Between work, play, and home, your life can get a little cluttered. Though some are in the camp that gadgets cause us more stress than we need, tech can actually help simplify and streamline our lives, even — dare we say it — make it a little more fun. Check out these 11 tips on how tech can help you breathe a little easier every day.
- Set up autopay for your bills — Writing checks seems so outdated these days, especially when a majority of creditors and even landlords have an autopay option. By setting up your bills to automatically withdraw from your checking account, you save cash on stamps and envelopes and could even save a few trees in the process. Plus, you'll never be late on a credit card payment again!
- Stop getting paper bills — In addition to setting up autopay, you should cancel your paper bills in favor of an electronic version if possible. This will cut down on mail clutter, and you'll have a digital copy of your monthly statement whenever you need it.
- Use a social media aggregator — I like to use Hootsuite for my Twitter and Facebook needs, but you can also sync Hootsuite to see your LinkedIn, Wordpress, Foursquare, Ping, and Mixi accounts all in one place. No more jumping around to different social media accounts!
- Try Spotify premium — Seriously, who has time to sync, drag, and drop files anymore in this day of fast moving tech? By paying just $10 a month, music fanatics can listen to all the music they want (whether they own it or not) on their computers, mobile devices (via an app), or even offline when they're out of reach. It's one of our favorite things.
- Use an RSS reader — There are plenty of good reasons to use an RSS reader (like Google Reader), but the main one is that it saves you time. By subscribing to the RSS feeds of your favorite websites, you no longer have to jump around from site to site to get the latest news. The news comes to you! Plus, you can get access from the web at home or on your smartphone to catch up while you're waiting for the bus or sweating it on the bike at the gym.
See the rest of our tips after the break.
- Start computing in the cloud — By using Google Docs, Calendar, and Tasks, you can get all of your important documents and events from anywhere, anytime, without having to mail yourself files. Alternatively, DropBox allows you to securely store documents in the cloud and access from the web or any computer that has DropBox installed on it.
- Use one device — Instead of carrying around an MP3 player, a camera, and your cell, just spring for a smartphone with a good camera (5-8 megapixels, please!) and music storage abilities. That way, you can cut down on your bags' weight, and have everything you need in one device (including calendar syncing abilities, apps, and maps). There are plenty of options out there now that fit these requirements, like the iPhone 4, Infuse 4G, and the BlackBerry Bold 9900.
- Make tasks fun — Whittling down your to-do list isn't always the most enjoyable, but you can at least make a game out of it with Epic Win ($3). This app turns your tasks into a rewards-based game where you can level up after completing items on your list. This could be awesome for iPhone-wielding kids, too.
- Upload your pics in one place — If you're a Facebook addict, there's really no need to upload your pics to Flickr or Photobucket as well, right? Consider uploading your images to the one social network you use most to cut down on upload time. Alternatively, if you're a Mac addict, you can upload all your pics to iPhoto and share images with multiple networks at the same time.
- Use multiple monitors — Increase your desktop real estate by adding a second monitor to your work station. You can see more information and complete tasks faster, since you won't be clicking back and forth between windows and apps.
- Never forget a chore again — If you've told yourself a million times that you'd stop by the post office to get stamps on the way home from work, but never remember, then TaskAware (Free, $5) is for you. This app lets you upload tasks and locations ("Pick up dry cleaning at your favorite cleaners, for example), then uses GPS to alert you when you're close to the cleaners, so you don't forget to stop. You can organize tasks by priority and location, and it can even give you an overview map of all the tasks you need to complete for the day so you know where to go.