2019’s Goal #3 – I am automating my home 🧹💆‍♂️

If you’re wondering what my goal #1 and #2 are, I am yet to write about them. 😂 In the meantime, I am ready to talk about my 3rd goal for 2019 i.e. automating my home.

Well, It’ll be a side “hobby” and I’ll take it real slow. Things that I’ll automate are:

  • Cleaning (With a Robot Vacuum Cleaner which potentially has good mobile-app integration so I don’t have to be home to start the device)
  • Lights (voice-controlled with Phillips Hue Bulbs)
  • Fan (voice-controlled if I find a workaround with my existing fan system)
  • Geysers (voice-controlled with Smart plugs)
  • TV (By installing a separate RC signal with Raspberry-Pi)
Few of the things (to start with) I’ll automate

Why automate?

This goal of automating the house comes from my long-lived fascination of 3 things:

  • Clean living environment – I am extremely fanatic about cleanliness. I’ve picked it up from my mom. Since the time I started living alone, I have always cleaned my house on my own. I don’t like dust getting accumulated for a longer period of time (2-3 days max is my threshold). Also, I don’t like unorganized stuff around me – this comes from being a designer as I am constantly trying to find symmetry and better layout in my designs and that transcends to my lifestyle as well. ✨
Cleanliness and organized stuff is what someone will notice first in my house
  • Productivity hacks – I have always gravitated towards the idea of improving productivity. I keep trying productivity hacks every now-and-then to better the output from what I already have, either for fun or for work. Although these experiments don’t lead to the desired output most of the times, irrespective of that, I do like to optimize little/big things around me. (P.S. I mostly do it for fun/learning. I am not a productivity-Hitler). 👨‍💻
  • Automation – Since the day I read the book, The 4 Hour Workweek, I started thinking about automating stuff that either takes a lot of time to get done or that I do not enjoy doing repetitively. For example, I like to prepare my breakfast and order lunch & dinner every day but then again, sometimes I just don’t want to. So I automated this part of my toutine with a service like Eat.Fit in Bangalore. Similarly, in my day job as a Product Designer, I introduced a design system so it can automate the component update process through all my mockups and hence speed up my design process (Read about why design systems are important here: Brad Frost’s Blog. 🤖

So what first?

I have always cleaned my house myself. I used to do dust-cleaning and mopping every weekend when I was in Pune. But then I moved to a bigger house in Bangalore. While dust cleaning was still manageable, mopping floor every weekend used to take a lot of time and effort. So finally, I started mopping every alternate weekend And for dust cleaning, I bought a hand-held vacuum cleaner last year expecting it to make my life easier. And honestly, it did make my life easier as mopping (a harder task) was down from 4x to 2x every month. 💪

But here’s the twist. In India, houses pick up dust easily because they’re mostly surrounded by busy roads and construction sites. Yes, the construction never stops in this country and we barely use any tools to isolate dust at construction sites. This led me to automate the dust-cleaning process for my house once and for all.

So, I am taking the first step towards automation by buying a vacuum robot to automate floor dust-cleaning. After researching a lot on Vacuuming Robots made by companies like iRobot, Dyson, and Xiaomi, it seemed like all of them were doing the same job quite decently but the prices varied a lot because of the brand names. Xiaomi’s robot seemed like the best of the lot as it was 1/2th the price of iRobot and 1/4th the price of a Dyson robot. Plus this was my first try at vacuuming robots, so I didn’t want to spend a lot and finding that my money wasn’t worth it.

Xiaomi’s Robot Vacuum Cleaner packaging on the left and the device itself on the right

The Xiaomi’s Robot Vaccum Cleaner collects dust from the floor as far as it can see and reach; it cleans in a systematic path vs a random one and if the battery gets low while cleaning, it goes to the charging dock, charges itself and resumes back from the same spot. The best part is that it comes with a really intuitive app developed by Xiaomi itself. Have a look below.

From left to right: Mapping of the house done by the house, You can choose in what mode the robot needs to clean, You can also ask the robot to clean only specific areas drawn by you, and you can also move the robot manually using a remote control interface from the app. 🧹

The Verdict

After buying this robot and using it for 8+ weeks now, I can attest that I wake up to a clean house every day without having to worry about it. Dust accumulation has gone down and because of that, I am mopping the house only alternate weekends or maybe less. As for the robot maintenance, the dust is very easy to dispose off as it gets contained in a filter box, so that’s also an “easy” one and contributes to less work/time spent on robot maintenance. ✅

In a nutshell, I’ve been using this for 8+ weeks now and I think this will be one of my best return-on-investment purchases of 2019. 💰

Why this blog?

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Since childhood, I hated books. I had this perspective that people who read books, write novels, articles or blogs are boring. They live a monotonous life and are introverts. I still remember myself tagging few people as “boring” because of this particular notion.

Still today, I hate to study and you know the reason, it’s because the topics are not of my interest (which is widely a generalized case). But as I grew up and developed interest in design, I decided to make a career in it. Later, while moving forward, I started developing questions like “how to be more focused towards your goal”, “what to do when off-tracked”, “how to lead a good life” and so on. I wanted answers. This led me to follow some self-help blogs and writers (offering the same) like Zen Habits, Paulo Coelho, Robin Sharma and others which at some extent answered my questions. I searched everywhere and got many answers but the most common of all was: TO WRITE. I was amazed by discovering that “writing” was on the top of the chart. So to give writing a try, I begun documenting my routine and works (which is a short of writing, I decided to stick to) from 24th of September, 2012 (5 days after I launched my portfolio website).

I started to plan in advance like what I wanted to do the next day, next week, next month or next year. By documenting every step, I discovered that my brain had started to re-wire and it acted accordingly. I tried to maintain the pace of documentation, but failed many times during the course.

By writing I dumped whatever’s in there, in my head and those write-ups reflected my thinking level, my personality, what I am now, what I wanted to be, what I needed in life, etc. Writing made my thinking visible. It has refined my ideas. It has enhanced my power of perception. As I believe that “what you think, you can write and what you write, you can think upon”.

I still document my plans and it was only through the process of writing and to cross-check my position which made me realize that through writing or expressing my thoughts, I can always know about myself, where I stand and what actions do I need to take to make any changes. Also by writing something knowingly or unknowingly you’re trying to analyze the content. So I think this whole writing process is a tool to analyze and improve your personality in many ways. These results forced me to admit and appreciate that journalist and writers who have continued to read and write their whole life are not only making a living out of it, but are also improving their personality day-by-day. They re-wire their brain functions by these processes.

Relevantly, this book: The Shallows – What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains, written by Nicholas Carr, explains how the internet is deteriorating our brain functions in many ways, is a must read.

Thus, finally I decided to start a blog only to pen down and analyze my views on a particular subject so that I can act accordingly, in near future. Some of you who might be thinking me as adopting a profession in writing (as a professional blogger), I’d like to clarify two things:

  1. What this blog is not about
  2. What this blog is about

This blog is not about:

  1. making money
  2. trying to change anyone’s life (not my motto) because I think people change their own lives
  3. getting readers or views
  4. promoting something (although I am promoting “writing” here)
  5. starting a career in blogging
  6. showing my knowledge

This blog is about:

  1. developing a writing habit
  2. expressing my thoughts and opinions
  3. improving myself by analyzing my views

And, by the way, it’s my mom’s birthday today! So CHEERS!

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Your visit is really appreciated. Enjoy reading and writing to have an open mind.