This is the first in a three-part series on how to automate your day so that you have more time for the important things, stay at the top of your game, and remain relevant and marketable in your field.
Let’s start with wrangling your smartphone. If you’re like me, sometimes the smartphone can be more trouble than its worth, especially when the old Wi-Fi connection is spotty. However, as an Android user I recently discovered Tasker. Apps like Tasker essentially allow your phone to read your mind by using contexts to trigger tasks or setting changes. A context could be something as simple as the day of the week, a headset being plugged in, having a certain battery percentage, or entering a certain location. Once a context takes place, it triggers an action like turning off auto-sync, loading Pandora, or sending a text message to a certain person.
For the iPhone users, apparently the official Apple store is a bit behind the eight ball on automation features. iPhone users can jailbreak their devices to run a host of non-Apple apps similar to Tasker. Saurik's alternative app store, Cydia, is considered a main repository of these and must be downloaded to your jailbroken phone. And yes, allegedly all this is legal – at least for now.
In any case, each morning have a look at your Tasker or Jailbreak settings to get your phone running at maximum efficiency for that day’s activities. Next, there is the Holy Grail of automation that is the If This Then That, also known as IFTTT, app. IFTTT connects up to Google apps and others and allows them to talk to each other without your intervention. Basically, you create your own recipes so that if a particular trigger is present, and action is generated. One example of a recipe? “If I am endorsed on LinkedIn, publish a tweet on Twitter.”
Best of all, IFTTT works with over 50 online channels from Dropbox to the Weather Channel, rendering the automation implications incredible. Each morning, I look at my phone to see if rain is predicted via the Weather Channel and I’ve been sent a text telling me to bring my umbrella. Think of what your phone can tell you before you even leave the house! IFTTT is extremely powerful and can quite literally save you hours each day.
Once you arrive at the office, take a vow against spending too much time on social media and not enough time working. Fortunately, there are tools to help. Use Hootsuite or TweetDeck, to schedule social media posts, retweets, and anything else you want to publish or respond to that day. You don’t have to bother logging on multiple times to see if someone mentioned you either – these apps will tell you automatically so that you can respond appropriately in real time. Real-time too much for you? Try Twilert to alert you to any Twitter keywords you may want to track several times or just once a day for example, just like a Google Alert.
Has this been helpful? Check out Part 2 of the series on "how to automate your day in the afternoon" coming next week!