Anna Burgess Yang

Tinkering With Ideas #037: The smart home

Published about 1 month ago • 2 min read

Hello fellow tinkerer 👋 -

Happy Wednesday. I saw the solar eclipse on Monday this week. Well, sort of. My area was 93% eclipsed which, as it turns out, is still a lot of sun. But the fun part was that I got a call from the middle school about 30 minutes before peak viewing time. My son had a sore throat and I needed to go pick him up.

When I arrived at the school, about 800 middle schoolers were standing outside with their eclipse glasses on. My son and I stayed for a bit so we wouldn't miss the moment.

1) Reflection:

In my last newsletter, I promised I would share my new approach to goal-setting.

Instead of planning out year-long goals, I set goals for 90 days. As it turns out, this was very effective. I could see progress over a much shorter period of time. Then, starting on April 1, I set new 90-day goals.

I find it really hard to track year-long goals. I lose momentum. But with 90-day goals, I stayed on track.

I use Notion to track my progress. I also created a progress bar with a simple formula. I have to enter the day of the quarter (for example, April 7th is the 7th day of Q2), and then it calculates the percentage of the full quarter (7 divided by 90).

I also include the percentage of the overall year, but that's just for fun.

2) Product:

I'm obsessed with smart home devices. We have everything from Amazon Alexa devices in most rooms in the house, to an Echo Auto for my car, to smart bulbs and outlets.

Voice commands are my favorite — particularly announcements. I can say, "Alexa, announce it's time for dinner" and the words "It's time for dinner!" will reverberate through every Alexa device in the house. Or, if I need to talk to one of my kids, I'll say, "Alexa, announce [kid name] come here!"

3) Tip:

One of my favorite uses for my smart bulbs is a morning wake-up routine. I get up very early and stumble to the coffee pot and then to my desk to write.

I have a routine set up with my smart bulb (through the Alexa app). It turns on my lamp at 3:00 am. That way, whenever I arrive at my desk, the light is already on for me. I'm not fumbling around in the darkness.

It's one of the little things that makes my day better.

That's it for this issue of Tinkering! See you again in two weeks.


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Anna Burgess Yang

Writer. Productivity Geek. Always Tinkering.

Practical tips to make your day better & make your life easier.

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