Did you know that the average American owns 10 electronic devices?
I am pretty sure my family — especially my tech-savvy teenage children — each exceed the average for this particular statistic!
While many electronic devices and tech advances may seem overwhelming in an ever-increasing digital age but there are ways that we can — and should — use these advances to live a simpler, streamlined life.
• Safe and Sound: One of my favorite tech upgrades that has made my life simpler — and also eased my mind — is the use of home security systems such as Ring or Blink.
While nothing can replicate the services provided by home security systems that monitor your home for fire, carbon monoxide, and intruders — these types of systems can add a layer of security that you can literally access at your fingertips at any time.
Security cameras help reduce stress by allowing you to see what is going on while you are away.
I can tell you that during our last vacation, it made my anxious son feel better to be able to literally check in on his new kitten from 900 miles away!
There are many different types of systems out there, many of which are integrated with other smart devices in your home like lights or door locks.
Whether you want to monitor your pet’s activities while you are at work or protect your home, there are so many more affordable options out there.
Some good options to consider include Ring, Blink or Nest.
• It’s a Date!: As much as I lament how much time I spent on my phone, one of the great things about smart devices is the seemingly limitless options they have to help me keep my day-to-day schedule straight.
While Google Calendar is a simple option that I find integrates well with my e-mail and helps me make sure I keep my personal and work schedules on track. I can also integrate my kiddos’ busy schedules too!
While I like Google for two simple reasons — it is easy to use and free — there may be other options that can help you get track of your days using your smart devices.
If you work for a company or group that uses Microsoft, you may find that Outlook’s calendar option is a better one, simply because it will integrate with your work calendar and other things you use daily. Other honorable mentions to consider for your scheduling savvy include Apple Calendar or Fantastical.
• Shop Until Your Drop — From Your Couch: One habit I truly embraced during our quarantine time was the ability to order anything I needed for my family and have it safely delivered to my front door.
Grocery ordering apps such as InstaCart or Doordash, combined with individual store shopping apps that let me order what I need and either pick it up or have it delivered the same day, have been life-changing.
I don’t know about you, but I used to dread my Saturdays, which were my designated grocery shopping day!
I would spend my afternoon walking the aisles of the stores to get all the groceries and goods my family needed for the week ahead.
Now, I simply menu plan — more on that later — and then spend a few minutes on Friday evening doing some online shopping for pickup or delivery the next day.
It has literally given me hours of my weekend back! If you really want to simplify life, don’t forget about the many food delivery apps that literally allow you to order from most restaurants and have it delivered to your door.
This comes in very handy when your teenage son forgets to take his lunch to work and needs a sandwich.
GrubHub, InstaCart, or UberEats have your back! No more spending a half hour or more in traffic, wasting gas, just to pick up your favorite pizza or wings!
If you don’t see your favorite sandwich shop or restaurant on these apps, you can always request that they be added — or call them to see what delivery options they offer!
• Alexa: Simplify My Life: One of the things I love about technology in my house is how well some of the smallest things can do so much in my house.
Wondering about the weather? Ask Alexa (or Echo or Siri — whichever home assistant brand you prefer) can tell you.
Need to set multiple alarms or reset the thermostat? These home assistants can do it all — and you don’t even need a ton of tech-savvy to do it.
You literally just need to know how to speak clearly and give instructions!
Need an idea for a meal? Just ask your home helper what you can make using, say ground beef and cheese and she will give menu ideas. You can kick things up a notch by getting a home assistant with a small screen and using it to do everything from check on the security camera in your child’s room or turn it into an instant intercom to announcing dinner to everyone in the family.
Life-changing and once you get past the learning curve, as simple as it gets!
Some options to consider include Amazon Echo, Google Nest, or Apple Home Pod.
So whether you are a tech-savvy homeowner or are late to the party, there are so many ways to use smart technology for more than just updating your social media feed!
(Editor’s Note: Kristine George is a freelance journalist who resides in Easton.)