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Secure Home Automation Systems for Different Lifestyles

Secure Home Automation Systems for Different Lifestyles

As more home automation systems hit the market, customers continue to adopt the new technologies. More than a quarter of all Americans and nearly half of millennials own at least one smart home product, and 87% of people who have smart home products say these items make their lives easier. Within the large market of home automation systems made for the average American, there are several products that are ideal for specific lifestyles, from retirees to families with young children.

Pet Lovers

As a working parent of pets, you’re faced with the same tough decision every day: stick your pets outside in the yard — where there’s potential harm — or keep them locked inside and risk them making a mess.

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With electronic and magnetic smart doors from PetSafe, you can let your pets go in and out as they please without compromising the safety of your home. The smart door connects with a smart collar that holds a key. When the door reads the key’s unique signal, it will unlock for your pet to go through the flap. Once the smart door no longer senses your pet’s key, the flap locks back into place. The key is programmed to let pets wearing the connected collars use the door, so stray animals or burglars can’t enter through the PetSafe door. With this smart pet door, you can let your pets leave the house day or night, whether or not you’re home, and feel confident that your house is secure.

College Students

Life as a college student is like a four-year juggling act; you are balancing a million different projects at once. When you’re preparing last minute for chemistry class, you may accidentally leave the hot plate on in your apartment or forget to turn off a lamp in your dorm.

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The Belkin WeMo family of simple and customizable products makes it easy to remotely control and automate your daily tasks. The WeMo Insight Switch turns any electronic product into a smart device that you can control from anywhere. You can also use connected Belkin devices, from smart coffeemakers to security cameras to lightbulbs. Once your devices are connected, you can use WeMo’s app to remotely turn your lights on and off, set your coffeemaker to brew, monitor your living space, and more. With Belkin WeMo, you can boost your dorm or apartment security and simplify a few of college’s many daily tasks.

People Who Live Alone

Living alone has its perks. You can set the thermostat to your preferred temperatures, and your place can be as clean or messy as you want. But, sometimes it can be unsettling to come home alone late at night or after you’ve been away on vacation.

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Smart home security cameras, such as the Nest Cam, can help provide peace of mind and comfort with the knowledge that technology is watching over your home when you’re there and when you’re away. Thanks to advanced Night Vision, the Nest Cam provides 24/7 live streaming. The motion and sound detectors are smart enough to distinguish pets and background noises from irregular movements and strange sounds. Once the camera picks up movement or sound that’s out of the ordinary, you’ll immediately receive an alert on your smartphone. With a smart security camera in each room, you can have a second pair of eyes and ears in your home — all while enjoying life without a roommate.

Young Families

Whether the children are leaving for school or coming home from soccer practice, they’re constantly in and out of the house. There’s a good chance that your children will occasionally forget to lock the door or will lock themselves out.

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Smart locks can eliminate these safety risks. The Yale Keyless Deadbolt lock enhances the security of your front door and allows you to control your locks remotely from anywhere. Instead of physical keys, each family member is assigned a unique user code. You can add up to 25 user codes, which is a great feature if you regularly have friends or family stay over at your house. Provide guests with user codes that you can delete when they leave instead of making copies of your keys. You can also enable an automatic re-lock function, which is a great security feature when you have children who forget to lock the front door.

Retirees

The retired life is meant to be full of relaxation and enjoyment. You don’t want to worry about the safety of your home when you’re traveling or visiting family and friends. As a retiree, the ideal home technology is simple to automate and centered on safety.

Out of all the home automation hubs on the market, Samsung SmartThings has several features ideal for those who want to “set it and forget it.” Like other smart home hubs, you can control your home — from appliances to security cameras — all from one app on your smartphone. The SmartThings app also has features like Daily Routine and Slip & Fall that can be invaluable when older family members come for a visit. Daily Routine alerts you if someone deviates from a daily routine — whether it’s that the housekeeper has arrived early or that a caregiver is late — and Slip & Fall will alert you if an older relative slips and falls in any room monitored by a smart sensor. There are many other ways to customize your SmartThings hub and app so your home and family members stay connected and safe.

There’s a smart technology solution for every lifestyle, from home security cameras to intelligent pet doors. However you choose to live, you can use home automation systems to improve the security of your home and the simplicity of your daily tasks.

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Last Updated on August 16, 2018

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system”.

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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The power of habit

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being six hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The wonderful thing about triggers (reminders)

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to make a reminder works for you

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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