The scene: Mister and I are watching a movie. Over the course of 15 minutes…
“We need to leave by 8:30 or 9:00 on Saturday.”
“Lady A knows all of her numbers, except she flips 9 and 6 sometimes.”
“The pharmacy said our insurance covers Frodo’s skin cream but they don’t stock it, so I hope this sample gets us through Monday.”
“I’m going to get you some meals together for the trip so you don’t get glutened.”
Finally, I get a pulse from Mister. “You just had like 10 thoughts pop into your head, from all over the place.”
I suppose I wasn’t really watching the movie. As far as I’m concerned, Firefly is about space cowboys minus the cows.
“Sorry,” I reply. “My browser has a lot of tabs open right now.”
And by right now, I mean constantly.
I think when we’re trying to take back our attention, we focus on either the things we can’t really change, like the fact that the baby needs to eat, or the big things, like cutting out activities.
I’m in the middle of a little experiment that challenges this. Instead of trying to open up time by skipping a playgroup that refreshes us all, my new Project is automating. My goal is to get all of the annoying, repetitive little things off of my radar. I want to get rid of those browser tabs that are kind of hanging around in the background, bogging down my system while I’m doing the day-to-day.
And I want to obliterate that nagging feeling that I’m forgetting something.
I started with bills.
Between mortgage, 5 or so utilities, car, student loans split between multiple servicers (whyyyyy?), activity dues and other things that pop up periodically, that’s a lot to keep straight. Just the category of driving alone involves the car payment, car insurance payment, registration, and driver’s license renewal, and all happen at different times.
Now, I know that these things aren’t going to go completely off of my mind, and that’s not my plan here. All I want is to eliminate the need to remember them, and consolidate the time I spend on bills.
At first, I had most of my bills on auto-draft so I wouldn’t have to even touch them. I changed my mind about auto-draft, because, lets put it this way: computer systems sometimes have glitches. Like that time the bank took out our mortgage twice in one day.
So no more of that, unless the bill is small enough that we can still, you know, eat in the event of an error.
But no aut0-draft doesn’t mean I can’t automate my bills another way. Instead, I’m now using the Bill Minder app (not an affiliate link!) and I spend about 5 minutes twice a month paying bills. I like it because you can set the amount, frequency, etc., and it generates spending reports.
There are other apps like Bill Minder, but that’s what I’m using for now because it suits our purposes. There are others that link bank accounts and generate much more detailed reports, if you would want to integrate your budgeting. As for me, I don’t like 3rd parties digging around in my bank accounts.
Now, when bills come in the mail, I can usually toss them right into the trash along with the candle catalogs and whatever other junk comes with them.
Check back with me – I’m planning to automate my mornings, meal planning, maintenance things, and even cleaning.
Oh, to automate cleaning. If only.
Remember, my goal is to take my memory and attention out of the equation. I’ll still have to do the cleaning – I just won’t have to remember to do it.
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