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Is there a manual task in your life that you have automated which now saves you time?

blender profile image Saloni Goyal ・1 min read

What is a one time investment you have made that has proven to be useful to you time and again?

Something like automated payments, automated replies on days when you are on leave.

Things which we need to do but once ever or every quarter or year but has improved the quality of your life?

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Meharban Singh

I am a marker in my University and I have to mark 100+ assignments and store the result of each student as a sheet in an Excel workbook. Then I had to copy the comments (from multiple coloumns), calculate the score and then paste it and email to each student individually

I wrote a small program which reads the excel file, extracts the appropriate data, and automatically calculates the marks(for each question and the total) and then email it to the student. Now, all I have to do is prepare the sheet and run the script. All it takes is about 1 second to complete (except for emails, which continue in the background). This task took me more than 3 hours to do before.

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Saloni Goyal Author

Awesome Meharban, perfect use of automation. From three hours to 1 second, that right there is 10800x times more efficient!
The professor did good selecting you for the task. 😃

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Meharban Singh

Hehe thanks Saloni :)

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Erick Ruiz de Chavez

I like to think automation drives my life, from mundane tasks to more complex tasks on my job. To give you some examples:

  • All my home lights are automated with different schedules and react to different events during the day (sunrise, sunset, specific hours, presence).
  • The door we use more often is also automated to lock unlock itself based on our presence.
  • In this season, decorative lights are also automated.
  • My phone runs a task every day to enable/disable my alarm based on my work schedule/holidays/time off.
  • I wrote a GitHub/Slack integration for our team to save not just me but all of us time on assigning code reviews and notifying review state.
  • I have some scripts to link/unlink some folders based on what I am working on and have consistent file paths.
  • Also, I use heavily Keyboard Maestro, Alfred, Text Expander, and Hazel to automate different workflows, like opening different URLs based on environments, switching URLs from content to edit versions, trigger other automations, interact with web sites, move files or delete folders automatically, clean up screenshots from my desktop, etc.

Feel free to ask me if you are interested in more specific details.

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Saloni Goyal Author

Thanks for this list Erick.
All the lights are smart lights I am assuming right?

The Github/Slack integration is really useful. Someone in our team also did it and we rely on it extensively now.

I had to google all these tools XD Will give them a try too. Will probably get back here with a lot of questions post trying them.

But if you do had to pick one of these, or anything else that you have automated, what would you says saves you most time and energy? Asking since anyone else also who reads it might try out at least that one thing. ^^

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Erick Ruiz de Chavez

All the lights are smart lights I am assuming right?

Correct. I have a bunch of ZigBee and some Z-Wave IoT devices I have purchased over the years, and my home automation platform of choice is Hubitat. It runs 100% local with option to cloud access and it beats EVERY single other platform I have tested in the past in terms of speed and reliability ⭐️.

I had to google all these tools XD Will give them a try too. Will probably get back here with a lot of questions post trying them.

And I'll be more than happy to answer them if I happen to know the answers 👍🏻.

But if you do had to pick one of these, or anything else that you have automated, what would you says saves you most time and energy?

If I had to pick just one, it would probably be Alfred with its Power Pack 🤓. I use it A LOT on a daily basis to open different programs (or switch to them), run custom workflows, and even works as a very powerful clipboard manager; I have also used Alfred in the past for text expansion and it is also pretty good at it.

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olesteban

I've built a script to scrape the cinemas charts, and have a summary of the different movies by projection time.
It's great to see what's up there, and decide which movie you'll see.
Furthermore, the movies are filtered according to the time I leave the office and how long it takes me getting to the cinema.

Right now I'm not using it too much :-(

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Saloni Goyal Author

This makes leaving work sound all the more exciting XD
Which site do you get the charts from?

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olesteban

I try to use the specific website, ie, the one the cinema hosts itself. If that fails, ecartelera.com/cartelera/ is a good default (for Spain, that is).
I forgot, but getting a synopsis for each of the movies is also really good. Beyond the projection times, it really helps choosing what to see.
It's sooo not-really-nice, but I should polish it a bit and upload it to github. I'll put that into my head :-)

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Saloni Goyal Author

Yes I actually wanted to ask you if you could share it with the world for us to also learn. Please do upload! 😃

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Saloni Goyal Author

Also it is very cool that you wrote a script to automate a part of something you enjoy doing - watching movies. 🤩🤩
Putting those tech skills to the right use XD

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wayiam

Using google calendar to schedule my day has changed my life to the extent i can't even think of few months back also by using different analytics apps to I figure out where my time is actually going. now, I use my time more efficiently which is very satisfying on both personal and professional level.

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Saloni Goyal Author

What are the kinds of things you use the google calendar to schedule? Asking because I only use it for birthday reminders at this point.

Yes a tracking app for your time sounds good. Which one are you using?

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wayiam

Google calendar provides very clean UI for scheduling ,I plan all day in it. from waking up to going to bed.
Yourhour app is very good for analysing and to understand your time spent on phone in real time. i use that.

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Saloni Goyal Author

Thanks Saksham, I will also give it a try! ✅

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Muhammad Uzair

try smarter time app, i use it to keep track of my phone usage and usage of different apps, and activities like walking , driving etc.

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ssherlock

Trello has been pretty eye opening for me. I use it as a Kanban board for holding a list of jobs and have 3 columns (TO DO, In Progress and Done). It's such a simple thing but makes it so much easier to see and remember where you are up to, whether it be work, home or chores around the house.

I also make a lot of use of filters and rules on GMail for labelling emails for specific subjects.

And IFTTT has been used for quite a bit as well

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Saloni Goyal Author

Just looked up IFTTT, its the first time I am hearing of it. Such a cool technology.. Thanks so much for sharing.

I also like Trello and to-do lists. Having a checklist for the day really saves the cognitive load of having to remember all the things that you have to do.

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ssherlock

Thanks, and the joy of Trello is that it's not just jobs for the day but jobs in general that you may take ages on (personal programming projects etc). The app is also very good so it makes it a joy to use wherever you are.

IFTTT is amazing but the have just gone Pro so you can only create 3 free applets now, but can make use of many of the other pre-made ones from others. I've used it for all sorts but currently it flashes my Hue lights when my Ring doorbell goes.
One of the most useful work things I used it for was testing an SMS/text system at work. Said system only sent to UK mobiles and our testing team was off-shore so I created an applet to detect the text and email it to the off-shore guys (which was a lot cheaper than sending them a UK mobile, especially after the companies first attempt had resulted in a controlled explosion at Delhi airport!)...

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Saloni Goyal Author

okay wow that just escalated XD
That is the kind of story to tell your grandkids someday! 😃

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scroung720

Tinder Swipe

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Saloni Goyal Author

haha left or right? and s there a criteria?

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scroung720

all in I am all inclusive hahaha