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Married to technology… or by it?

July 20, 2013

Rings on keyboard

Technology rules our household.

Picture an ultra-modern house, seemingly decorated by Apple. Sparsely furnished with a multitude voice-activated, ambient-light sensing, auto-cleaning gadgets.

Good, you’ve imagined my dream home, alas, this is not the type of home that I live in nor what this post is about.

I’m talking about everyday technology, which is within reach of most people, that my wife and I use to manage our home.

I’m talking about computers, iPhones, and cloud-based services on the Internet (stay with me).

We have been using technology this way for a number of years. Previously it was all driven by convenience but lately I’ve realised this has turned into necessity.

It dawned on me; is this a new way of living? Are other families doing this, too?

Our day-to-day lives run predominantly on the following apps/services/technologies:

Using these tools we share important information with each other easily and effectively.

They help to minimise conflict and miscommunication (read: less arguments). And they save time, leaving us more family time to do non-administrative things.

Disclaimer: these tools are not silver bullets – you have to actually want to communicate, and have a reasonably healthy marriage to begin with.

We already had a manual process, identified an opportunity to streamline it and solved it with technology (there’s an app for that;))

I’ve written a bit of a blurb about how we use each below.

Let me know if you’re like us and reliant on technology to run our lives, or the complete opposite – you write each other letters and read them by candlelight in a log cabin on the mountains. I won’t judge 😉

Google Calendar

I have touched on this in an old blog before, but it’s still probably the simplest but most effective thing that we do. That is; actually use calendars, for one, and then share them with each other electronically.

It’s so effective, because it means not only can we make plans and stick to them more easily, we can actually be more spontaneous, too.

Last minute plans are easy to make: a quick glance at the calendar and “I’m in boys; the wife already has plans tonight and we’ve got nothing on in the morning.”

Dropbox

Probably the main thing we use a shared folder in Dropbox for now is our annual tax return. It gives us a location to collect and store tax-related documents through out the year then at tax time we can easily go through it and fire it off to the accountant.

We also use it to collaborate on budgeting spreadsheets, or any documents relating to a party, event, renovations, etc we’re planning.

AnyList

We have two shared shopping lists on AnyList – one for groceries and the other just for miscellaneous things.

This app has stopped us doubling up on buying the milk, bread and eggs… or worse, each thinking the other has got them!

Also, a quick check of this app while I’m out and I’ll know to grab that obscure baby-related or feminine product. And on the flipside I simply add the shirt or socks or jocks that I need to the list and the next time my wife is at the shops they magically get purchased and brought home. Love it!

Baby-Connect

The latest addition to our arsenal. We decided to use a formal system to manage care for our baby because she has some special needs to manage.

So in the Baby-Connect iPhone app we log every nappy change, feed, milestone, medication, etc.

While I’m at work, I can check up on how bub is tracking via push notifications on my iPhone or via a web interface. Each time she goes in for a check up or appointment (very often!), we can show the docs a report with all the stats they need and more.

When one of us has a lie down or is out, the other doesn’t have to bother them with when bub’s next feed is, how much to give her, when her last nappy change was, if meds have been given, etc – it’s all there in the app.

Email/Text Messages

Surely I don’t need to explain this one, but I included it because I wanted to point out that this has really just become an escalation point!

We email each other details or context around anything we may have logged in Baby-Connect or an event we put in the calendar.

We text each other if there is something that needs more urgent attention.

And yes, occasionally we even call each other – but it’s usually either very urgent or a call just to say ‘hi’… because all the business has been taken care of through our effective use of technology 🙂

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