Automate Your Life – Take back your time

Play

Using the same principles of AMSB, Matt and Brandon show you ways to automate your personal life, so you can spend time on things you enjoy, like building automated businesses or time with your family. This episode is a fun exploration of ideas you may not have thought of. New ideas to save you time, and potentially automate your personal life for good.

Links from the show:

Transcript:

Welcome to Automate My Small Business where we show you how to set up and run your own automated business on the cheap. So get ready to take back your life and add a little spice. It’s time to build something automated.

MATT: Hello and welcome to episode #27 of Automate My Small Business. I’m Matt.

BRANDON: And this is Brandon.

MATT: And today we’re going to do an episode for you about automating your life. So we’re going to take a step back from all the business stuff and look at what we do in our free time and all the stuff we do that we could actually automate and maybe steal a few minutes back from the day that do something else that we’d rather do.

BRANDON: Yeah. I think this is going to be like kind of a fun one because a lot of this is kind of “yeah, that’s obvious” or “oh my God, that’s a great idea. I got to go do that like tomorrow.”

MATT: My guess is like everyone will hear of, will know of like 90 percent of the stuff here but there’ll be a few things that will give everyone back an hour of their week or two hours of their week and that will make it all worthwhile.

BRANDON: Right. So we’ll see how this goes. I think we got a lot of good ideas coming up and let’s see what you think.

MATT: So before we get into that, what have you been doing?

BRANDON: Well, I got all set for our Brazil trip coming up next month. I didn’t realize there was such a long process to get a visa to Brazil, but yeah, I’m excited about that. Matt and I are off to Brazil and believe it or not we got our wives’ okay to do so.

MATT: I think we should do a show from there.

BRANDON: Yeah. That’d be fun. From the beaches of Rio de Janeiro?

MATT: That sounds good.

BRANDON: Yeah.

MATT: So if there’s any listeners that are in Rio that can recommend some stuff for us to do while we’re there, let us know. Shoot us an email.

BRANDON: Yeah. It’s been a while since I got out of this country but I’m excited about it. So we’ll see if all of our automation techniques continue on as we’re out of the country. So let’s get started. I think before we do, what we like to normally do is catch up with some questions that show up on the community site that if you haven’t been to, you can find at our website, automatemysmallbusiness.com and click on the community site.

MATT: So we have a question from Mike12 this week about telephone based customer support. He says, “I’m currently launching a pure play web based business for a product I’ve developed and I’m looking into options for answering customer service calls. When I launch the site, I plan to field customer support calls myself so that I can get a handle on the most common questions. After that, I’m going to consider outsourcing this function, especially if I get a substantial number of calls. Anyone out there have experience with options for handling these calls (answer them yourself, hire an internet based phone service, hire someone locally and route calls there with Ring Central when they’re on duty, etc)?”

BRANDON: Well, Mike first of all you make some great points doing it yourself at the very beginning is a great idea because believe it or not there’s things that you don’t know that will come up and you kind of have to learn some of their responses. Just by doing that yourself you’re going to be much better at training whoever you end up going with and it will kind of fill your fact page too so that’s always important. But once you get those kind of under control and you start hearing the same questions again and again, you can start to feel like you can handle training somebody and like you mentioned, using Ring Central as a funneling tool to funnel the calls to the appropriate department or type of answering service is a great idea. First thing you ought to do with any business is get a number at Ring Central so that you have control of that phone number and it doesn’t matter what you end up doing, whether you want to route it to your phone or to your cell phone or to a call service or to your fulfillment house, all that is possible but the first step is getting it routed through Ring Central and that phone number will never change. And it doesn’t matter what phone numbers you end up routing it to. So once you get that phone number, you can start routing it to—you probably going to want to route it to a couple of people. One would be your sales calls which I like to separate my sales calls from let’s say the customers that are calling about their orders mainly because there are two different types of answers. The sales calls can be done by a call service that just knows a lot about your product that could be obtained by you know just giving them all your brochures and you know them reading your website and your fact page and just knowing the right answers to certain common questions. I like to route those to you know there’s a couple of call agencies out there. I’ve used 24-7 In Touch which is a Canadian company. A couple of others that I haven’t used but I know that might be good. There’s one called CallDesk.com. What was the one, Matt, you’ve used in the past?

MATT: LiveOps.

BRANDON: LiveOps. What did you think about them?

MATT: I thought they were pretty cool and I like their system for getting people up and trained but it’s kind of—they try to make it repeatable and automatable which I’m always a sucker for.

BRANDON: Right. So you know for the easy questions that are like you know what kind of features can I expect from your product? Does it really work? Those kinds of things, that could be easily outsourced. Now for the part that you know like let’s say you press 1 for that option, pressing 2 might go to your customers that have already placed an order and they just want to know where their package is, something like that, I like to route that to my fulfillment house. The fulfillment house that I use does a fantastic job of answering the phones and I pay you know a small amount per minute and because I track the minutes through Ring Central, I just give them a you know user on my Ring Central account and told me to bill me for the minutes on Ring Central. So they pass that on to me and it’s pennies based you know for especially for what they—the value that they give me. So I like to do it that way.

MATT: It’s key because I mean that’s the place where things can go really wrong and people can get really mad. It’s when their package isn’t really delivered or they want to return something and they can’t get a hold of someone.

BRANDON: Yeah.

MATT: It’s good to have someone that has that information at their fingertips and knows exactly what happened.

BRANDON: Right. And they’re responsible for the actual results or their outcome of the way the package is so they’re going to for sure know the most accurate information. So I think it’s important that they’re the ones answering the phone for that particular type of call. Now if you’re just looking to have a professional front end you know let’s say you’re just you know lawyer for a law firm or something that you just want to have somebody answering your phone and then taking messages and maybe making appointment for you and you don’t really need that person to know much about your business other than just, “Okay, Mr. so and so will have you—I’ll put down for 9:30 on Tuesday.” You know there’s plenty of services out there that are pretty cheap. CallDesk is one of them. Angel.com…

MATT: Angel.com, I think.

BRANDON: Yes, is one of them. There’s a lot of those services that are basically virtual receptionists. They say that your customer will never know. It’s pretty obvious to me sometimes when I call those types of services.

MATT: But sometimes it doesn’t matter, right?

BRANDON: Yeah. You have to weigh those pros and cons there but for just making appointments or sales departments do this where they barrage all of their list and then they ask you to call in and make an appointment. Well, you don’t really need to be the one answering the phone for that so that would be a good solution there.

MATT: Cool. So let’s get into the episode. I kind of got the idea for this as I was looking back over the last year and seeing, “What did I do well? What did I do poorly?” And one of the things I thought I did really well last year was that I put a lot of thought into making my life easier and reducing the amount of things that I had to do that really aid into my personal time and time I want to do either it’s for leisure or for traveling or building more businesses or whatever that I just hated doing and I was doing anyway. Things like cleaning my house and doing yard work and spending time paying bills and all that stuff that I just don’t like doing and I’d rather doing something else so over the course of the year I got back a lot like probably 15 hours of my week that I didn’t have before. So I wanted to go through and do an episode talking about some of the things that I’ve done and Brandon has done and things that we you know might do in the future to get back some more of that time. I have also started reading Life Hacker this year. That’s a great site for you know finding out little tips and things to tweak your life style.

BRANDON: Yeah. You know a lot of this is similar to you know Automate My Small Business where you’re looking to automate the business but in this case we’re going to be automating our personal lives. So you know some of these will sound very familiar, some of it will sound like kind of personal because you know a lot of this stuff is not necessarily business related. It’s just you know what you do around your house, how you handle your kids, what you do you know shopping for gifts for your spouse, things like that. But you know this is going to be fun. I think we’re going to find kind of some tips that we kind of thought through and thought, “Hey, that’s a good idea. Maybe we ought to share that with our listeners,” and maybe you guys can come up with some other ones that you can send us emails or comments on the blog.

MATT: Yeah. So we’re going to use some of the same techniques we used in business. We’re going to eliminate things that we do and we don’t need to do. We’re going to automate obviously, outsource and the last thing we’re going to do is we’re going to time shift things so allowing our schedule to determine the priority not the things that I have to do determine my schedule and also batching things. So dong you know the same thing once every day versus doing it more optimized by doing it all at once and then letting it play all throughout the whole week. So we’ll use some of these techniques. We’ll go through all these things. Let’s get started.

BRANDON: Alright. What’s up first?

MATT: The thing I hate most is house work and until this year I did not have a housekeeper. I didn’t have a gardener. I was a very much a DIY guy, you know, all the maintenance, all these stuff I do myself. So getting a housekeeper was the best thing I did all year of all the things.

BRANDON: Yeah.

MATT: I think someone coming and clean and do laundry and dishes and all of that stuff that I really hate doing and my wife was always upset about me not doing has made my life so much better.

BRANDON: Yeah. Well, you know, you’re right. You are very much of a do-it-yourself kind of guy. You like the challenge of figuring out how to do anything and then doing it yourself. But I did remember seeing that light bulb go off in your head one time where you’re like, “Oh my God, my time is so much more valuable,” than you know you gave it credit for and I think everybody eventually gets to that point in their life where when we’re very young, we feel like we have all the time in the world and …

MATT: And our time is cheap, we feel like that, right?

BRANDON: Right. Actually, I remember hearing somebody tell me you know when you’re young you have a lot of time and no money and then as you get older you get more money and you value your time because you have less of it. So that switch kind of slowly morphs over from between the balance of time and money as you get older. So you know that’s one main point to make here is what is your time worth and do you feel like, “Oh, it’s just an hour for me to do. I should just go ahead and do it,” and you know it’s not worth the 12 bucks or 10 bucks to pay somebody else to do it. Eventually, you’re going to have to start realizing what your time is worth and…

MATT: It’s definitely not free and you know I made that mistake for many years just thinking, “Well, this person is going to charge me $2,000 to do this and I can do it in just x number of hours and my time is free.”

BRANDON: Exactly.

MATT: Well, it’s not.

BRANDON: Yeah. It’s not. You know you need to place a value and even if you did an exercise with yourself where you say, you know, “How much do I make per year?” You take that and divide it by the number of hours you have in that year and you find out you actually placed a dollar amount on your time. You might be surprised with what you come up with and compare that with what you’re paying somebody else to do it. But more importantly you know if you’re an avid listener of Automate My Small Business, you probably by now realized that your business is more valuable by creating business systems that run themselves and therefore you spend the more quality time building that business or growing that business and its your brain power that designs that system and it’s that time that you spend doing that that is the most valuable time of all. And so if you can figure that that is where your value comes in doing anything other than that is a waste of your money. And so you should start looking at your life even on a personal level as a balance between what you value your time on both personal and business and what you pay maybe somebody else do. So we’ll start off with house work and we say, you know, “Get a housekeeper.” “Yeah, that might seem like the obvious choice and yeah, I’ve thought of that before and it’s just too expensive.” That might be true. That might be too expensive for you now and that might be different for different people at their different stages of their life. But really start considering it as you start building your business and your careers or your cash flow and things of that sort. So this is…

MATT: I just looked to that and said, you know, a housekeeper is going to cost me you know 70, 80, 90 whatever dollars a week if I have her come every week and you know what would I have to do to make up for that? And it became a no brainer.

BRANDON: Right.

MATT: You know I spend 5, 6, 7 hours a week doing some sort of cleaning or laundry or something and now she does a lot for me.

BRANDON: Yeah.

MATT: You know a lot of housekeepers may not do laundry service for you but you know you can have a specialized laundry service to come and pick up your clothes and clean them and then bring them back all pressed and everything, that’s another option as well.

BRANDON: My favorite option is especially for ironing Brooks Brothers makes a great shirt that is iron-free. It will never wrinkle. I’ve thrown that thing into you know a suitcase before, pulled it out, shook it once and it was good to go. So if you talk about eliminating the problem…

MATT: Nice.

BRANDON: … just not having or having all wrinkle free clothes, that’s a great way to go.

MATT: Another option to eliminate, not a good one, is just work from home in dirty pajamas…

BRANDON: Yeah.

MATT: But we don’t recommend that.

BRANDON: Every once in a while change your underwear.

MATT: Exactly. Another thing, the sharp that I fall into is maintenance so I said before I’m a DYI guy. Just hiring some handyman to come around and do some stuff around the house to fix something, to do some projects I had on my list that keep bugging me that I haven’t done, just getting someone in to do it has made a world of difference for me.

BRANDON: Or you could rent and have the landlord doing it for your every time but yeah, I’ve even had like little lists even on my phone. I used to have it on a little pad of paper that I would hang up next to the front door or next to the refrigerator that you know you just start adding a list, “Oh the light bulb is up, blah, blah, blah.” So when you know maybe you’d have a handy man come like once a month then just fix everything that’s on the list.

MATT: And also these things like you said light bulbs you know get LED light bulbs that last longer so you don’t have to deal with the maintenance. So minimize maintenance. Buy things with higher quality and even though LED light bulbs cost a lot, they last forever.

BRANDON: Yeah.

MATT: And they’re cheaper in the long run.

BRANDON: And so do the compact fluorescent bulbs too, they last quite a bit. But I don’t like the fact—some of them still flicker and they’re not full bright you know when you turn them on but the LED lights, they got everything that incandescent has which I like.

MATT: Next one is yard work. Get a gardener or get even better get a fake grass or hardscaping or stuff that doesn’t require any maintenance. My parents live in Arizona. They have rocks and cactuses for the yard and they don’t have to do anything. It’s wonderful.

BRANDON: That’s pretty obvious stuff. Alright. So what about you know your pet, your dog, you know you got to walk the dog…

MATT: I think before we get to that, the worse part of the yard work is the poop clean up from the dogs.

BRANDON: True.

MATT: So there are services, if you just Google dog poop service, you will find some hilarious names like DoodyCalls.com and you know the one that I see as national is Pet Butler but you know there’s all kinds of local companies that will do this and they’re freaking hilarious or you could get a Porch Potty.

BRANDON: Absolutely. Got to love that. I mean the Porch Potty cleans itself, washes itself, you know rinses itself. It’s great.

MATT: Nice plug.

BRANDON: You like that. Sponsored by…

MATT: Yeah.

BRANDON: Yeah. No but you know walking your dog too I thought was a good something that a lot of people spend time with. You know you got to love your dog and you spend time with them but if you just you know but you get busy and your dog needs exercise. We actually have listeners, John and Erica who run a company out of Chicago called DogsLoveRunning.com. You know I’m sure if you’re not in the Chicago area or something similar to that but…

MATT: Yeah. That’s cool and my dogs if they don’t get walked, they get destructive and they cause even more work for me so that’s well worth it.

BRANDON: Yeah. Alright. What else?

MATT: Somewhere but not quite the same, kids.

BRANDON: Kids. Yeah. Well, I learned…

MATT: As a parent, give us some ideas.

BRANDON: Yeah. Okay. So I got two kids. The oldest being just two and a half years old and they are a lot of work so I do have a nanny that helps most of the days of the weeks. It turns out as I learned that you can actually get a nanny tax credit. There’s a nanny tax credit worth up to $3,000 a year and I’m not talking tax deduction. We’re talking full on, dollar for dollar, $3,000 tax credit. Now the way you get that is that first of all you need to show the IRS that you’re actually paying an employee or a nanny and so you have to make them an employee and instead of being a business with an employee you actually have to get an EIN number or a tax number, tax ID number as a household. So you apply as a household not a business. You apply as a household for a tax ID number on the you know government site but you get a tax ID number…

MATT: IRS.

BRANDON: Yeah. That’s right. Irs.gov, of course. And you start paying them as an employee. I used Intuit Household Payroll to do it. Intuit of course has the Quickbooks and Quicken software. They have a payroll service but they have a specific payroll service for households. So they know exactly how much you take out every month or every payroll and you know that’s all done for you. Now it does cost about $20 a month for Intuit to do this for you but think about the $3,000 you get back. It’s worth it and yes, you do have to pay payroll taxes you know like the FICA taxes, the social security, the medicare all those but you know I’m happy to pay for that because again the $3,000 makes up for it. So the great thing is the nanny is actually getting is paid above board. They start to collect social security. They wouldn’t have otherwise had paid for them. Normally, they’re used to getting paid under the table and then cash and all these but you know they’re going to pay taxes but again it’s all worth it. So I actually just give the offset to the nanny and you know it turns out to be good for everybody. So that’s a good little tip.

MATT: So another area you can outsource is riding to school, whether that’s putting the kids on the bus or you know what my parents said while I was in high school when I was a freshman and I live pretty far away from the school, my parents found a senior to pay him a couple of bucks a week and he would drive me to school, basically for gas money. So that worked out well.

BRANDON: There you go. So there’s also this little thing called Gymboree which my kids signed up for a few times. Gymboree is the store at the malls. You may—a lot of people have seen them. I mean literally just drop them off for an hour or so and shop or do your shopping and come by and pick them up later. Fantastic use of time if you have to go do shopping.

MATT: Sports practices work equally well for that, I would think.

BRANDON: Absolutely. You know my kids are really, really young. So different things for different folks but shopping, speaking of shopping, is of course much faster and you save a lot of time if you can do it online. Matt, you’ve done a lot of shopping with Amazon. That’s your kind of go-to place. Why is that?

MATT: I hate going to stores so that’s part of it. Also, I’ve come to realize that you know a lot of times I’d think of something, I’ll say, “Oh I need this one thing,” say, you know, light bulb example before. Light bulb will go out, I’ll go “Oh I need a light bulb.” When I get to the store like two days later I forget. By the time I finally get whatever I thought I needed, it’s a week later and I finally realized that it’s actually faster for me to just pull out my phone and order it on Amazon as soon as I think of it and it will get here faster than it would have gotten had I tried to go get it myself.

BRANDON: That’s right. I figured that out just a few months ago and you’re absolutely right.

MATT: So I’ve started doing that. I signed up for Amazon Prime which is like $75 a year or something like that where you get free two-day shipping after that. So the amount of stuff I order I probably have10-15 packages a week coming from Amazon. So it’s well worth the money and you know and if you wanted to do something overnight, I think it’s $3 or $4. So if you have to have it tomorrow, no problem. They’ll get it to you you know in just overnight.

BRANDON: For $4.

MATT: For $4 and so the other thing from Amazon that I think is cool is for things that you order a lot on a regular basis like shampoo or whatever you ordered that you need a monthly supply of they have Amazon subscriptions and actually save like give you a 15% discount for stuff you buy in subscriptions and they’ll just automatically ship it to you you know. “So every month send me this much shampoo or this much you know rice,” or whatever you want to order from them.

BRANDON: Right.

MATT: And they’ll send it to you on a regular basis. It can be monthly, three months, every six months, whatever it is.

BRANDON: Right.

MATT: It’s really cool.

BRANDON: And they do have a lot of stuff. They don’t have a lot of perishable items. They do have some food like you said rice or ramen noodles or you know you can get all sorts of food items but a lot—they’re not going to be fresh foods items that don’t ship well. So but you can—you’re right, I mean the subscriptions concept is fantastic on Amazon and it’s just you know hands free once you’ve …

MATT: One thing I’ve learned is to always err on the less side of what you need. From the subscriptions I ended up buying like breakfast bars or something and after a couple of months I decided I didn’t like breakfast bars but I forgot to cancel so I have like four boxes of breakfast bars that I still have in my cupboard that I haven’t finished.

BRANDON: Can you get milk from Amazon subscriptions?

MATT: I have not seen milk. You could probably get like powdered milk.

BRANDON: I know they do have some perishable foods which surprises me because …

MATT: There’s something like the Omaha steaks and things they’ll freeze and send…

BRANDON: Right.

MATT: But for the most part like you said non perishable food.

BRANDON: Right. Yeah.

MATT: Even things like laundry detergent and paper towels and all kinds of stuff I have seen in Amazon.

BRANDON: They just show up on your doorstep and you’re like, “Oh, okay there’s my two weeks supply of paper towels.”

MATT: Yeah.

BRANDON: Yeah.

MATT: So for the stuff like milk and perishable stuff, a lot of grocers or markets will deliver food for you so if you live close to the Safeway or Vons, that’s, you know, big in the west, they’ll deliver within an hour window so it’s not like the cable coming that says, “We will be there between 8am and 5pm.” They’ll actually give you like an hour that they’re going to be there for and for $7 to like $15 depending on if it’s a high demand time, they’ll come and deliver your food for you. And you think, “Hey, that’s you know $15 to get my food delivered.” Well, how much did it cost you for the hour and a half it takes to go to the store, the frustration with traffic all that stuff. Just order it. Have someone deliver it to you. You know there’s I think Albertson’s doesn’t deliver but they’ll actually put everything in like a basket for you and do all the shopping. You just go and pick it up in the store.

BRANDON: Yeah. It’s amazing how much time we spend just even going to the store and getting the food and then having to come home and then you know of course preparing the food which we’ll get to in a second here but…

MATT: And then going back the second time with the one thing that you forgot.

BRANDON: Right. Right. Having everything just delivered makes a lot of sense if you can get that formula right you know. Sometimes like you said you got too many cereal bars but great.

MATT: Yeah. If you’re in the northeast, I think there’s another company called NetGrocer. I haven’t tried them but their website looked pretty good. So if anyone has experience, post it on the comments and let us know.

BRANDON: WebVan doesn’t exist anymore, is that right?

MATT: They died in Grocery.com or Grocer.com, whatever that was the original…

BRANDON: They’re still surviving? Yeah.

MATT: The longest living one I know of is Pink Dot here in Los Angeles. They were you know just a phone service. You would call Pink Dot and they will bring you whatever food you wanted.

BRANDON: They’re like a convenience store but right…

MATT: Yeah.

BRANDON: Yeah.

MATT: If you need cigarettes or a bottle of alcohol, call Pink Dot.

BRANDON: Exactly. So you know continuing on with shopping of course you can always have a personal shopper which sounds all hoity-toity but the truth is there’s a lot of malls that offer personal shoppers for free. Of course, they’re thinking that you know they give you a personal shopper and you’re going to be spending a lot so that’s why they’re offering it for you. But you know…

MATT: And also just find someone over at Craigslist that will do it for you probably.

BRANDON: That’s probably true too. So consider that. Now if you want to get some gifts for your spouse or your girlfriend or mom…

MATT: Yeah. I ran this by my wife and she said it will be wonderful if since I never remember to give her flowers if I would just order a whole bunch in advance on like 1800-flowers or something do like a monthly flower deliver to her, she would like that.

BRANDON: She would and even though it’s set up ahead of time there’s a loosening of the appeal or you know…

MATT: She said she would rather get flowers like set up ahead of time than get no flowers at all.

BRANDON: Okay.

MATT: So that was her contribution to the show.

BRANDON: Nice.

MATT: So now I think I have to sign up for flower delivery.

BRANDON: Amazon wish list was a good idea and I think they’re doing, they’re still going strong with it. One of the concepts was that you know let’s say come Christmas time everybody is asking, “Oh, what do you want for Christmas? What do you want for your birthday? Blah, blah, blah.” And it turns out you can actually just go to Amazon and have conceptually everybody would have a list of everything they want and since Amazon has everything under the sun, you just pick an item almost like you would a registry for a wedding. But…

MATT: I think that’s cool because it really eliminates the time I have to think of figuring out what you want for Christmas.

BRANDON: You know it’s a good idea. For some reason, it hasn’t been catching on like it just seems like a social no no to have a list of what you want which I can understand…

MATT: I finally got it this year. I finally got stuff off my wish list for Christmas this year.

BRANDON: Oh really?

MATT: Yeah.

BRANDON: People actually went and checked out your wish list and ordered things for you?

MATT: Yeah. And I think I made the list like—I started making list like four years ago just to keeping track of the things that I wanted.

BRANDON: Right.

MATT: And this year someone finally bought me something off of it. So hoo hoo Amazon wish list.

BRANDON: There you go. Yeah. I’ve had a wish list for many years now and it’s only one or two people have used it to buy gifts for me but you know it’s one of those things where you know you need to have both sides involved and okay with it otherwise some people feel it’s really weird that you have an online wish list which I can totally understand too. So what else? You can always buy a year’s worth of gifts in a single day.

MATT: So this is kind of batching. This is you know something I would like to have on Amazon. It’s just if you have to go in and say, you know, “I want to order this gift and delivered on you know February 28th and deliver that to so and so.” I would love to have something where I can just do all my gift giving for the whole year one day, one time and just be done with it and not have to remember anything. So there’s a couple of services that are similar to that like they’ll send gift reminders, so GiftPrompter.com. I think you said like RedEnvelope.

BRANDON: Yeah. They’ll send—well, Red Envelope is kind of a gift website which has some jewelry and you know different things that typical that you’d buy for your girlfriend or something like that. But they have a reminder service that sends you not only a reminder but a personalized suggestion for gift for whatever person or event you are trying to you know find a gift for and then basically a click away from just saying, “Yes. Sounds good. Send it.” Now let me get back to what I want to do you know what I was doing. So you know there’s ways to automate that. They won’t actually send the item without you clicking “Yes, I want it,” though. It’s not like somebody calls you up and says, “Thanks for the gift.” You’re going, “What gift?”

MATT: So the last thing about shopping I would say is you know buy things in bulk. You know I love Costco because if I have to go like I can go once and I can buy enough toilet paper to last maybe an entire year and I don’t have to go back.

BRANDON: Right.

MATT: So things that you can store and if you have a lot of storage in your house you know don’t just buy one bottle of shampoo, buy enough that you don’t have to go back.

BRANDON: Right. So you know we talked about you know getting food delivered. Preparing food is a huge time consumer you know and if you like to cook, that’s you know probably something you wouldn’t want to give up. But if you don’t like to cook as I don’t, most of the time I view eating as just a way to get certain nutrition into my body and move on. So there are some food delivery services you can use. There’s Eat24Hours.com.

MATT: I like them. I found out about them maybe a year ago. But what I liked about them is they would deliver from places that don’t normally deliver. So if you know I want something from you know The Cheesecake Factory or something, you know they’ll go get something from there and I found that you know I’m able to find a lot healthier food from them than just like you know the normal pizza and Chinese places that deliver on their own.

BRANDON: Right. So you have a larger variety of food to choose from.

MATT: Yeah. Also you know there’s a couple of other services similar to that like Delivery.com and GrubHub.com, they do so much stuff but for my area in Los Angeles, Eat24Hours is good. But there’s probably you know something local to you that does something somewhere.

BRANDON: Yeah. I checked out Eat24Hoursdelivery.com and GrubHub and fortunately all three of them didn’t really offer much because I’m a little bit out in the suburbs.

MATT: We’re in the boonies, dude.

BRANDON: Yeah. So I’m in the boonies. You might need to be in like a city or you know some area where there’s you know a lot more restaurants in your area.

MATT: And speaking of going into restaurants, you know when you go to restaurants you need reservations. I’ve really liked OpenTable.com for the ability to just like quickly see what’s available, find reservation. You know a lot of times I’ll be looking for somewhere to go and it won’t be so much of I want to go to a certain place but I want to eat at 8pm in this area and OpenTable has a cool search where it will just show you here’s the places where you can get a reservation to this time in this area.

BRANDON: Yeah. That’s pretty slick. You know a lot of the restaurants are part of that service you know in your area, typically part of the OpenTable service.

MATT: So another option you have is you know you can use a concierge service and a lot of people don’t realize that they actually have this service for free. American Express and a bunch of credit cards will offer this service. If you’re staying in a hotel you can use that concierge service. There are paid services out there. You know of anything else?

BRANDON: There’s some concierge services. I want to say AAA has something like that. I haven’t check with them recently. I remember seeing it in their marketing. So there’s all sorts of different things that you might have already that offer concierge services. The reason why is because they cover such a large number of people for a concierge services that they outsource anyways to some company and so they can do it for so cheap. So you might as well take advantage of it if you have it. But if you wanted to have your own concierge services, there are those also.

MATT: So if you like to get things delivered or don’t want to cook yourself the other option is personal chef. Yeah. Expensive. Even better get a service that just does cooking and delivers it for you so you can you know make a decision up front for the whole week for the food. There’s always meal delivery services. I think you did a couple of those, right?

BRANDON: Yeah. I wish I had a better experience. The food is not always fantastic. It can be if you go with the right one but unfortunately a lot of the ones that have really good meals are really expensive. They typically use you know local chefs that are set up for preparing fresh meals and then literally delivering them into your house as if it was coming from you know a home kitchen, home cook kitchen. The ones that you know something like SendAMeal.com or even Nutrasystem, if you really want to get super cheap, I mean you can almost eat from Nutrasystem cheaper than you could make the meal yourself. It does come frozen and it does come in a big bulky Styrofoam box every week, I think it comes or a whole week it gets delivered for you and all you do is pop it in the microwave. So basically you’re eating frozen meals everyday and supposedly it’s healthy for you because it’s called Nutrasystem. But if you want cheap and you want automated and that’s all you’re looking for, it’s a good way to go. You can’t beat it.

MATT: Sure. You don’t have to spend time everyday preparing and cook—well, I guess you just have to clean up but…

BRANDON: Right.

MATT: Not to worry about what you’re going to make and eat that night or to go shopping for all that stuff.

BRANDON: I mean I guess you could put it on a plate but you really don’t even need that. It comes in its own little pouch and whatever.

MATT: Like disposable?

BRANDON: Yeah. Disposable.

MATT: Cool.

BRANDON: Disposable.

MATT: Easy clean up.

BRANDON: Super easy, I mean, this is for the really you know if you really want to cut back on some time spent. So yeah, there’s options.

MATT: So moving on to the new area, getting your news, especially for reading news. I used to go to all different sites that I wanted to read about or learn something from but you know eventually, I kind of realized that if I just subscribe to all the RSS feeds and have a good feed reader, I can just go to that and that would you know provide me all the information I needed for the day. Google reader is obviously you know one of the big market leaders. One thing I don’t like about Google Reader is it’s not organized optimally to really see everything. If you look like in a magazine or newspaper, all those formats have evolved over many years to kind of optimize your ability to scan and pick out something that you really like and read and especially with all these feeds, there’s a lot of things that you know I may not care about or might not be the highest priority for me. So having a really rich interface like something like Feedly offers, you know I like that a lot better for reading and so I use Feedly for—while I’m on my computer to read out stuff. If I’m on my iPad or something, I’ll use something like Pulse or for social stuff like Flipbook. Flipbook is really cool. Have you tried that out?

BRANDON: Yeah. It has kind of a personalized magazine feel to it where it looks like it’s creating this personalized magazine.

MATT: And it’s all based off like your Facebook and Twitter. I don’t if this is true but definitely your Facebook stuff so it’s like big magazine article with this nice picture, beautiful font about your sister’s trip to whatever, you know. It’s just cool.

BRANDON: Right.

MATT: It makes reading that stuff more entertaining and easier to skim through than the news feed which is hard to consume all at once.

BRANDON: Flipbooks concept is that it knows what your friends let’s say your Facebook friends are talking about. Maybe they have suggestions or maybe they just talk about certain topics but those topics then get pulled to the surface for your so called virtual magazine. Is that how it worked?

MATT: Yeah.

BRANDON: Yeah.

MATT: You know above and beyond just having your own RSS reader or your little soft piece of software is aggregating a lot of stuff on your desktop or your iPad or whatever, another option you have is a news aggregation service. So this is where some server or some services pulling all these RSS feeds in and then organizing them based on what’s important. Right now, they really do it on what’s important as a whole. Things like Google News well you know this is popular among everyone. I think they’ll get better personalizing that stuff so saying you know this is the news that you care about because these are the things that you told us you care about. There’s also niche sites. The first thing I do every morning when I want to read about what’s going on the tech world is I read Techmeme, t-e-c-h-m-e-m-e. It’s an awesome aggregator of all the different tech sources and what’s going on and they always had the first thing that’s breaking. So I really like that site. But you know if you reduce the amount of places you need to go to get the information, you’re going to save time.

BRANDON: Yeah. There seems to be aggregators of aggregators now. I mean, for every niche that you can think of, tech being one of them, there’s you know these aggregation sites or services that even aggregate other aggregators. So there’s definitely a funnel effect that you can get most important stuff.

MATT: Those things have RSS feeds too so if you want to pull that stuff down into your Feedly or Pulse or whatever, you can do that too. Next up is entertainment.

BRANDON: Yeah. You know you can’t talk about ways to save time without mentioning things like Tivo or DVRs. But basically the idea is you time shifting your entertainment so instead of waiting for the movie to start on HBO, you just order it from NetFlix or you know start on demand movies. There’s a big push right now for all of these online internet entertainment mainly movies and TV shows that are now available through small devices like Apple TV, Boxee, Tivo is one of them.

MATT: So the online service I like is ESPN3. If you haven’t tried that out and you had it on your area, it’s awesome.

BRANDON: For sports.

MATT: For sports fan.

BRANDON: Yeah.

MATT: Yeah. Just being able to watch you know a football game that you know was on Saturday and I missed because I was either watching another game or doing something else is really cool. And you can have like games within games like you know four games up at once and it’s just awesome. I love it especially now that it integrates with the Xbox and Connect, that’s really cool.

BRANDON: Does that also eliminate the commercials?

MATT: There’s some commercials but like a lot of them it’s just kind of like a little blank area and they also put a little marker where the commercial ends so you can skip pass it.

BRANDON: Right.

MATT: But yeah, I basically went out and bought all these devices because I wasn’t sure which one I was going to like. So I got the Boxee. I got the Apple TV. I was really close to getting the Google TV until they all got blocked. But of the two like of Apple TV and Boxee, Boxee is definitely dominating in my house. It’s just a really cool interface and the way it organizes all the content or all the movies are just dumped into one little thing.

BRANDON: Yeah.

MATT: All the shows, all the apps on it. I use Apple TV mainly for the AirPlay. I don’t know and maybe some for the NetFlix but….

BRANDON: AirPlay is basically the ability to stream what’s on your iPhone or your iPad onto your TV.

MATT: Right. Yeah.

BRANDON: Cool. Yeah. So mainly the biggest time saver there is the ability to skip commercials which I think we’ve all been doing this for many years now. But you know when I first got my first Tivo back probably eight years ago, I remember thinking to myself, “Okay, this is going to save x number of hours just from the commercials alone.” The Tivo device costs let’s say $150 or something. By far, it pays for itself just on your time of being able to skip commercials.

MATT: I think the time shifting is like the coolest part because like especially like for you you have kids and like they go to bed what, 8’o clock probably?

BRANDON: Yeah.

MATT: So if you had a show that you really wanted to watch, it came on at 7 o’clock, you either chose not to watch it and spend time with your kids or you watch it and you didn’t get to spend time with your kids.

BRANDON: Right.

MATT: So now you can do both and I think that’s just the cool option.

BRANDON: Right. And it lets you prioritize what’s important at that time. Yeah.

MATT: Right.

BRANDON: Alright well, podcast and audio books are definitely a big one too. You’re listening to this podcast and you know chances are you might be listening to it while you’re driving or you know maybe you’re at work and you’re you know doing some minimal spreadsheet stuff or whatever you might be doing but the thing that most people don’t know about podcast at least on the phone is, Matt?

MATT: You can play them back in two times speed and you can get down twice as fast. Now it’s going to take a little bit of getting used to when you first turn this on like your iPhone or your iPod but stick with it, listen to like a couple of different shows or audio books or whatever you’re going to listen to and you’ll find that after 15, 20 minutes, your brain just starts moving in that speed and you’re starting to keep up and it’s just an awesome way to listen to things. In fact, it’s really weird once you get to something that’s doesn’t support it or you have to switch back to one time speed, it feels like everyone is talking in slow motion.

BRANDON: Yeah. I remember you telling me about this for the first time and it did take about three or four minutes for your mind to adapt to the new speed but it is amazing. It’s like looking at that 3D picture that they used to have back in the ‘90s where it takes a few minutes for your eyes to adjust and then once it does you’re going, “Oh my God, you’re right. There it is.” Same…

MATT: It still takes me a few minutes to adjust in the new 3D.

BRANDON: Right. But here’s how you do it. So if you’re let’s say you’re on an iPhone or an iPod touch, go ahead and hit the center of the screen and then you’ll see the progress bar at the top. On the top right, it says two times, 2x. Click that and then you can toggle through the 2x, the 1x and I think they even have a ½ x. So that’s where you do that, you know.

MATT: And I don’t know if Android has the same thing but Windows Phone 7 does not yet have it. So that’s some of the feedback I gave back to them that’s the essential piece of software that they need.

BRANDON: For sure. Alright. Next up is finances. You know we all spend a lot of time paying our bills and keeping records. If you’re not already doing bill pay and you know paying online, this would be a huge time saver for you.

MATT: I like your technique though of how you do everything on credit card. So can you talk about?

BRANDON: Sure. So my theory is I like to pay for everything with the credit card because it helps keep my record keeping to a minimum because it automatically makes the transaction. But by paying for everything with credit card, it also, I include paying my bills with the credit card. So you know things like paying your water bill, paying your—even if you can do it, you’re paying your gardener or your pool person or your housekeeper, if they’ll allow it I try to get everything paid by credit card because what ends up happening is then I only have one single bill to pay at the end of the month. So forget writing checks. So if you’re still writing checks, you’re spending too much time. But if you have to write checks, use the bill pay service on your bank’s website.

MATT: One thing I like about the way that you did things with the credit card plus you’re doing it directly through your bank is if you ever like, if you ever have a dispute and something is on a regular autopay that money is already out of your account and it’s a pain to try to dispute with your bank once something is already debited from your account. Credit card companies are so customer friendly that if you ever have to dispute something that was auto paid say, your power company charged you $800 one month instead of the normal you know $300 you know you could actually have some way of going back and disputing that whereas if they pulled that out of your bank already, tough luck. That’s going to be an uphill battle.

BRANDON: Right. Yeah. So it insulates you quite a bit.

MATT: Yeah. The other thing I like is you’re getting all those credit card points for all of that.

BRANDON: That’s right. That’s right. So there’s benefits. On the record keeping, since the transaction is recorded on your credit card, there’s one place where you can get all of the transactions. So if you ever do need to look up what this was for or what that was for or why I was charged $300, you can go to one place where all of it is and…

MATT: But even if you have multiple places like I put everything in Mint.com and like it pulls from all my different accounts everywhere and it gives me like one huge picture of everything like everything I have.

BRANDON: Well, that’s a great point. I mean let’s say, let’s take Mint.com. That’s basically an automated way of capturing all of the transactions you partake on a daily basis but the Mint.com has no clue what you spent using cash. So another place I like, just another reason I like to use credit card. And just to be you know just to make the one point about credit cards if you have a hard time managing your credit and you have bad credit and you’re just not the type of person that saves and you spend everything you make, maybe this is not the best thing for you. There are exceptions here for certain types of personalities, let’s call it, that should not be using credit cards. But if you are okay with you know paying your bill every month and in full and you have the ability to do so, I think credit card is a fantastic way to keep all your records straight and for your business, keeping it separate from your business.

MATT: That’s true. You know after watching all those stuff coming through CES this year, I’m really excited about the possibility of using my phone, what the near field computing stuff, as my whole wallet of credit cards. Just being on it like tap it on the little sensor, choosing—put this on the American Express and then I don’t have to carry all that stuff anymore. I don’t know if that automate anything else but you know I think that’s going to be cool.

BRANDON: Yeah. Why have a big fat wallet you’re carrying around when you can just keep it all on your phone, right? One device. One for everything. That’ll be fantastic.

MATT: Yeah. So look for those devices probably end of this year sometime.

BRANDON: Yeah.

MATT: Speaking of phones…

BRANDON: We have you know different voicemail transcriptions you could do. You have one that you like to use quite a bit, right, Matt?

MATT: I started out using Google voice because it’s a nice free service and it was you know really cool but you know I’m still waiting for Google to enable like number portability and a whole bunch of other features like it seems like they stuck it out there and then haven’t done anything with it for a year and a half.

BRANDON: More than that.

MATT: Yeah. It’s frustrating.

BRANDON: They’re still stuck on revision 2.3 after like two years.

MATT: Yeah. And then like the whole thing about not being the app on the iPhone which they finally got on so if you don’t have the Google voice app and you have Google voice, make sure you download that for your iPhone.

BRANDON: Describe what Google voice is for everybody that doesn’t know.

MATT: Okay. So what Google voice does is that it basically acts as one consolidated number for all your personal numbers so it does things like find me, follow me where I will ring a whole bunch of phone numbers so to ring your home number, your cell phone. You can get to ring your Skype number and stuff like that. It will also do the thing that I love it most for which is voicemail transcription. So if someone leaves you a voicemail, it will do speech recognition and send you a text of the summary of that. So I don’t have to sit there and listen on the phone unless the transcription is really bad and sometimes they’re absolutely hilarious. So it’s a free laugh because they use all machine transcription. So it does a good enough probably you can get the sense of what someone is saying and who said it but it’s not perfect by far.

BRANDON: Do you have any that you can remember that were pretty funny?

MATT: It could not understand my wife at all. Like everyone else did a pretty good job. My wife had no clue what she was saying. So I always got, really funny thing, I can’t remember the exact stuff but I know there’s a website where people are posting the funniest like Google voice transcriptions. Just Google for it and try to figure what it was. There were some really some funny things out there.

BRANDON: So what do you use now?

MATT: I switched over to Ribbit, ri-b-b-i-t-. It’s pretty much very similar service to what Google voice offers. They allow for the option of having a human transcribe your voicemail which for me has gotten a lot better quality. And at first they were a little slow doing that but now they’re pretty quick in the transcriptions done.

BRANDON: And how much does that cost?

MATT: It’s free right now. I have a feeling they’re eventually going to charge for that but I like that. Both their service is pretty good. I think there’s probably some other ones that are similar where you have that one number that does everything.

BRANDON: Yeah.

MATT: Those are two that seemed to be the biggest ones.

BRANDON: But with regarding to saving time, probably getting on the do not call list which is a D-N, what is that, dnd.org, I think it is. I’ll verify that and put that on the show notes but basically you can go to this website and make sure your phone number is added to the DND or DNC, sorry, do not call list, dnc.org, which allows you to not get phone calls from telemarketers.

MATT: You have to do that for cell phone or is that only for landlines?

BRANDON: Both, actually. You can do that for both. You can add your list to your phone even for cell phones because telemarketers sometimes do not necessarily know that it’s a cell phone. But if you add it to the list, it will take it off…

MATT: So if you’re in the US, it’s donotcall.gov. DNC will take you to the democrat.

BRANDON: Okay. Good call.

MATT: And they will definitely call you. Along the same lines with phone, things that you can do to save time around mail. So a service that I use for my mail is called Earth Class Mail and they basically have—it’s almost like a PO box and they can use a PO box where all your mail gets delivered there and they will do online scanning and make it so you can read all your like snail mail on your iPhone or iPad or computer or whatever which I like and saves me time and they’ll shred it and recycle everything that I don’t want. Then other thing that they will do for you if you get a lot of checks, they’ll deposit your checks for you and they charge I think like $30 fee for that a month. So if you just get one check a month, that may not be worth it but if you get lots of checks, they save you some time.

BRANDON: And what it’s cost per scanned item? That also cost something, doesn’t it?

MATT: I think it was, I can’t remember, like 20 cents or 25 cents or something.

BRANDON: Yeah. I have to say it’s about that, 25 cents.

MATT: And so you can choose what she scans so like there’s stuff that you get that’s obviously junk mail that you can just say, “Shred it. Don’t even open it.” There’s things that you know you may want to eventually forwarded to you in real mail and there are things that you can just read online and then shred them. Another thing like all that junk mail that you’re getting, reach one on online today and search for how to get rid of that and you know these are some things that I’m going to start doing is opt out from your credit card agencies. By default, they will share your information with anyone that they can sell it to. So all the credit reporting agencies, what are the—I can’t remember the three of them right now.

BRANDON: Aquafax, TransUnion and …

MATT: Experion.

BRANDON: Experion. You got it.

MATT: Yeah. We’re going to put a note, a link in the show notes to Privacyrights.org because they have a great article about all these different ways to get off all the different like coupons you get mailed and all that penny saver everything, all that stuff you get mailed. There’s ways to get off of all that stuff plus the credit agencies, very good articles, so we’ll link to that. And then of course you can just eliminate at getting real mail by signing up for electronic delivery of like your bills. You’re already on autopay but you know you may want to archive the PDFs that you get, anything that you can get on e-delivery and not get a mail from.

BRANDON: Yeah. It’s the one thing that people who send you bills really wanted you to do that I kind of agree with is that they don’t want to send you paper mail anymore. They cost them money and it cost you time so it’s a win-win.

MATT: The other thing like financial institution like you’re at Smith Barney or Fidelity or whoever, right, all those prospectuses that you get mailed every time they reinvest 25 cents of your dividend…

BRANDON: Right.

MATT: You know get all that e-delivered so that you don’t have to deal with it. You get an email that you’re never going to read anyway because you didn’t read the prospectus in the first place.

BRANDON: You’re a bad investor. You didn’t do your homework.

MATT: So…

BRANDON: Alright, next up commute.

MATT: So this is one that I’ve been experimenting lately with because my car got run into and it is in the body for the last couple of days and for the next couple of days so I have been taking public transit all around Los Angeles this week.

BRANDON: Wow.

MATT: And it takes longer but I get so much more done. I send emails. I read the news. I do all kinds of stuff that I couldn’t do while I was driving. I could tweet.

BRANDON: The only reason why that sounds weird is that you said you do it in LA. Nobody takes public transportation in LA but our listeners in Chicago are like, “Yeah, duh, I use the train every day.”

MATT: All the people in London and New York, they’re like, “What? Cars?”

BRANDON: Exactly. New York, “Taxi, please.”

MATT: In LA it is slower and it takes me longer to get places but I’m using all that time productively. And yeah, I could do listen to audio books and podcast and stuff while I was in the car but I mean there are things that you definitely should not be doing while you’re driving. Do not send email. Do not be tweeting. Do not be texting, all that stuff, right?

BRANDON: Right. Alright. Well, good. Audio books, I mean, what, you can get an MBA driving while listening to audio books. I mean there’s so much information available. I mean but you know we’re preaching to the choir because obviously anybody who’s listening to this knows that.

MATT: A great way to do something while you’re commuting is not to commute at all. Find a job or you know build your business so you can work from home.

BRANDON: Right. Speaking of traveling though, we’re going to Brazil in a month. We are able to put all of our trip information on Tripit.com which…

MATT: I’m addicted to Tripit. Until I found out about this maybe four, five months ago, and it’s just awesome because like I would always get, “Send me your travel plans,” you know. I was travelling for work or going somewhere doing whatever. I would always forget to send stuff to my wife you know. When I go visit my parents, my parents would want to know, “When are you arriving? Or you’re late.” Tripit manages all that for me so I just add them in there and now all of the details of everything I do, my flight, my you know what hotel I’m staying in, how to reach me you know if I’m delayed, all that stuff gets sent to everyone that I wanted to be sent to. It’s just awesome.

BRANDON: And I love the part that it notifies you if the flight is delayed or if there’s some problems with the…

MATT: I was actually on a flight where it like I knew it got cancelled before they announced it over the speaker at the gate so I went to the next flight gate and I got in like I got in the flight and other people didn’t because I knew it happened first.

BRANDON: Because of Tripit.

MATT: Because of Tripit and that was awesome.

BRANDON: And it’s free, right?

MATT: There’s a free and there’s a paid version. I can’t remember what’s different between the pro and the regular. I know tracking like your frequent flyer points is pro and some things like automatically sharing with the certain number of people is part of that. But I went ahead and bought it because I thought it was so cool. And then also the other feature that I liked is the reminder to check in on Southwest. So I’m always getting C boarding passes because if you’ve ever flown in Southwest, it’s like the first to print your boarding passes out within 24 hours gets A passes. So I would like forget about it until three hours before my flight and go print my thing out and I’ll be like the last to board with the middle C with no leg room. So now Tripit sends me a reminder like 24 hours to the minute of when I can check in and since I’ve done this I haven’t been lowered in like A34.

BRANDON: Nice. So just in general though, I mean traveling is fun when you’re doing it for pleasure but if you’re doing it for business the best way to do it is to not to do it at all. Matt and I are actually on Skype right now. We’re not in the same room. If we had to do business together, it would be online. So we could be on different parts of the world and be able to carry on business or you know just avoid the traveling altogether. So there’s lots of time…

MATT: I think it was episode 25 we did the whole show on this, right?

BRANDON: Yeah.

MATT: So if you want to know about like doing online meetings and communicating over the internet, go listen to the Communication episode.

BRANDON: Yeah.

MATT: It has lots of good details about that.

BRANDON: Yeah. So there’s also you know you can get a personal assistant to do a lot of things that you couldn’t do with the internet or with any certain tool. If you absolutely have to have somebody doing something for you, there are sites like RedButler.com. They have a large selection of services, anything…

MATT: I thought that was kind of cool. It’s kind of like commoditized personal assistant or you get a certain number of task that you want them to do.

BRANDON: Right. So…

MATT: So it’s kind of like a personal assistant like if you need a part time personal assistant.

BRANDON: Right. So…

MATT: You could always hire someone in you know the Philippines or something like a virtual assistant. One of the things that’s hard about that is you really want someone that’s awake when you’re awake so you could have him handle stuff…

BRANDON: Right.

MATT: … while you’re out and about and doing stuff, right?

BRANDON: And there are certain services that are in your area where you can get a personal assistant for you know certain tasks for certain amount of hours and they’ll handle it for you. Some require that it has to be virtual, you know, let’s say, make reservations or do research for you or those kinds of things that you have to do virtually or be able to just tell them or call them on the phone. Siri is also one of them, s-i-r-i.

MATT: That one is kind of like an automated little iPhone app which I thought was kind of cool. It’s kind of like the poor man’s personal assistant. It will search and aggregate stuff and find information for you and point you in the right direction for getting reservations and things like that.

BRANDON: Basically a concierge service, an automated concierge.

MATT: An automated one like it just it does voice recognition I think and it like says, “Here is how you get your reservation.”

BRANDON: Right. Right. That’s a good list. I think that was good. I mean…

MATT: Oh my gosh, that was a big episode.

BRANDON: Yeah. I mean everything from housework to you know travel and shopping. So if you guys have any other ideas, I know there’s plenty of ideas out there that all you have been able to automate your personal life and we want to hear them.

MATT: I want to know because I want to automate more so send us your ideas or put them on the comments for this episode because I would love to hear more ways to like get more free time.

BRANDON: Yeah. Matt is all about it. He loves doing this stuff. I love going over to your house and you got like boxes of package food on the front door step that you’ve ordered out of Amazon.

MATT: I forgot about my little robot vacuum cleaner, what is that?

BRANDON: Oh yeah. What is that? Robo…

MATT: Roomba.

BRANDON: Roomba, yeah. Those are great.

MATT: Yeah. So don’t forget that you can donate to Automate My Small Business and you know help contribute to the show and make sure that we keep putting out these episodes. It definitely helps us pay for hosting and the other things that we need to pay for, editing and all that stuff. You know we’ve had a couple donations but we’d like to have more to help support the show. We’re still on our experimental phase on donations. We’re off to making a decision sooner if we’re going to switch to advertising and make you guys listen to commercials or if donations will be enough to support the show.

BRANDON: Before we go, is there any book that you’ve read or want to talk about? I know we always usually have a book segment.

MATT: I just downloaded Trust Agents by Chris Brogan and Julie Ann Smith. It’s basically kind of about building and maintaining trust with your customers through social networking and kind of the shift in marketing from like the big commercial marketing of the ‘80s and ‘90s to more and more personalized marketing strategy. I haven’t started it yet so I can’t say if it’s good or bad or whatever but hopefully I would be able to report back on that.

BRANDON: Sounds good.

MATT: You? You’re still in hiatus?

BRANDON: My next book is the Four Hour Body, Tim Ferris. I think it’s off topic of what he typically writes although he writes a lot about that in his blogs. I want to know what he has to say about that.

MATT: Cool. So don’t forget to rate the show in iTunes. We hope you like it. But we want to hear your feedback and also you can always ask questions on the community site if you go to AutomateMySmallBusiness.com. Please post your questions and answer other people’s questions.

BRANDON: Alright. Thanks for listening guys. We’ll see you on our next episode.

You’ve been listening to Automate My Small Business. We hope you enjoyed this episode. To get a list of the links we’ve just talked about or download more episodes and How To videos, go to AutomateMySmallBusiness.com. Thanks for being with us and catch us next time on Automate My Small Business podcast.

Podcast music features, “Nothing’s Got Me” by Big Bad Sun, distributed by Magnatune. The Automate My Small Business podcast is engineered by Rick Eckman and transcribed by Flo Umali. And licensed under Creative Commons and licensed under Creative Commons Attribution No Derivative Works license and may be freely distributed to share with friends, co-workers and strangers.

  • Anonymous

    Excellent Podcast and advice!

  • Kevin
  • http://mattdotson.com/ Matt Dotson

    Lol … For just $999 I can get “used” milk from amazon.

  • Geoff

    Hey guys the Automate my life podcast & mp3 download seems to get cut off in the middle of it. (just after you start talking about housework) Also downloading it in Itunes keeps stopping and there seems to be an error

  • Carl

    Hey Guys – I am a huge fan. Wanted to check out the community at http://ask.automatemysmallbusiness.com/ but I can not seem to get through. Is it down or am I missing something?

  • http://mattdotson.com Matt Dotson

    Were you able to access it or are you still having problems?

  • http://www.facebook.com/rebeccagilmour Rebecca Gilmour

    LOVE THIS! Thanks again guys : )

  • http://mattdotson.com/ Matt Dotson

    Thanks Rebecca. This episode was a lot of fun to do. Sometimes we get so focused on work we don’t even think about the personal stuff that we hate doing, but drains our “free” time. I’m so much more relaxed this year after implementing some of these ideas.

  • http://mattdotson.com/ Matt Dotson

    Hey Carl, were you able to access the site yet, or are you still getting an error?

  • Brendon Livingstone

    For meal preparation I batch by cooking enough for two nights for the family – on the second night we just need to heat it up in the microwave – healthy, homemade, but less work. I also tend to chop my veges once for the whole week, stick them in plastic bags in the fridge.

  • Carl

    Having your medication delivered via mail for prescription drugs can also save you a lot of time and money. They will send your medicine without you needing to remember to call in for a refill. You can check with your insurance company and they will often point you to one they work with and the discounts are often better.

    Walgreens also has allows you to refill prescriptions online or through their new iPhone app which will remember your prescription numbers and eliminate the need to talk to the pharmacist.

  • http://mattdotson.com/ Matt Dotson

    I can’t believe I forgot that one! Great addition. I’ve used Medco, but they don’t automatically send the refills unless I tell them to. Maybe I’ll have to look around. I like the idea of an app (of course). Thanks again.

  • http://mattdotson.com/ Matt Dotson

    Funny, after we did the show I started batching some cooking, and it’s SO much easier. It takes 10% more effort the prep day and save 90% of the effort the eating day :)

  • Bernard Wilson

    Hi Matt and Brandon. Big fan of all your material, however I’d like to point something out. Walking your own dog, buying or preparing your own food, cleaning your own house… though you may be able to automate these processes, you’ve obviously mentioned these because you’ve classified these tasks as work as opposed to leisure. The truth is, many of these trivial activities in today’s society HAVE been classified as a “chore” and if you wish to “take back your time” then it’s essential that your mind categorises these activities as WORK.
    People like Rojek and Stebbins pioneered the study of leisure. Notably is Rojek’s classification of Casual Leisure in his book Leisure Theory (1997, pp. 392-393). I believe a lot of what you mentioned in this last podcast was in fact casual leisure however todays society is doing its best to reclassify these as “work”. What’s more, once you start going down this path, your mind set becomes more focused on this transition.
    There is one automation that you forget to mention that I believe is directly proportional to the amount of leisurely activities you engage yourself in (such as walking your dog, standing up and preparing food instead of ordering it from the couch) is… THE AUTOMATION OF YOUR HEALTH.
    If you wish to automate your HEALTH that individual may need to refocus your mindset to reclassify some of your “work” back to Casual Leisure including aerobic activity. Lets not beat around the bush here… over-weight issues is a huge health problem in my country Australia and yours. If we start to encourage a mindset that transforms casual leisure to “work” and then source a solution to automate your work tasks and “take back your time”, this will come at the expense of automation in your health.
    Bernard Wilson

  • http://www.facebook.com/dannie.nguyen Dannie Nguyen

    Right on the money! This is great! I recently quit my job to build a web/mobile platform that would allow everyone to either real-time crowd-source or automate their personal and household tasks. We could definitely use some of your sharing here! Our alpha/prototype is going live in less than a week! We’d love to get everyone’s feedback! Check us out and sign up to try us out at http://www.pindone.com! We appreciate any comment!

  • Bernard Wilson

    Perhaps you should do a podcast on how to “Automate your good health”. Topics to include:
    - Mindset. What examples are we imposing on future generations?
    - Work vs Leisure. How does todays society classify these? (Example: walk the dog, mow the lawn)
    - How to achieve common tasks through aerobic activity.
    - Our obligations to our society to promote an active mindset.
    - Automate work not leisure.
    - The reality of allocated “aerobic activity”.
    I hear everyone in the background saying.. “I’m not lazy… I allocate my aerobic activities (running, gym etc) and choose not to do things like household chores, walk the dog etc. The reality is… your mindset will ultimately determine your long term results. When you’ve programmed your brain to automate common tasks that may involve physical activity, you’re positioning your thought pattern into a domain of “automate physical activity”. You will condition yourself and peers/family close to you with the same virus in the long term. This is very evident in todays society, just look around you, our culture is based on exerting as little physical effort as possible, yet we are consuming more each year. Ask yourself, do you really want your kids growing up thinking that walking your dog and cleaning your house is “work” and that your health is best managed by allocation of aerobic activity? I don’t think so, it won’t happen, not when your mindset is positioned in the “automate physical activity” domain.

    Create an active mindset. Automate WORK not leisure. Reclassify your time. Promote good leisure ethics. Automate your health and you will not only “take back your time”, but create more time that will be available to you by increasing your existence on this planet we call home. – Bernard.

  • http://mattdotson.com/ Matt Dotson

    The work vs leisure thing is interesting. In fact I classify a lot of
    the things you mention as both work and leisure. For example cooking
    after a long day of work on Monday night before I have to run do
    something else seems like work. Cooking breakfast on a relaxed
    Saturday morning is leisure. Same goes for walking the dogs.

    For me it’s not the level of effort that makes me want to automate it,
    it’s the time and/or level of enjoyment. I don’t think physical
    activity plays a role one way or the other. It’s also whether I’m
    choosing to do it, or if I “have” to do it.

  • http://twitter.com/drsPIX Duane Stevens

    Thanks for the tip to listen to the podcasts in half the time! I have a new iPod Touch and didn’t know I could set the playback to 2x. I tried it and found that it was very listen-able right away. (Thanks for transcribing the show notes and links… I can’t take notes at twice the speed!)
    There were also some good tips on re-thinking about what time was valuable and what was not.
    I use the Amazon.com subscriptions for my ink-jet printer ink; I estimated how long between refills, and then signed up.

    For photograph PRINTS I use CostCo. The prints are at a discount, and if I have them mail them to me, the shipping is FREE. I can even drop-ship them to my family, so I don’t have to spend money and time on postage.

  • http://twitter.com/chrisbrisson Chris Brisson

    Kinda late, but in Rio be sure to check out Baja and the Sanitarium club. Great podcast guys :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/truckee Truckee Lynch

     Hey Guys,

    Just started listening to the show. Great stuff!

    Two tips for home.

    1. Rent
    (If you have the budget)Offer to pay your rent for a whole year in advance in exchange for %10 off. A friend of mine did this, awesome on so many levels.

    2. Craigslist has RSS feeds!
    Wouldn’t it be great to be able to respond to that ad for the car/apartment/job first and not waste hours continually digging through listings?
    On the lower right side of every search results page is an RSS link, add it to your reader and it’ll will continually populate with new posts that meet that criteria.

    For extra fun use the advanced search techniques found here.
    (http://www.craigslist.org/about/help/search)

    Thanks again for all the awesome resources!

  • Odiryan

    After listening, I added Pulse to my Samsung Galaxy- LOVE it! Thanks gents!
    -Ryan

  • cheap uggs for kids

    “She was always dry cough, his face to the cheekbones are prominent, and often too faint Ugg Australia Discount Code Is to blame the weather, blame the failure of third party or a business, then my heart unbearable burden on the unsatisfactory Ugg Classic Mini Boots.

  • cheap uggs for kids

    Ugg Classic Short
    Boots From the window overlooking the distant mountains, the whole
    sun rise on the hill, breaking the fog, shining on the quiet grass; a river
    meandering cheap uggs for kids qmocent21 Witt to save the unfortunate people
    that made the hopeless efforts of the flame is extinguished the last burning;

  • uggs outlet stores

    After reading, and benefited a lot

  • http://twitter.com/BizLawUSA Jacek Cieszynski

     It’s a great podcast. I just wanted to add that using evernote helps too.

    @bizlawusa:twitter

  • bingbingwa

    What do your wives do during the day?

  • Ayat Nile