Use Technology to Simplify Your Life

technology
source: Sean Loyless

This week we’re talking about simplifying family life. Tune in all week for strategies and tips for every area of life, and if you’re looking for more in-depth resources, be sure to check out the Huge Simplify Family Life eBook Sale!

Earlier this week, we talked about the importance of putting technology in its place to simplify your life.

In that post, I promised to share some of my favorite ways that technology simplifies my life as well, so in no particular order, here are my favorite tools:

Gmail

I remember when Gmail first came out. I was hesitant to make the switch and actually didn’t switch over until a year or two ago. But now it is by far one of my favorite online tools. I love that I can check my email from anywhere, that I can easily search my archived emails and that I can organize them any way I want. Keyboard shortcuts and Gmail labs make it even easier to manage my email load, which definitely simplifies my life!

Plan to Eat

You’ve probably heard me sing the praises of Plan to Eat a time or two already, but it really does simplify my life, so I’m an enthusiastic fan. With Plan to Eat, I can keep all of my recipes at my fingertips, easily drag them to my calendar and then use the automatically generated shopping list to head to the grocery store and get what I need. It really doesn’t get any simpler than that!

Google Calendar

The really cool thing about Google Calendar is how easy it is to share calendars with other people. My mom and I share a meetings and appointments calendar, the Life Your Way contributors and I share an editorial calendar, and my husband and I share our Plan to Eat meal planning calendar. Like Gmail, I can access my calendars from anywhere, which makes it that much more convenient.

Skype

A lot of people think of Skype as a video chat service, and it definitely does that, but I mostly use Skype for its instant messaging. With Skype, I’m able to chat about work issues with various people, touch base with some of my best friends, share business ideas and questions with other bloggers and more. I keep Skype open pretty much whenever I’m on the computer (although I’m selective about who I Skype with), which means I don’t ever feel alone in this crazy work-at-home mom gig.

Facebook

Oh, yes, Facebook. It’s amazing that a site can get such a bad rap as a time waster when it’s the most popular site on the entire internet! There’s no doubt that Facebook can be a time waster, but I’ve also found that it can make connecting with friends — old and new — a ton easier.

My secret for using Facebook productively? I only friend people that I truly want to stay in touch with, and I only “like” pages that I really want to hear from. In the last couple of months, I have unliked all but a few pages (I don’t need to see blogs there because they’re already in my Reader) and culled my friends list to 200 people. I also hide all the stories about Farmville and the other games so that I’m only seeing pictures, statuses, links and notes.

I no longer feel like I have to check in a bazillion times a day because it doesn’t go that fast, and I’m able to spend more time interacting with the people I really want to interact with but might not have time to otherwise. Perfect!

This obviously just scratches the surface of what’s available to simplify your life, so now I want to know…

In what ways does technology simplify your life?

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