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13.10.17 / A year living social trends: October – Week 1 of automating my life

I’m at the end of the first week of letting ‘robots’ making my daily choices. The perfect moment to share my first experiences with you!

To be honest, Day 1 involved a lot of downloading and understanding how these services work. Less optimal for my mobile storage, but an interesting lesson in finding out a bit more about yourself. First was setting up my accounts and identifying preferences to get the algorithm started. Everything from my fitness goals on the Nike Training Club app, to what diet I’m following to generate daily recipes on Eat This Much. I’ve also looked at how to automate the little tasks or habits in life that I tend to avoid, forget, waste time on, or I can be too lazy to do… Great news – I’ve got a computer to do them for me!

Two services that stood out in making my life a little easier this week: Swiftkey and IFTTT.

I’ve been really impressed at how quickly Swiftkey learned the way I use different languages (I’m German – or Bavarian if you really want to get it right!) or move my fingers across the keyboard. Have a look at the image on the right to see how the computer has changed my Tap Map. Basically, it’s adjusted the keyboard to my own use of it. Amazing.

According to my personal Swiftkey stats I am (already) 12% more productive – awesome!

I needed 1,268 taps less on the keyboard and (let’s hope the bosses aren’t reading…!) the automated keyboard corrected 1,096 of my typos. Swiftkey also predicted 27 of my next words. But I reckon this number will go up significantly the more accustomed I become to it.

An extremely useful feature is that – depending on who I message in WhatsApp – I don’t have to switch between English and German keyboards anymore.

However, I actually expected the computer to learn about my use of slang and abbreviations much faster. This is where the auto-correction takes over, distorting my meaning and resulting in some very funny, but not very coherent messages… My favourite auto-correction by far occurred when my flatmate oversalted our dinner and I messaged my friend about it: “Heute gab’s Megapixel salzige Suppe” – today we had megapixel salty soup (rather than really, which is mega in German) salty soup.

The other one I absolutely recommend trying is: IFTTT. For those who haven’t heard about it, IFTTT basically allows you to connect any two services or apps with an IF … THEN connection.

Let’s say it’s raining in my location tomorrow… IF the Weather App predicts rain tomorrow, THEN send me a notification on my mobile to “take my umbrella with me”. Very useful for all those who live here in London!!

Or, let’s say I am a person who is quite likely to forget to save down email attachments. Easy one to fix: IF someone sends me a Gmail with attachment, THEN save it onto my GDrive. 39 documents have already been prevented from getting lost in the past 7 days!

And my all-time favourite travel hacks:

  • IF I am at the airport (map), THEN send a message to my mum with my flight details (Gmail) – and she never has to worry anymore whether I have landed safely or not.
  • IF I arrive in Krakow (map), THEN send myself a map of the city area (Gmail) – worked perfectly when I was there last weekend and saved us a lot of time in finding the right bar for Friday night 😉
  • IF my friend James tags me on Instagram, THEN save the picture (GDrive) – helpful one to ask him to remove it and save the world from my less appealing party pics.
  • IF I add an image to the “receipt” folder, THEN save it onto my GDrive – sorry OneFifty, I’ll never forget those business trips expenses again…

Here’s an example of how simple it is to set up:

 

As I said in the beginning, learning a bit more about your life before automating it was a very interesting process and – let’s face it – we all have those little tasks or things in life that we are likely to forget, waste time on or simply too lazy for, but what do we really do about them? After just one week I found that automation had a huge impact. I highly recommend trying it out!

My big focus for week 2 will be food and sport. Let me know any suggestions!

 

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