What Hacks Reduce 'Friction' in Your Daily Life?

I've been on a home automation kick the past month and was wondering what other life hacks the OzBargain community has to reduce 'friction' in your daily life?

Now friction is probably a silly word to use, and will lead to a lot of replies about lube. Basically I'm just looking for little hacks you have in place to make your everyday life easier - and hopefully cheaper in the long run.

Do you stock up on Toilet Paper when it's on special, or do you subscribe so a new pack arrives every fortnight/month?
Is there a way you combine exercise with work/entertainment?

Anything that will help give me more time in the day or minimise decision fatigue.

Summary of the most useful and regular comments below:
• Electric Locks - Saves forgetting keys, giving access to family and friends.
• Robot Vacuum Cleaner - more suited to those without small children OR hiring a cleaner once a fortnight.
• Calendar Reminder to take bins out, especially if there is alternating Green waste and recycling weeks.
• Temptation Bundling – Pair an unpleasant activity (exercise, ironing) with a pleasant one (Netflix, audiobooks, etc).
• Apple/Google Pay so carrying a wallet is less important
• PriceHipster and OzBargain Subscriptions on monthly/quarterly consumables. Alternative is Amazon Subscribe and Save.
• Tile tracker for keys and wallet.
• Password Managers – BitWarden is free, paid for 1Pass or Dashlane
• Automatic top up and direct debits.
• Smart Lights and Plugs, pair with routines for Alexa or Google Assistant.
• Pyroletic Oven – No more oven cleaning (just oven dusting?)
• HelloFresh / Lite and Easy – Easier for those without kids

Comments

      •  

        Some of them are garbage so make sure you do your research before getting an electric lock. I've seen some where you can open the latch by putting a magnet on them. Often they have a physical key back up and some really cheap out on the mechanical lock so the security of the keypad is meaningless when someone could bump or rake the lock open faster than you could get your keys out.

        I do like the idea of not taking keys with me on a ride though.

      • +3 votes

        Lock picking lawyer has your back, granted he may not have many of the electronic locks sold here, it'll help when researching though.

        https://www.youtube.com/c/lockpickinglawyer

    • +2 votes

      Got an electric keypad lock 14 years ago. Bought it after my wife " lost" her house keys couple of times and we paid locksmith to open the door… and to find her key somewhere in the car or her purse later. Now it's just a code everybody in the family knows. And I can give it to visitors if they need to access the house when I am not there. Obviously I haven't called locksmith since then.

  • +12 votes

    For me, I learned the art of "not giving a f**k" with all the trouble around me sometime. You still are compassionate and kind to people but learn to push away those who doesn't build you and your life in general. Seems like a lonely life since almost everyone near you are just kind of like vultures but when you get those 'real' people, don't hesitate to befriend and keep in touch with them

    • +5 votes

      kind of weird calling others vultures when all you want around you are those that contribute to "you" - i kind of get the idea of sorting out your acquaintances though

      • +3 votes

        Don't get me wrong. What I meant is just be a giving person, dont expect anything back, otherwise it's called a business. You know, just those kind of people that comes to you when they need you and just ignore you when you need a bit of help or even just a normal convo, just dump them, they are just leeches. Naturally, you will start finding those ones that are a genuine givers like yourself

        • +1 vote

          I know that feeling. Plenty of people my age (in my 20s) forget you exist unless you go out of your way for them, but at that point they're not real friends so why bother.

    • +1 vote

      I’ve also done this with my life. If I contact a person a few times and they don’t reply, I stop trying. Most of the time I hear from them eventually and happy to keep the friendship going, but with less disappointment for me.

  • +28 votes

    We have a cleaner who comes once per fortnight. She is trustworthy, reliable and does a good job for $50 cash.
    Both my wife and I work, that spend of $25/week clears up half a day on the weekend to do what we want.

    • +4 votes

      I've been considering this, as we used to have a cleaner when I was young.

      It forced us to clean up before they arrived, so they could vacuum and dust and do the detailed work often people can't be bothered doing.

    • +2 votes

      Someone once told me that the best money you can spend, is money that removes monotony from your life. So a cleaner is a great idea, as is a robot vacuum cleaner. I thought robo vacs were a waste of money until a friend told me, "Don't think of it as spending $600 on a vacuum cleaner. Think of it as spending $600 to never have to vacuum again." I was instantly sold with that one statement.

      • +7 votes

        I find robot vacuums hopeless in a cluttered house with children mess all over the floor. Good for a loner adult (s) I guess.

        • +2 votes

          Agree with serpx3. But I would prefer to use one…. unfortunately the robovoc (Samsung) I've had for +3yrs has been used maybe less than 5 times total. Our issues (repeated often by mother & wife) =
          - it doesn't do as good a job as when doing it manually (corner/sides)
          - it takes too long to finish
          - it only does half the room before needing to recharge (then there are other rooms)…
          - gets stuck on carpet fringes
          So alas, wish it was timesaving but isn't the case for us.

          •  

            @khomeini: The above is why we dont have one much as I would like. Im hoping robot moppers improve because I find mopping much more of a pain to do than vaccuuming.

            •  

              @Allwentmarching: In saying the above… I loved our old Neato robovac in our old home. It did all the work for me and I'd only do the edges with a small hand held vac… All of 5 mins later, the house was in order. The Neato was pretty powerful as well.

              The biggest consideration is: house size and double/multi storie homes. If you're prepared to lug it up and let it do its thing, great. If the house is too large, stick to something manual unfortunately (or buy multiple vacs).

              I'm actually looking at giving away (for a small cost) our current vac to a friend as she has a smaller house where it'll work better.

              I think some of the vacuum models have a moping ability too now.

              We have floorboards everywhere and know the pain of moping … And vacuuming beforehand as the dust is so visible.

    •  

      I pay my cleaner twice that and it’s still worth it. Hard part is finding a good cleaner the agencies are all rubbish that I’ve dealt with.

  • +6 votes

    I'm hugely into home automation, so my life is incredibly frictionless. But the most simple thing that started me on that journey was to use your damn voice assistants!

    Siri or Google can help a lot. Here's some common, but super useful functions:

    • "Take me to work"
    • "Remind me when I get home to check the mailbox"
    • "Convert $20 US dollars to AU dollars"
    • "Remind me every Tuesday at 7am to take the rubbish bins out"
    • "What's the weather like tomorrow?" / "Should I take an umbrella?"
    • "Play my Discover Weekly playlist on Spotify"
    • "Set a timer for 30 minutes"
    • "Remember that the spare car keys are in the bedside table"
    • and lastly, "Tell me a joke"
    • +10 votes

      The rubbish bin reminder has been helpful since we moved house recently.

      I've also set a routine, so when I tell google "I'm leaving now", it broadcasts to the home speakers telling my wife I'm on the way home and roughly how long i'll be.

      • +82 votes

        You don't know me, but I appreciate that you do this.

        •  

          First time ever actually laughing out loud at an Ozbargain comment
          Thank you sir

        • +2 votes

          "I'm leaving now", it broadcasts to the home speakers telling my wife I'm on the way home and roughly how long i'll be.

          I thought it was meant to alert the plumber to get going now 👀👀

      • +1 vote

        Can it be set to do things like, "When i leave work, turn my phone off silent"?

        •  

          You can use Rules for that on Android; I have it so that my phone is set to Vibrate when it's connected to the work WiFi

        •  

          I've got my android phone to, when first connected to wireless charging, turn on Bluetooth and search for my cars Bluetooth connection (and connect).
          It also disconnects from my homes wifi, as I'd find myself always jumping in a car, saying "hey Google how do I get to…" and just as I ask, driving far enough away that the WiFi is very weak.

          When I turn my car off, the stopping of wireless charging triggers Bluetooth off, and WiFi back on.

          Also got a basic nfc sticker that I wave my phone over when I am about to go for work, which opens my route in Google maps. (can't use scheduling as my shifts are always at different times)

          •  

            @Tuttle:

            Also got a basic nfc sticker that I wave my phone over when I am about to go for work, which opens my route in Google maps.

            Could just say Hey Google, take me to work instead of NFC (assuming you told Google where you work)

    •  

      Uncle Sam is very happy. You are a gold star citizen.

    • -1 vote

      "Remind me when I get home to check the mailbox"

      need one more - "remind me to use my brain occasionally"

    • -1 vote

      Can I get Google/Siri to remind me to use hey Google/Siri more often?

    • +1 vote

      I set these and many more as events/ reminders (one time or repetitive) on Google calendar which pops a notification on phone - I would say a very simple, but life changing experience. Not having to remember these little things gives much peace to my mind.

      • +1 vote

        Same. Been doing it for years. Simple + effective - and free. All win!

    •  

      i've also set a routine, so when I tell google "I'm leaving now", it broadcasts to the home speakers telling my wife I'm on the way home and roughly how long i'll be.

      How do I do this? Any guides?

  • +8 votes

    All the same socks they should teach at school to save all the pairing mess and very easy to implement :)

    •  

      Why do you feel the need to pair socks? Who cares which socks you have on (as long as they are clean)?

  • +9 votes

    I’m also super busy and over the last year have reviewed my time ruthlessly. Some ideas below.

    I try to do two things at once, such as calling my Mum (interstate) once a week while doing the week’s ironing, although I haven’t ironed a shirt since COVID started. (Have called her though - she’s had to listen to me doing noisier chores since).

    I like learning and often have professional development things I need to do for work, so have signed up to Blinkist to get digests of books that I’ll never get time to read, apps like VoiceDream that reads PDFs to you and Audible, which you can game to get free or cheaper books. Podcasts are good too. I always listen to them while doing household tasks, in the car, getting ready for work etc.

    I save up my phone calls like making appts etc, work calls or calling friends to do in the car or during other menial tasks. If you have colleagues that commute at the same time and you’re not on public transport, that can be a good use of time.

    I also use Track My Subs to keep track of subscriptions so I don’t accidentally have to pay after a trial period and can cancel subs before they renew if I want to.

    I’d recommend looking up the Getting Things Done (GTD) method. Using this method, I’ve used the Microsoft To Do app to log all my tasks into categories like phone calls, out and about, at home, and internet required, and when I am in these situations and have a small amount of time, I look up the tasks list and find one I can do.

    The above has given me more leisure time and improved my productivity a lot. I’m also interested in hearing what others do too

    • +1 vote

      All great advice, thank you.

      I too listened to audio books, often while cycling to/from work which was 30-40 mins each way. I'm currently studying so I felt guilty reading for leisure when I should be reading academic texts.

      I looked in to GTG ages ago, but it seemed very paper shuffling intensive. Early in lockdown I just resorted to a 'to do' and 'done' wall filled with post-its. It became useful as the days began to blur together so at least I felt like I was getting stuff done.

  • +6 votes

    Wearing similar outfit everyday to reduce mental load on deciding what to wear etc. This is Mark Zuckerbergs secret.

    • +1 vote

      the activewear has covered up these covid kg's too. Until I have to pull out the jeans/collared shirt again someday.

    •  

      Zuckerberg copied Steve Jobs

      •  

        Jobs copied Einstein

        • +7 votes

          Einstein copied Gandhi

          Gandhi copied Buddha

          Buddha copied homeless people

          Done.

  • +4 votes

    Robo vacuum cleaner.

  • +2 votes

    Free yourself from carrying unnecessary stuff!

    If you have a garage, install a secure wifi garage roller door controller so you don't need to carry keys.

    You can then hide a physical spare key to the door leading to the house somewhere in the garage that is impossible to find unless you know where to look (easy to do if your garage is as cluttered as mine is!).

    Add Google/Apple pay on your phone and it means you don't need to carry your wallet!

    Soo much time saved in my life not having to look for my keys and wallet everytime I leave the house! Now it's just phone and face mask! 😂

    Downside is you need to make sure your phone has enough juice at all times!

    •  

      Isn't the garage easier to break into than your front door though? That's why I've often heard people should keep the inside door to the garage locked.

      • +1 vote

        Yes I mostly do keep the door between the garage and the house locked.

        Unless your house is built like Fort Knox, I always say if someone is targeting your house and they want to break in, they will find a way to break in.

    •  

      How do you drive your car without a key tho?

      •  

        Pre-COVID I mostly cycled to work or took PT.

        Otherwise if I am taking then car yes unfortunately I I'd still need to carry my keys.

        Maybe my next car will be a BMW?! 😂 BMW digital key allows you to drive your car without a key! Hopefully other manufacturers will follow.

  • +15 votes

    Vasectomy. Kids are expensive and a lot of work.

    • +5 votes

      Agree but gotta get the sequencing right. I had mine after the 3 kids….minimal savings.

  • +3 votes

    Saving funds.

    https://pricehipster.com/
    its the best.
    Set an alert and buy in bulk

  • +2 votes

    shopping delivered to your boot
    Love this - the missus does the shopping and i go to the store then they bring it to my car and load it up.
    I cannot be blamed for forgetting anything - also great for buying in bulk after a pricehipster alert.

    pricehipster-fanboy

  • +5 votes
    • Fingerprint scanner front door lock
    • Use leaf blower to clean dust off stuff like TVs, window frames, entertainment units before vacuuming or sweeping
    • WiFi kettle
    • Tile tracker for keys and wallet
    • Wireless phone charger built into bed
    • Use phone for virtually all purchases
    • High pressure cleaner for cleaning outside of the house (windows, cobwebs etc)
    • +1 vote

      Wifi kettles are awesome, you don't have to flick the button on after filling them because you can switch it on from your phone.

      • +4 votes

        not sure I understand, you fill it up - then you go get your phone and turn it on… it doesn't have a switch? seems weird.

        Does it ring you when its boiled?

        • +1 vote

          You can turn it on via an app/Google assistant/alexa, or set a schedule if you get up the same time each day, you can set it to stay at a certain temperature for a period of time etc.

          You can see what the current temp of it is, but yeah, it gives a notification on your phone when it's got to the desired temp.

          It still has a switch like a normal kettle if you're in the kitchen already.

        • +18 votes

          Yeah, I was being sarcastic, really can't see the point. Even if you are willing to waste electricity keeping an uninsulated kettle hot or filling it to the brim so you don't have to visit the tap a couple of times, you still have to get up and pour it in your mug, wait 5 minutes for the tea to brew, go to the fridge and put the milk in. It really doesn't make sense.

          •  

            @OzzyOzbourne: If you drink tea, sure. Anything instant, it's great. If it's the middle of winter and you're not wasting energy on using a heater overnight, you wake up and have a hot drink ready straight away instead of standing around waiting in the cold for a few mins.

            It holds about 7 cups. Fill it up after your pour the 5th or 6th and it's ready to go.

        •  

          Nar it sends you push alerts to tell you to use it every now and then. Then one when it's on, when its reached 10c/20c/30c etc. When it is about to boil, when it is boiling, when it is ready, when you haven't picked it up within 5 seconds when it is ready, constant reminders on that every 5 seconds. Etc

      • +28 votes

        Goes to kitchen
        Fill up kettle
        Put kettle back on power base
        Sees on button on kettle
        No
        Pulls out phone from pocket
        Swipes left right left, aha, found the app
        Wait for app to load
        Turn on kettle via app
        Connection not stable
        Repeatedly taps on phone
        Turn Wifi off and on
        Finally works
        Water starts to boil
        Makes tea with hot water
        Serves tea to the queen
        Queen is pissed because tea is late
        Off with his head
        Fruit ninja sound playing
        Looks around and sees detached body 2 metres away
        Kettle 1 : Me 0

        •  

          Or fills up kettle after pouring one every 5 or so cups.

          Wakes up, walks to kitchen and kettle is already hot. 10 seconds to put coffee in cup. Done. Saves 2-3 mins waiting for it in the freezing cold.

          •  

            @Rev0lt:

            2-3 mins waiting for it in the freezing cold.

            Is your kitchen detached from your house across a snow filled paddock? Or do you just have to walk through a very large cold storage room to get to your kettle?

            • +2 votes

              @serpserpserp: If you use a heater, you're not a very hardcore ozbargainer

              •  

                @Rev0lt: well you aren't "bargaining" by not using something.

      •  

        The kettle holds more than 250ml 🙄.

        You can set a schedule every morning so it's hot right as you wake up, or turn it on with the app when you wake up, no waiting in the cold.

        •  

          Hilarious replies. I don't think I would use it myself but I definitely understand how nice it is to be able to schedule it to boil so you don't have to do it in the mornings. One less task in the mornings, more sleep in time. Though covid has given me plenty of sleep these past few months thanks to remote work.

          Being able to schedule porridge to be cooked in the mornings is also a god send though I've never done it myself.

    • +4 votes

      u trolling with the leaf blower for inside dusting? whats the point as particles get sprayed into the air and then will eventually settle down on whatever is in the room…

      wouldn't using a vaccum make alot more sense? the stick with bristle attachment = dusting done

      •  

        Nah, open windows next to whatever you're cleaning and face it that way. The vacuum takes ages for intricate things.

        • +8 votes

          Exactly. When I finish dinner we just open the kitchen windows and use the leaf blower to wisk all that mess through the window and outside somewhere. Saves so much time. Have bought a lot of fine china replacements tho. So comes out about even.

    •  

      Unfortunately my wife choose a matching kettle & toaster combo, so it'll be a while before she considers a replacement.

      Tile trackers is definitely on the list, as I'm often misplacing keys.

      Have been using my phone for payments a lot lately, much more convenient only taking my phone then wallet. Having a bluetooth/wifi front door lock will make it easier too.

      •  

        Don't you need to carry your licence anyway? So.. still need wallet?

        • +1 vote

          NSW driver's licence is available on an app now so don't need to carry physical card.

  •  

    Condoms.

    Gone…

  • +24 votes
    • I’ve been getting HelloFresh for years - this removes bucketloads of friction. I think it gets a bad rep on ozbargain (“you can buy all the ingredients yourself cheaper at woolies”), but the value is in the friction it removes. If you are busy, relatively well paid, have kids (ie are time poor) and enjoy cooking it’s amazing.
    • I’ve got a robot vacuum with an awesome automation so that it starts automatically when we leave the house. Our floors are spotless with very little effort.
    • hue lights - very easy to turn the whole house off, and sensor controlled in every room except bedrooms and lounge rooms
    • Jim’s mowing - leave $50 cash in a hidden spot, and send an SMS to the guy whenever the lawn needs mowing and the weeds need spraying.
    • (SA only) - use the OTR app for buying coffee and fuel. Don’t need to go into servo to pay for fuel and never have to wait for coffee.
    • Amazon prime - need something, 2 days shipping and most importantly they don’t need signature on delivery
    • always favour retailers that will leave parcels unattended. Getting carded is huge friction.
    • automatic top up for metro card
    • 1Password for password management
    • AnyList for grocery shopping list - perfect for sharing the list with partner
    • shop at Aldi for groceries - small, quick, only one choice for items, massively reduces cognitive load for shopping.
    • adaptive cruise control for car - takes so much of the stress out of both city and highway driving.
    • tiles on all keys, wallets and apple earpod cases
    • Todoist app for managing tasks at work
    • non iron shirts (Charles tyrwhitt)
    • wear optional work “uniform” (branded polo top) a couple of times a week
    • don’t bother pirating tv shows, music or movies - subscriptions to all streaming services (Apple TV, stan, Netflix, prime, binge, Disney, Spotify).
    • buy apple stuff. Easy to use, easy to get fixed if any hardware issues and easy to sell.
    • use Apple Pay for purchases
    • sell things of value on eBay when you are done with them, and know how to use Australia post shipping labels and that you can drop the parcels in postage box rather than needing to go to a post office. This adds friction to sell but reduces clutter.

    All of these things free up time to do spend more time playing around and doing whatever I feel like with my son. Wrestling, chasing, cuddling, napping, going to the park, doing cool stuff and hanging out

    • +2 votes

      Just signed up to Amazon Prime yesterday given the volume of orders recently. Would be keen to hear if anyone has a scheduled/regular order (Toilet paper, dish washing tables, tooth brush heads, etc)?

      I used to use 1Password for password management, but not I use BitWarden which is free and open source and works on both PC Browser integration and mobile.

      I used to be pretty good with listing excess stuff on ebay, though we have a bigger house now so the clutter hides easier.

      • +5 votes

        Started using a password manager about a year ago and that has made a massive difference in not having to remember various logins etc.

        I too changed from 1Password to BitWarden

    • +3 votes

      Hey, which robot vacuum you have and how do you make sure it goes to every room/ bathroom? Cheers!

      • +2 votes

        Roborock S50. It takes care of going into every room itself.

    • +6 votes

      "buy apple stuff. Easy to use, easy to get fixed if any hardware issues and easy to sell."

      I agree with the easy to use for the most part, but easy to get fixed? The hard drive recently broke on my Mums iMac, and the only way to replace it is to remove the entire display panel (or pay Apple big $$$ to replace it). On almost any other computer, it would be a 5 minute job that pretty much anyone could do.

      •  

        I’m sure he’s referring to the Apple stores and approved repair centres, as a network. Manually repairing a hard drive sounds like a lot of friction.

      •  

        If you have a broken iPhone, you can generally just walk in and get whatever fixed, whereas most other brands you need to find a third party repairer or deal with mailing things to manufacturers etc. Same reason I have a Macbook rather than a Razer laptop or some such. There's value in just being able to go somewhere ask for it to be fixed, and when they break it while fixing it you get a new one free…..

        Obviously desktops are DIY. Though I get myself into the sort of problems that people that don't DIY never see :o

        Of course the other thing with Apple stuff is that there's always an extremely easy $$$$$$ fix. Buy a new one. I've lost count of the number of people I know that have lost / totally destroyed their devices and an hour later have an identical phone with their cloud backup restored to the point you cannot tell the difference. :o

    • +7 votes

      That is a very expansive list, and I can see why you do that to prioritise time with your son.

      I find it interesting how many (what I would consider) normal life skills are now not part of your life; fruit/veggie shopping, vacuuming, mowing. Even driving has some element of your inputs removed.
      Different generation, but some of those things we actually did as 'cool stuff' and 'hanging out'. Going to fresh produce markets was fun with our kids; mowing and gardening, cleaning, were all things that we did together.

      •  

        Apart from hanging out with my son, my other passion is trail runnning. Between the two of those there isn't much left for other things

    • +4 votes

      subscriptions to all streaming services (Apple TV, stan, Netflix, prime, binge, Disney, Spotify).

      Don't bother subscribing to any streaming services - there are less choices on free to air TV so you'll spend less time scrolling through effectively endless lists trying to pick something to watch ;)

      (Also I can't afford that many subscriptions!)

      • +2 votes

        I agree with not even bothering with subscription services. But what do you mean less choices with free to air? There are so so many fascinating documentaries and an excellent selection of movies on ABC and SBS demand services. Some times throw in the odd shows like Masterchef or a random episode of Friends I’m set.

        • +2 votes

          What I mean is: if you restrict yourself to what is currently broadcasting via the TV waves, you only have ~10 options to consider, rather than thousands if you scroll the lists on all the subscriptions.

    • +1 vote

      'adaptive cruise control for car'

      had one in rental car in Germany - I loved it !

      stop'n'go - on the autobahn I set it to 220kph - it would maintain safe following distance in traffic, slow to a stop at roadworks traffic jams, then accelerate up when the road was free - it were wonderful

      the only bummer was a vehicle suddenly 'appearing' in front - changing lines to squeeze in front of me - or when the radar spotted a vehicle in the other lane on a tight exit curve and would jam on the brakes hard - so I'd have to try to remember to turn it off before exiting

    • +1 vote

      whatever I feel like with my son. Wrestling, chasing, cuddling, napping

      God if only my kids would nap!

    • +1 vote

      AnyList

      Just tried this as per your recommendation but didn't like how almost every feature was paywalled.

    •  

      I only subscribe to two services at a time, watch what I really want then move on to another once I have exhausted my favourites. I’ve always had Netflix though, since it offers so much variety and choice, and have cycled through Foxtel Now, Disney+, Stan and now Amazon Prime.

  • +1 vote

    If chafing is the issue, then Step One has you covered.

    • +1 vote

      Choice!

  • +9 votes

    Changing my morning Gym session from ~45 minutes to ~10 minutes.

    I watched a youtube video about 1.5 years ago about how if you think of a gym session as a 30 - 45 minute workout, you are less likely to go as often, more likely to cancel if you are a little late, and more prone to injure yourself, and a few other things.

    I decided to change and 1.5 years later feel incredibly fit compared to how I was. My morning routine is now weird if I don't go to the gym, and I will sometimes go on the way home from work too.

    15min x 5 mornings a week is way better than 45min x 2 or 3 mornings a week, for me anyway.

    The other benefit is that I don't use my shower at home during the week, so there is less cleaning on my part.

    •  

      Do you have a link to the 10min workout?

      •  

        Hi, see my reply below

    •  

      Are you using a HIIT method?