Automating the Basic Things

We all have lists of big things we want to accomplish in life—projects, trips, ongoing hobbies—that we often forget about the basic things. You can remember details within your domain of expertise but you can’t remember to pick up milk. A trusted system helps to not forget but, out of the box, it doesn’t always help to remember.

Automate the basic things in your daily life. By doing this, you free up some attention to focus on something that matters more.

Automate paying bills and transferring money to your savings account. Use Amazon subscriptions to deliver household items you often need. Make use of recurring, scheduled tasks in OmniFocus. Form habits around doing these things so it becomes automatic that you do laundry on Thursday and pick up groceries on Mondays. Use Due for iPhone to nudge you to do things you want to become habitual.

Be OK with running some things on auto-pilot. You might be a bit obsessive, like me, and want to do everything with our fullest attention. The truth is you can’t, and no one at the grocery store cares if you’re on cruise control through the aisles.1 By automating these menial things, you keep more attention in reserve for the things that matter.

Create structures so you not only won’t forget, because it’s in your system, but you remember to do it because it’s just a thing you always do.

  1. As long as you remember to keep moving and get out of the way.↩︎