Smartphones and tablets, along with the near-endless selection of apps, often seem like nothing more than time-consuming distractions. According to a study conducted by British psychologists, most people spend an average of five hours a day using their smartphones – that’s roughly one-third of a person’s total waking hours. Crazy, who are these people?! Lol!

While this may seem like the current direction for humanity (Wall-E?), we can always take a look at the bright side. There’s also a growing number of apps and devices that help you use technology to save time, instead of wasting it.

Let’s take a look at some of them:

Smart coffee makers

A good ol’ cup of joe can take a bit of time to brew. Instead of sacrificing a few minutes of sleep, many people end up spending hundreds of dollars a year on Starbucks.

With smart WiFi-enabled coffee makers like Mr. Coffee or iKettle, you can prepare your morning coffee simply by using your smartphone. You can schedule brew time and set up reminders so your coffee’s ready whenever you need it.


 

Workflow

Workflow is a great personal automation tool with more than 200 different commands and actions. The iPhone app can do just about anything – manage your contacts, organize your photos and music tracks, create PDFs straight from your browser, fix your schedule, and much more. This versatile automation tool won the 2015 Apple Design Award and the App Store Best of 2015 award.

 

Amazon Echo

Amazon Echo is an intuitive voice-activated control system that can turn any home into a smart home. You operate the device simply by using your voice, and the built in voice assistant called Alexa respons. You can use voice commands to play music, get news and weather updates, and more. The Echo is also compatible with a range of third-party smart home devices such as Philips’ Hue Lights or Samsung’s SmartThings. This makes it possible for you to take full control of your home with just simple voice commands.

11 Comments
  1. I find that apps and devices that are automated do improve your daily life. I hadn’t seen the smart coffee makers before, that’s something I’ll definitely have to invest in. With my phone I like being able to use an app called Tasker to perform tasks at specific times or with GPS. For example, I could make a task so that when I leave the house at 6AM, the phones bluetooth gets turned on (to use car phone), when I arrive to work, turn it off (to save battery).

  2. Well, if you really think about it, most people spend a lot of time in front of their computers, no matter if it’s for work or personal reasons, and I think that’s actually a pretty good idea that this world and the “make things more simple and organized” are meeting each other on a more personal way. I really liked the Workflow one, it seems like a little assistant, definitely useful (and kind of cute though).

    • I am ashamed to say this, but I am easily one of those persons who spends 5 and some days even more ours in front the PC or smart phone 🙁 It’s awful, and want to stop. So I see those apps hopefully as a way to automation a couple tasks and make life a bit more easy 🙂 Maybe in the future can come up with something that help us spend less and less time in front the computer? Maybe more apps to automation more tasks?

      • Don’t worry, buddy, I’m exactly like that especially when I’m on my summer break. I actually think that they would actually work for you, if you really commit to it, that I’m pretty sure that you will be able to :).
        A friend about a year ago mentioned something about an application who actually blocks every social media stuff, I’m not sure if that would work for you, but it’s definitely helpful when you’re trying to study for finals, I think that he didn’t mention the name of it but I’m pretty sure that if you google it you will find one.

  3. I’ve tried Amazon Echo and it’s a pretty neat piece of technology, it recognises a lot of popular devices (tvs, lights etc.) even though the voice commands are quite tacky.
    As for mobile automatization I’ve been using IFTT and Tasker for a while now, both pretty strong in terms of scheduling your phone to do something or giving it automatic commands, definitely give them a try!

  4. I hadn’t heard of the smart coffee makers. As someone who likes to have my coffee ready the moment I get up, I suppose I have to get myself a wi-fi enabled coffee maker, get the app and I cab have my hot cup of coffee ready at exactly the time I want it.

    I just wish we’d get more of them automation apps. They’ll make every day life easier for most people but they’ll also make them lazy.

  5. Some of those apps sound amazing! Specially the coffee one, I can see how that one could save us some time in the morning, because after all sometimes a couple extra minutes can make a huge difference. God knows I need less time in front the smart phone/computer, so that kind of apps might help me get some time off those devices. I really need that.

  6. About Echo, I don’t like the fact that it’s always listening to your voice and sending that data back to Amazon. I mean, Amazon is a big company that wants you to buy all you need from them and they are always listening to you so they do know what you need even before you decide to log into their website and search for something.

    The same thing applies to Google Now and Microsoft’s Cortana.

  7. More than the devices, it is the apps that make life more convenient for us. I have heard about one that keeps checking your blood pressure and heart bit while you work out and helps your metabolism by telling you when to stop. There are so many devices around that we could not even think about just a few years back. The reality of scientific invention is really more fascinating than science fiction.

  8. I am all for technology, and probably quite guilty of spending the mentioned 5 hours a day on my smartphone. I love the idea of smart items for everyday tasks. That being said, I do see a future that leaves us dependant on technology and smart devices. It will both help and hinder our everyday lives, and smartphone dependancy does limit the amount of time spent on actual social interaction.

  9. I’m actually surprised people haven’t caught up before. So many of us have a smartphone, smartwatch or something along the line. It’s just a matter of time before we can control everything in our homes with a single device. Then comes of course the question of security. That one device have to be really secure.

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