Why You Need to Re-Think Automation
I talk a lot about automation and automating things. It’s part of “streamline your business,” a core principle of Adriel Wiggins Author Services and Consulting. But WHY do I harp on automation so much?
When I was at my lowest low (and even quite a few lows before I got there), I found myself frequently saying, “I just don’t want to think about it. I don’t want to do it. I don’t care. I have no energy to accomplish anything.” And other similar statements. Everything ground to a halt. My marriage, my parenting, my career, my business, my education, my self-improvement…everything. I couldn’t be bothered. And things suffered when I was no longer working on them.
But when I crawled out of the hole and started analyzing how to structure my life so that I would never get that low again, I realized that I needed to set as many things on automation as I possibly could. And I truly mean as many things as possible. I realized that if everyone and everything could be still running smoothly while I was taking a mental break, then it wasn’t going to be so much work to recover from them when I came back from the break.
So, what DID I automate?
- All of our vitamins, minerals, supplements, and my Spark (my version of coffee) are automatically shipped to me every month from AdvoCare. To be honest, this is one of those MLMs that I built up a team so that I could have the biggest discount possible, and now I no longer work the business, but do enjoy my big discount. But having the ingredients that help me stay healthy and save automatically arriving? Priceless.
- All of our personal care products are automatically shipped to us. This is a mix of Arbonne and Young Living (yes, more of those MLMs I don’t work any more) and Amazon. But I truly love not having to run out to Walmart every time my daughter starts her period because she forgot to tell me she was out of pads. ::insert all of the eye rolls here::
- All of our house cleaners, laundry detergents, dish soap, etc are automatically shipped to me on whichever schedule is correct for their normal usage. These come from a mix of places, depending on the product, but many of them come from Amazon’s subscribe and save.
- We have a robot vacuum that is programable so that we can set it to a regular schedule. We just have to make sure the window blind cords aren’t hanging down, and I’ve got an alarm to remind me of that. To be fair, we did have to intentionally set up our house so that there were no exposed cords, and that all furniture had a high enough clearance and such so that it can run without the typical problems. Kids leaving socks lying around is the biggest problem with this automation. We hope to get a robot lawn mower in the future as well. Now if only we had a Rosie to dust for us.
- All of our pet supplies are automatically shipped to us. This one was a bit harder to set up, and I had to hunt around for somewhere that would autoship exactly what I wanted, but I finally landed on Chewy.
- We have a discounted repeat service contract with our pest control guys so that they come out quarterly with just a quick email reminder that they’re coming, and we renew the contract every 24 months, with an email and a phone call reminding us to renew it. I also have a cabinet with a set of ant traps, mosquito dunks, etc to use in emergency infestations. Maybe, someday if we’re fancy and can afford a lawn care service, we’ll set this up with them as well.
- I use alarms. Enough that my husband likes to laugh at the sheer number of alarms in my phone. But they help me remember routine things like, “It’s time to take your afternoon medicine!” and “Pick up the house so that the vacuum can run today.” and “Take out trash tonight.” and “Turn off kids’ alarm clocks for the weekend.” accompanied by “Turn on kids’ alarm clocks for the school week.” You get the picture. If it needs to be done regularly (daily or weekly or some combination in between) then it’s a phone alarm.
- I have recurring events in my calendar. Everything from what the monthly/quarterly/yearly house chores for the week are to monthly household budget meeting. If it needs to be done monthly, quarterly, or yearly, then it’s a recurring calendar event.
- I’ve trained everyone that lives in my house how to menu plan, how to shop (ok, they don’t have to do that one much any more since I do grocery pickup), how to cook, and how to clean up. So if have a bad day, they can handle dinner. If I’m traveling, my husband and the kids can “fend” for themselves with food already in the cabinets and fridge.
- Everyone in my house has a daily/weekly chore rotation that they may need to be reminded to actually DO, but they at least know where they are on the rotation and how to do it.
- I have many, many, many automatic filters on my email. All newsletter/subscriptions/store announcement type emails automatically get marked as ready and shunted into the proper folder/tag. When I NEED a discount, I can easily search for it. But I don’t SEE that I get hundreds of new emails every day because many of them are automatically marked “read.” Zero Inbox is a Big Deal to me.
These are just some of the ways I automated my household so that I don’t have to be wife/mom/house keeper 100% of the time. The more things as I can off-load from my brain, the better. I’ve also set up many similar automations in my business.
So how does all of this help you get from Good to Great? Because everyone one of these thousand tiny decisions that need to be made every day take up brain space and energy. And every time you open that email, read it, decided you’ll deal with it later, and then close it without responding again is another minute that you’ve wasted energy and time on something without actually moving forward. If I only have so many spoons, then I want to waste as few of them as possible. So I’m not going to waste them making decisions (or following through on them) when I already made that decision once.
You may have figured out I really hate shopping. Like, really, really hate it. Most of my girlfriends despair. Why spend the time and energy going to the store, wandering around because they moved everything since last week when you were here, looking for that one brand that you love but they seem to only stock one of at a time, and then realize that they’ve raised the price and you can probably get it cheaper online directly from the manufacturer…when you could have just ordered it directly from the manufacturer online in the first place? I feel the same way about grocery, softlines, hardlines…every type of shopping. Even if you LOVE shopping, however, do you really want to make that special emergency trip for toothpaste at bedtime because you forgot it earlier in the day? Nope. You don’t. So I removed as many of the frustrating aspects of shopping as I could. The physically going there, the time lost searching, the frequency of the trips, the knowing that a huge portion of my money is going to the store instead of the maker, etc.
For me, automating a very large majority of my shopping, and minimizing the stress of the rest (Seriously, Grocery Pick-Up is the best idea ever), meant that there was a lot less mental load I was carrying around. And less mental load being carried means that less falls apart when I am battling depression, and I can recover more quickly because I don’t have to slog through so much to get out.
Even if you don’t automate everything in your business, consider what you could automate in other areas of your life to achieve greatness with less emotional energy.
Owner, Adriel Wiggins Author Services and Consulting
Hello! I’m Adriel Wiggins, wife, mother of three, bibliophile, art geek, and all around student. I’ve been on a quest all of my life to learn as much as I possibly can about everything I possibly can. This has helped me tremendously in what eventually became my life’s purpose: to help other people become the best version of themselves. It is in that line that I became an assistant.
Strategize for Success. Streamline your Business. Succeed with your Goals.