Automation

(Note: we are not affiliated with Google, Evernote or IFTTT and are not compensated by them in any way.   These are just simply services that I am grateful for as they help keep me from forgetting what I need to do each day.)

Mornings like this when my Google calendar notifications are telling me that both our cell phone and internet bills need to be paid, I am especially grateful for autopay from our bank as I know they will be paid without my doing a thing.   With the few exceptions of ones like electricity and water where the amount differs each month, we have almost all of our bills set to be paid automatically.   That helps a lot.

 

From automatic bill pay to appointment reminders, grocery check lists and so much more, automation helps us keep on top of things.
From automatic bill pay to appointment reminders, grocery check lists and so much more, automation helps us keep on top of things.

 

Google Calendar

Google calendar is a big help for automating things like doctor visit reminders or upcoming events.   When Jamey or I come home from an appointment, I go to Google calendar and put in the date of our next appointment and make sure it is on both of our calendars.   I use the notification feature to set up advance reminders for the appointments.   They come in on all of my electronic devices to make sure that the appointments or events don’t take us by surprise.  

 

Evernote

I would be lost without Evernote.   I have had a premium account since 2012 which gives me many benefits including allowing me to access it on as many devices as I chose. Evernote is my backup brain helping me keep track of both what I need to get done and what I have already done.

It is useful for far too many things to list but one of the features we use regularly is checklists.    I put our grocery list into an Evernote checklist that we can bring up on our mobile phones.   When we are at the store, whoever is monitoring our list for the shopping trip (usually Jamey) can just check off the items as we put them in our cart.   This lets us quickly see what we still have left to pick up.

The checklists also allowed me to keep track of things during our recent move to a wheelchair accessible apartment.

 

IFTTT

Another thing that is very important in helping to keep me organized is IFTTT  (which stand for “If this, then that”).  I use the applets to do everything from automatically set up my Daily Journal in Evernote to sending Google calendar notifications to my Evernote to working with Amazon’s Alexa to send lists to Evernote.

The list of services that IFTTT works with is growing steadily.   It is free to use and very reliable.    I have used it for several years and definitely recommend it.

 

Memory Deficits

Since “the old gray [matter] ain’t what it used to be many long years ago” (sung to the tune of “The Old Gray Mare”), I am very grateful for these and many other things that help to keep me functional.

 

How about you?

What are some of the things you use to help you keep track of things?  Do you prefer automation or pen/pencil and paper?

 

 

We are grateful for Amazon’s Alexa

Usually Jamey sets his clock alarm.   He fell asleep last night without doing so.  I was too tired to fuss with the alarm on my clock so I asked Amazon’s Alexa (housed in our Echo Dot) to set an alarm for 6 AM.

Why we are grateful for Amazon's Alexa (in our Echo Dot)
We’ve only had our Echo Dot with voice controlled Amazon’s Alexa for a few months but she has become what I miss most when our Internet goes out.
How We Use Alexa:

The ease of setting the morning alarm with a simple voice command is only one of many ways that we use Alexa.   We

  • set multiple cooking timers
  • get our local weather report
  • use skills such as Geek Humor (many of them are groaners and yet we keep asking for them …) and
  • Where’s My Phone – very handy when I misplace my cell phone
  • get an update on the Mars Curiosity Rover
  • have Alexa read Audible books and even quite a few of my Kindle e-books to me while I do other things.

 

Fun with Alexa - Easter Eggs & Queries

We both enjoy playing with Alexa’s easter eggs from time to time. Lists of them can easily be found online and she has multiple answers to most of them.  My favorite is to request “tea, Earl Grey, hot.”

Sometimes we simply enjoy testing her to see what kinds of queries she can handle.   At times she amazes and other times frustrates us.  Then there are the “what was that all about?” times when she responds even though we have not addressed her.

 

Our Most Important Use of Alexa

Alexa takes the place of a paid monthly “I’ve fallen and can’t get up” service for us as we have her set to call Jamey’s Alexa app if I tell her to “call Jamey.”  He knows that if I ever use that feature, it means I am in serious trouble and can’t reach my cell phone to call him directly.

 

My Early Birthday Present

I was going to treat myself to an Echo Dot for a birthday present this year but was able to pick one up with a discount a few months ago.  I am glad I didn’t wait until December as planned because Alexa is so useful / funny / frustrating that now when our internet goes out, it is access to her that I miss the most.

We are definitely grateful for our Amazon Alexa.  What about you?  Do you use Alexa?   If so, what do you think of her?