Life's too short for all those chores - why not let tech handle all that so you can enjoy the finer things? Let us show you the way...
Do you still spend hours of your week tidying the house, sorting out your finances, or trudging around the supermarket? Life’s too short for that, and nowadays there’s no-one to blame but yourself. Why? Because you can now automate all of those mundane tasks at the touch of a few buttons…
Automate your morning
Cold, winter mornings can be tough for all of us, but connected tech can help soften the blow a bit. There’s nothing worse than waking up to a cold house, so it all starts with the Nest Thermostat – a clever little smart hub that monitors the outside temperature to get your house nice and warm for when you wake up.
Nest is compatible with a wide range of other connected home technology, too. Take the Withings Aura for example – a bedside light and alarm clock with light and sound programs scientifically designed to improve your sleep quality. Aura monitors your sleep, and will gently begin to wake you with artificial light when you’re in a light sleep phase near your alarm time, simultaneously telling Nest to bring the house up from sleeping to normal temperature.
If you really want a Wallace and Gromit-esque morning routine, grab yourself a smart coffee machine for the kitchen too. Something like the Smarter Coffee Maker will happily brew you a hot, caffeinated beverage right on cue. Now, where did you put your car keys?
Automate your health
Chances are, if you own an Android phone or an iPhone, you’re probably already doing this without even knowing. Apple Health and Google Fit both automatically track your movement and collect exercise data based on that information. But there’s so much more you can do to keep tabs on your health.
Now, we’ll concede that you still have to do all the exercising yourself – sorry about that. But there are loads of devices out there to help you keep track of your progress and motivate you to keep going. The Fitbit Aria for example, is a connected scale that will record not only your weight, but also your body fat percentage and BMI, sending all the data straight to your phone for safe keeping.
On the app side of things, Eat This Much is a superb app for those who want to put their diet on autopilot. Just tell the app your goals, what foods you like and what sort of budget you’re on, and Eat This Much (or Android users can try something like Pepperplate) will generate a meal plan for you around your busy schedule. Not bad!
Automate your shopping
Few things in the world instil dread like the post-work supermarket run. The checkout queues are snaking into the aisles. They’ve run out of your favourite seeded loaf. It’s raining, probably. Why not dodge all of that? Both LG and Samsung now offer connected fridges that can tell you when you’re running low on a certain item, and can automatically order you some more for delivery.
But if you don’t have a spare inheritance to spend on a new fridge, don’t fret: there are alternatives. For example, you can use Amazon Subscribe and Save to set up an automatic order for your standard issue household goods – toiletries, groceries, pet supplies and that sort of thing. That way, you’ll never be short of loo roll again.
Automate your chores
Still wasting time vacuuming your house? There are robots that’ll do that for you now (Roomba’s the pioneer of this field), and you can even set them on an automatic timer to whizz around the house when you’re out. As for everything else on the list? You’ll probably still have to do that yourself, but you can still keep tabs on your household cleaning from the safety of your smartphone.
There are plenty of effective to-do list-style apps out there, but sister apps Any.do and .Cal (for iOS and Android) seem the most efficient. Quickly put your tasks for today, tomorrow and the distant future into Any.do, and .Cal will automatically port them into your calendar, reminding you when they need doing. If it can wait, you can simply flick it into tomorrow’s list. Sadly, you’ll still have to do the actual work yourself. That is, unless you fancy ordering yourself a friendly cleaner through the Mopp app.
Automate your social life
Social media is home to many things, but one of them is certainly procrastination. Ever stopped for a second to wonder how many hours of your life you’ve wasted posting across Facebook, Twitter and the like? Well, now you can maintain your social presence with minimal time spent.
Buffer (for iOS and Android) is a simple app that lets you schedule posts to Facebook, Twitter and other channels, but combine it with the power of IFTTT (again, for iOS and Android) and it becomes something far better. IFTTT stands for If This Then That – a simple but powerful tool that lets you automate an action based on another action. For example, you could create a recipe in IFTTT that says ‘If I take a picture, automatically create a template social media post in Buffer.’ That way you can look at it before you post it to all your accounts, without having to go through all the hassle of posting your snap in each app.
And we’re not just talking social media here either. Apps like Status (iOS and Android) will automatically update others with your status based on your calendar and your day. Status will let your friends know automatically if you’re in a meeting, on the phone, or even if you have low battery. If you’re free with nothing to do, it can tell all your friends and see who’s around nearby. And if it’s 6pm and your GPS tracks you leaving your work, the app can automatically ping your other half to tell them you’re on your way home, without you ever having to pick up the phone. Neat.
Automate your journeys
With Google Now a fully-fledged part of Android now, many of us are just starting to see how useful it can be in everyday life. Tell Google Maps your work location and it’ll start to automatically alert you before you need to leave for work, taking into account any public transport delays along the way.
Even better, Google Now takes most of its information from your search history, so all you you have to do now is search something in Google. Search for information about your flight tomorrow, and Google Now will automatically let you know the details, and will even tell you if it’s delayed. Same goes for buses, road traffic, trains and more. It may seem a scary thing to put your travel in the hands of an automated system like Google Now, but it’s a godsend for the well-travelled.
Ready for a new generation of Android? Google’s next Nexus smartphone – the Nexus 6P – is now available! Find out more, right here.