They say if you fail to plan you plan to fail. So goes it when it comes to implementing your personal automation strategy. We start our Top 20 list of personal automation hacks with what you should do before you kick off any new project; planning and prioritising.

What are you trying to achieve with personal automation? This should be a simple list of the tasks you want to achieve with personal automation. This could be as simple as a few things such as;

  • implement a smart lighting system
  • automatically log my water consumption
  • switch the garden lights when I’m walking down the path

Then prioritise this list in order of importance to you. Don’t worry about budget or practicality for now. Just think about what tasks would you give you the most happiness or have the biggest impact on your life if you achieved that task today.

If you want to go deep and meaningful with it you can treat this more like a vision board or a set of OKRs (Objectives and Key Results), taking a leaf out of the tech companies we follow. Objectives is the vision you want to achieve. So when it comes to personal automation, have a seat, close your eyes and think about the things you want to achieve by implementing personal automation;

  • do you want your life to be simpler?
  • do you want cohesion amongst various family members, or
  • do you want a project you can continue to do whilst in continued isolation?

Pick no more than 3 Objectives. Under those Objectives are the Key Results. Pick up any management book and they’ll tell you that Key Results is a metric that quantifies your Objective. So you want your life to be simpler? I can achieve that if I implement a smartlighting system by the end of winter.

Again, if you don’t need to go all kumbaya, you know what you’re here for and you just want to get shit done you can just go straight to the tasks, which are essentially the Key Results.

Why we feel planning and prioritising your goals is so important is that it sets guidance for the decision and trade-offs you have to make when implementing your personal automation hacks. Believe it or not you may not be able to achieve everything on your list or you may realise that the technology isn’t fully there yet to implement (or is too costly) so planning and prioritising helps you anticipate those issues ahead of time.

So consider this a hack within a hack. Or a hack to give the rest of your hacks context.