There's a pretty short list of things that I like doing: learning new tricks, reading, hanging out with friends, and making beautiful things. On top of that, I've been trying lately to actually follow through on everything I say I am going to do, a sort of five nines for my personal life, that's extraordinarily difficult to stay on top of. I work pretty hard to keep everything else out of the way. Here are a few of the tricks I use to avoid things that I don't want to do.
Depositing checks: I mail my checks directly to Ally Bank. Total time: about two minutes, plus the cost of a stamp. This is way cheaper than driving to a bank and waiting in line.
Finding my bank's ATM: I can go to any ATM and Ally Bank will reimburse me for the fees at the end of the month. This is especially handy in Vegas :).
Waiting on hold with customer service: The ideal solution is to use products that don't require customer service, but for those that do I use LucyPhone. Then I can hang up the call, and they'll dial me when someone's on the line. I use GetHuman to try and get to a human being as fast as possible.
Finding answers to my random questions: The StackExchange series of sites are wonderful. Most of the time my question already has an answer, but when it doesn't I can usually get one, as long as I take time to ask the question in a coherent way. Failing that, I use Quora, but my results there have been mixed.
Keeping my devices charged: I keep chargers everywhere - in the car, at work, at home, in my laptop bag. I never have to think about remembering to bring my charger, because I always have one. Same goes with monitor adapters and toiletries.
Finding new music: I have two really good friends that find good music and mooch off of them. I mostly download remixes from Youtube; they aren't listed in Spotify or iTunes or anywhere. If there was a good easy solution to buy I would consider it. When I'm out I use Shazam to get song names.
Focusing on the people around me, when I'm on the town: I have a $10 phone I got from Ebay, and another one in my drawer in case it breaks. You may recognize it - a lot of people tell me it was the first cell phone they ever had. I like it because I know how to use it, and it doesn't come loaded with a whole bunch of Verizon junk. I buy minutes from Page Plus; I get 1,000 minutes for $50 and this lasts me about three months.
I also have an iPod Touch that I use as a smartphone when I'm on a wireless network, which practically speaking is every place that's not a bar or a club.
Figuring out what I'm going to do on the weekend: My friends are great planners, so I usually go out with them. I'm lucky too that I have different groups of friends from middle school, high school, college and work, so I can choose what I'm going to do on a given night.
Commuting: My commute is 25 minutes door-to-door, which is about as short as it's going to get on public transit in SF. Driving in the city is extraordinarily stressful, so I don't do it. The public transit is generally great.
Finding information when I'm out, making restaurant reservations, other assorted tasks: I call Visa Concierge for things that are synchronous, like finding nearby restaurants, movie times or bus routes. I use Timesvr to automate some of the tedious things that have to get done.
Doing laundry: I don't really have a good solution for this yet, but I'd gladly pay to avoid having to drag clothes to a laundromat. I keep about a month's worth of underwear, undershirts and socks.
Buying clothes: As a rule of thumb, I don't.
Window management, and other repetitive computer tasks: I gladly pay for software and hardware that saves me time. Examples: Divvy, Witch, Skitch, TextExpander, 1Password, external monitors, and Peepcode tutorials.
A lot of this stuff is somewhat expensive; I'm lucky I have a job where I can afford to offload a lot of this stuff.
I would pay even more if good solutions existed for other problems in my life. I need to find a new dentist, and someone to get my eyes checked, but don't want to spend time finding someone good. I'd also like someone to manage some finance, healthcare, and server administration things - submit expense reports, transfer money between bank accounts according to certain rules, move all my domains to the same host and domain registrar, but it's hard finding someone I trust to do that at a reasonable price.
Liked what you read? I am available for hire.