for a while before things: Any.do, especially if you're not on a MacOS/IOS ecosystem, since Things is exclusive to the Apple ecosystem. While Things is a pretty decent piece of a software, it's a bit lacking in advanced features, like doing some math with dates and numbers.

So to track my subscriptions I'm using Clickup. I use it very wildly and extensively for my business as a central virtual hub for everything — from CRM platform to marketing and financial tracking and planning. And now, I use it to track my subscriptions. I'm still setting this up and trying to remember to what else I an subscribed, but one interesting insight I want to share with you is that it might make sense to consider basically every purchase as something temporary aka a "subscription".

For example your phone. And pillow. Footwear, etc. Then, calculate the expected life of those goods. If, for example, you bought your phone in 2019 and you expect it to last you 3 years, get that data into the 2022 list. This way you can have kind of a visible financial plan for each year. It's handy and helps you to plan better. This strategy also helps me to indulge myself into buying fancy stuff when I really feel like it 😏

You know, there is one way of thinking when you buy a $2000 piece of tech at once, but when you expect it to last, let's say 3 years, then you pay only $1.80 a day for that, which makes it OK to be considered.

What recurrences do I have?

As I'm only a few months into this system I'm still setting it up/adding new stuff every month. So far, I've tracked the next chapters of my life with it:

Home management

  • from cleaning and maintaining specific stuff in our apartment, to restocking our "warehouse"

(just making sure that we have enough toilet paper, toothpaste, cleaning detergents, etc.)

Business management

  • routines like approaching leads, checking if everyone is happy, reviewing our strategy, website, long-term goals, etc.

Health management

  • activity every day, dentist check every 6 months, ordering contact lenses every 4 months, massage and haircut every month, etc.

Brains, productivity and self-reflection

  • studying, planning the next day, performing backups, learning new features from the software that I use, recording a summary video to myself in the future on every December 31, etc.

Unexpected bonuses

Our apartment became so much cleaner! Before, it might have taken a good half of the day to do kind of  "general" cleaning. Now, we might do one small thing every couple of days and because of this, our home stays super clean and we don't forget about very specific errands, like cleaning out that ventilation grid in the bathroom, or cleaning out behind the furnishings. I have more energy since now I don't have to keep tons of decisions about various errands in my head and it's a very nice feeling to check off each daily chore once it's completed.

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