Thursday, December 17, 2009

Life on Autopilot

If you think about it, there's a big difference between the cruise control we have in our cars and the autopilot installed in commercial jets. With autopilot, you set your destination and then make sure nothing stupid happens -- autopilot does a lot more than cruise control.

Because we're lazy, or crazy, or both, we don't take the time and effort to set up autopilot in certain areas of our lives, even though it is in our best interest to do so. Let's look at a few examples.

A few years ago, I was reading David Bach's Automatic Millionaire while waiting for lunch at a restaurant. The waiter mentioned that his manager had just given him paperwork to enter the company savings program which offered a partial match for money put into a savings program. His thought was "it's just a college job -- it isn't important." Even without an employer contribution, automated savings is something you should take the time to do. With an employer contribution, it's a no-brainer. Even so, people don't do it. If you're one of them, read Bach's book or George Clason's The Richest Man in Baylon.

Another area you should put on automatic is energy conservation. This may mean buying a programmable thermostat or motion detectors for stairway lights, but the savings can be substantial. You don't actually want that stairway light on for hours, do you? Energy efficient lights are a good idea too, but short of generating your own solar energy zero is as good as electricity usage gets and a one time investment will put this part of your life on autopilot.

Finally, look into how you can automate things on your computer. Write rules to thin out your email inbox, creating tasks you can address at your convenience. If you can, look into automatic fill processes for websites requiring passwords. Look into templates and form letters to automate your email responses to routine messages. A few minutes or dollars spent to automate things on your computer can free up huge amounts of time.

Look for chances to put parts of your life on automatic pilot, then do it. You'll thank yourself later. You might even thank me.

No comments:

Post a Comment