As I mentioned here, my Experiment in Living for January is to complete a Kaizen activity every day.
Here’s every Kaizen activity I’ve completed so far and why and how.
I was so excited about Kaizening that I did a few on the first day of the year.
iRobot Ramp to Utility Room
Our iRobot couldn’t make it over the lip in the floor from the kitchen to the utility room. Obviously, that meant I had to vacuum more and it needed to be fixed.
Turns out there’s something called a threshold to connect floors of different types. I just bought an extra-wide one, and it worked.
iRobot coffee table issue
The iRobot was also just tall enough to get stuck under the coffee table. I used the iRobot virtual wall barrier to stop it from attempting to clean under the coffee table.
FYI the virtual wall barriers use infrared light to “tell” the iRobot where not to go so your iRobot has to be able to “see” the light that comes from the top of the barrier. I had to flip the barrier upside down to make it work with the coffee table.
Set up Soda Stream
Got it as a gift. Turns out to be pretty cool.
Jan 2 - Reminder and Subscribe and Save for AC Air Filter
We had literally never changed the air filter of our AC unit. I set up a subscribe and save on Amazon to get a three new air filter every third month and a reminder on Alexa to change it every month.
The little optimization trick here was to have the reminder on Alexa always occur the day after the fresh filters are delivered so you can always store as few air filters as possible. Reducing storage (ie just-in-time manufacturing another Japanese manufacturing concept) has been one of the themes of the Kaizens.
(I would have bought one air filter at a time, but they don’t sell them in singles)
Jan 3 -Update 1Password to Mobile-Friendly Password
if you aren’t using 1password, you should be. It securely stores all your passwords, is easy to share with family members, and because it integrates with face id on your phone and touch id on the Mac I basically never have to enter a password.
However, occasionally I do. I had a password with _ in them, which is on the third keyboard screen on mobile, ie a real pain to enter. I’ve since updated it to a (still very long and secure) mobile-friendly password. It probably saves me an enter five minutes and an hour’s worth of frustration over my lifetime.
Jan 4 - Clean Out Session Buddy Sessions
I use Session Buddy to save Chrome tab configurations for different projects. If you find yourself keeping browser tabs/windows open, I highly recommend it.
Sometimes, my list of saved sessions gets a little long, so I cleaned it out.
Jan 5 - Update Calendly Email to Kevin@kevincmclaughlin.com
I use calendly all the time but my clients would sometimes find my personal email through it. No more.
Jan 6 - Put backup toothbrush in guest bath
in case I need to leave the house in a hurry and the main bathroom is occupied.
Jan 7 - Place Alexa reorder commands
Super happy with this one. You can order/reorder items directly from Alexa, but it can be a little hard to remember what to say to make sure you get the right product. So I created the below lists and placed them in the room where the items are stored (ie where you’ll realize that you’re out or about to be out of the item).
Again this is just in time manufacturing thing. Now we can store less of all these items because they’re so easy to reorder. I also made sure that these commands would order the smallest about (ie two toothpaste packages instead of six). Storage is expensive!
Jan 8 - Light in Taj Mahal
we received this awesome Taj Mahal as a wedding present and it turns out that it’s a lamp. I bought a smart bulb a set it up to flash the colors of the Indian flag to show off (and other more soothing colors most of the time).
Jan 9 - Jupyter Env Configuration
I Jupyter Notebooks all the time for work. Setting up these configurations will probably save me hours a month. Exactly the kind thing it’s hard to make yourself do but is totally worth doing.
Jan 10 - Shelf Cable Covers
After setting up the Taj Mahal, the cables on the shelf were a little messy. Let me express my firm belief that technology should be as invisible as possible, and that includes cables.
I used these things to hide the cables.
Jan 11 - Buy Backdoor Slippers
just needed backyard shoes for taking out the trash
Jan 12 - Movies to Watch App
I wanted an app where I could add the movies I want to watch and it would automatically track which of my streaming services the movie is available on (or send me notifications when it is). That app is JustWatch.
Now instead of endless scrolling through NetFlix, we can actually be deliberate about what we want to watch.
(Also I shared the password with my wife via 1Password)
Jan 13 - Setup RSS feeds for Instapaper
Jan 14 - Optional calendar
I always come across stuff that I might want to do. I created a calendar to track these.
Jan 15 - Get Austin Energy Ecobee Rebate
turned out to be a little bit of a pain but got it done.
Jan 16 - Write Script for Adding Missing Transactions to Mint
Mint sucks. Use something better (will be a new Kaizen activity).
Jan 17 - Tile in car
Tile is an awesome way to keep track of your stuff. It’s perfect for keeping track of where you’ve parked your car.
Jan 18 - Setup VPN
VPNs are the way to be secure and Encrypt.me is the way to do a VPN.
Jan 19 - Setup Encrypte.Me and Malware Bights for Wife
Turns out 1password, encrypt.me, and Malware Bights are all included in the Eero secure+ package. Since I had an Eero already, this turned out to be cheaper. I added them all to the Eero secure+ package and added them to my wife’s computers and phone.
FYI, I can’t recommend Eero enough. It’s expensive, but the best.
Jan 20 - System for filtering highlights to review and highlights not to review in Readwise
Readwise actually makes your Kindle (and Instapaper) highlights useful by creating a daily review for you. However, I had some 5k highlights, which was totally unmanageable.
I designed this system to make sure I don’t highlight too much (and remove highlights that aren’t needed) and keep up with my tags.