One of the most fundamental ideas behind the “Internet of Things,” is that it’s possible – and desirable – to automate complex digital and technological networks and matrices, so as to remove a lot of the human involvement altogether, therefore leading to a situation where effort is saved and an overall “streamlining” effect occurs.
Of course, it’s generally pretty clear why this streamlining effect may be particularly beneficial in particular professional and industrial contexts, but it might seem as though trying to “streamline” things in this way, in your personal life, would be gratuitous or redundant.
All the same, the growing popularity of smart homes, wearable fitness trackers, integrated apps and digital services, and more, makes it pretty clear that there is a lot of interest in these sorts of largely autonomous systems, in everyday life.
Here are just a few of the benefits of streamlining more aspects of your life.
It allows you to think more carefully, strategically, and deeply about the things that actually require your attention
In life, as in business, there will always be certain things that you need to attend to which nonetheless don’t actually engage your higher reasoning and problem-solving faculties on any deep level. These sorts of tasks are often referred to as “busy work,” and people generally tend to resent having to deal with too much of this kind of “work.”
When you streamline more of the mundane elements of your everyday life that nonetheless need to be dealt with, you free yourself up to think more carefully, strategically, and deeply about the things that actually require your attention – and that you actually enjoy engaging with.
So, what exactly are those tasks that could benefit from more careful contemplation on your part? Well, the specifics will vary from individual to individual, but could well include things ranging from choosing the right Marquees for a special celebration of yours, to working on a novel, or trying to create something innovative in an entrepreneurial context.
The key thing is that it’s often very difficult – if not actually impossible – to really be as thoughtful about such things as would be ideal, when you are overly preoccupied with and stressed by “busy work” of various types.
It relieves your willpower fatigue
In the book, “The Willpower Instinct”, by Kelly McGonigal, the author looks at some striking evidence from the field of psychological research that shows “willpower” to be something of a finite resource that can be fatigued and depleted if it’s called into action too much and too often.
Automating more processes in your everyday life can simply remove a bit of the resistance that you would naturally have to face and overcome, otherwise. This, in turn, can then reduce willpower fatigue to a significant degree, meaning that you have more willpower “in reserve” to spend on the big and substantive things that actually warrant and demand it.
It’s worth keeping in mind that willpower fatigue doesn’t just occur when you are engaging in some superhuman effort of self-discipline. Even something as mundane and tedious as filling in spreadsheets that could be automatically populated, or fiddling with a variety of frustrating appliances around your home, can cause you to experience a substantial degree of willpower fatigue.
As your ability to mobilise willpower in the critical moments, and in the right doses, is essential for success in many areas of life – anything that can help you to leverage this vital resource may well be invaluable.
It allows you to focus more distinctly and intently on one thing at a time
According to the writer and academic Cal Newport, one of the major problems with the way that the professional landscape is structured today in the knowledge economy, is that it pushes people to engage in “shallow work” rather than “deep work.”
Newport expands on this subject in his highly acclaimed book “Deep Work,” where he argues compellingly that the increasing sophistication of AI systems and other technologies means that the best way of ensuring job security, among other things, is by doing the stuff that can’t be easily automated – and leaving the rest alone.
Specifically, Newport argues that the ability to focus on one thing at a time, intently, and for prolonged periods, is the key to accessing those realms of skilled work that can help to have a dramatically positive effect on your overall career, among other things.
Automating more of the processes in your everyday life that are susceptible to automation allows you to focus more distinctly and intently on one thing at a time, and to do that “deep work” that will help to hone your own skill set in whichever domain you’re working in, while simultaneously making you more effective.
If done right, it might serve as a powerful corrective to the overwhelming nature of the modern world
Many commentators have observed a strange paradox in the modern world: namely, that even though there is more prosperity, and more opportunity on offer than the likely ever has been before in the history, there is nonetheless an upwards trend in depression, anxiety, suicidality, and various other mental illnesses, that has progressed dramatically in recent years – and that puts us at odds with our parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents generations.
Some compelling research has suggested that the current nature of social media drives feelings of alienation and that this might be one factor. But it’s also been suggested that a lot of the malaise that afflicts people these days has to do with a sense of being generally overwhelmed by the quick-moving, dynamic, and always-on nature of contemporary society.
Perhaps almost paradoxically, utilising various digital technologies to streamline aspects of your everyday life might be a powerful corrective to the sense of overwhelm that so many people find themselves feeling on a routine basis.
Many tech savvy individuals find, for example, that they benefit from using tools such as Freedom web blocker, for prearranged and scheduled “productivity sessions”, among other things. But if you are looking at really saving time and getting peace of mind in your daily routines, the magic may come from the smart home, with the myiad of IoT-enabled devices already available to automate and secure your home environment.