Common Life Pain Points
March 14, 2021 2:32 PM   Subscribe

I'm building an assessment to help people identify personal/professional challenges that could be partially alleviated by technology. Could you help me add more things to this list?

Back story: This year, I got really into iOS shortcuts and automation in general. I've built several shortcuts and downloaded apps to help me streamline different parts of my daily routine and it's been a game-changer. I've shared my success with friends and they are now asking me to help them with similar tasks.

When I ask "What can I help with?", sometimes I get specific requests, and other times, the response is "I am so overwhelmed, I'm not sure where to start!"

To best assist people in the 2nd category, I thought it would be helpful to create an assessment with a list of some common challenges and ask people to identify what they would like help with. The assessment would serve as a jumping-off point to narrow down the person's needs, and then I could help them identify strategies and resources that work best for them. I need some help fleshing out this list. Some of the common pain points I've identified so far are:

- Unorganized inbox
- Too many newsletters/marketing emails
- lack of mail merge/templates to automate emails

- Unorganized apps/phone home screen
- too many notifications/easily distracted

Meal planning
- Recipes are unorganized
- Meal planning takes too much time

Personal Finance/Budget
-need a system to keep track of finances

Daily Routines
- Distracted by phone/notifications
- need accountability for habits (exercise/meditation/journaling)
- overwhelmed by chores

Time Management/To-Do Lists
- overwhelmed by to-do list
- unorganized to-do list

SmartHome Devices
- automating lights/thermostats/alarms/doorbells, etc.

- difficulty remembering passwords
- use weak passwords

Any other categories or specific challenges you have in mind would be very helpful!

Thanks hive mind!
posted by chara to Technology (8 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Not a specific item, but a good place for ideas would be the Automators Podcast forums, and the Automators podcast generally. The podcast is all about automating, mostly on iOS but some Mac stuff as well. The forums are full of people sharing and troubleshooting automations they’ve made. It’s a great resource for learning what’s possible to automate, as well as seeing the problems people have solved via automation. Hope that’s helpful!
posted by bluloo at 2:59 PM on March 14, 2021 [1 favorite]

I love this project -- so glad you're doing it and glad you asked about it. Something related to health, including mental health, would be good. This year I discovered an app called moody that tracks period and hormone cycles. It is life altering for me. As a woman who mostly did not have health insurance during my 20s and 30s, now in my 40s, having an app that helps me make sense of my moods based on where I am in my hormonal cycle is just plain wonderful. I wish I had had it earlier. If there is an app like moody for peri- and menopausal women, that is something I would like to know about. I don't want to be downloading that at 70 and rueing the fact that I did not have it when I needed it.
posted by ponibrown at 3:05 PM on March 14, 2021 [3 favorites]

I think Time Management could also include something under it like "needing reminders/setting reminders effectively" because I know for a lot of ADHD-adjacent people, the issue has a lot to do with getting a nudge "Hey take your pills" or "you need to leave NOW to make it to your appointment" and until people can get to that pooint, they don't even know there is a thing they need. I would also consider, as ponibrown says, some other health things like Medication management which includes getting refills (navigating websites), setting up pill dispensers (there are some with alarms and etc, or apps) and possibly reminders for those things depending on what they need.

I would also place accessibility maybe as its own category here. Like you might hate your email because your eyesight's not great and you can't see things, but with a different high contrast theme or larger type, suddenly it's simpler. This can also include things like a mouse instead of a touchpad (or the reverse) or a pointer instead of your finger for a touchscreen device.
posted by jessamyn at 3:45 PM on March 14, 2021 [4 favorites]

Ergonomics, especially hand, thumb or wrist pain
posted by metahawk at 6:51 PM on March 14, 2021 [1 favorite]

Task initiation
posted by aniola at 8:25 PM on March 14, 2021

Universal capture is pretty nice. It's not as popular as it was in the Evernote/OneNote days, but the trend passed a number of people by, and some haven't jumped on the modern Apple Notes/Google Keep bandwagon, and don't like the standby of "email it to yourself".

It's pretty simple - you just write down whatever you want to refer to later, and you have that information available always across all your devices, quickly searchable or organized however you want, and it never gets lost or forgotten. The more complicated apps allow you to store web pages/images/etc but those involve some complexity.
posted by meowzilla at 8:47 PM on March 14, 2021

I'd say digital diet generally. A way to automatically group apps that don't get used to possibly delete them. A way to purge unwanted emails and automated texts (with approval to confirm deletion). Having a way to automate those things so I could push a button and have the most minimal possible mobile experience would be amazing.
posted by crunchy potato at 6:57 AM on March 15, 2021 [1 favorite]

Too many plausible ways of doing things or places to put things:

- from just the web: open browser tabs, bookmarks in local browser, read later feature of local browser, different browser, pinboard, pocket, favorites, print to pdf, slack, trello, todo list, screenshot, photo, etc.

- files and folders, local, icloud, dropbox, box

- did I get this thing someone sent me in e-mail, slack, imessage, whatsapp, or signal?

- where did I write it down?

Now I don’t even know how to categorize the items of this filing problem.

Oh, and time tracking.
posted by meijusa at 6:58 AM on March 15, 2021 [1 favorite]

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