The New Online Efficiency Expert (?)

Recently, Penny from aresidence wrote that she had been given a blogging assignment but needed a sidekick. I was chosen (yay!) but it had absolutely nothing to do with me telling the judge how wonderful he is.

British Gas have asked us to demonstrate online efficiency. Now before you snort at my clear lack of organisational skills, let me explain that yes it’s a demonstration, but it’s also a challenge. That makes more sense now, doesn’t it? My part of the deal was to spend 5 days experimenting with saving time, money and hassle by carrying out easy tasks online.

I was sent an i-pad in return and now plan to pepper my conversations with “my i-pad…”. Thankfully my sister was here when it arrived. Before you can say “no idea about technology” she had it switched on, linked with my email, Twitter and Facebook and with apps downloaded. So now I know what apps are.

So for five days, I’ve been using the internet to make everyday tasks easier. Did it work…?

Day 1
My husband is home recovering from serious pneumonia after a week in hospital. In an attempt to have some of the attention redirected back to me, I have completely lost my voice. We have two young children. It’s summer holidays. The challenge: to maintain some kind of family life without speaking or leaving the house**. Hmmmm.

This morning I did a big grocery shop before getting out of bed. Let me just paraphrase that for you – I had not yet got out of bed and my grocery shopping was done. Someone, somewhere, was selecting my broccoli. Mid-morning I realised I ballsed up the whole thing, but I amended it with no problem.  I really should use shopping lists, although when you shop online, it remembers what you’ve bought before and you can make up a list that way.

I used the site’s “recipes and tips” section, and inadvertently designed a meal plan for the week. That’s a first.

** I have discovered it is impossible to safely control a 5 and 3 year old out and about with no voice.

Day 2
My birthday is coming up so I’ll just have a little peek at the shops… without leaving the house.

A dress I tried on at Britmums has been on sale at TK Maxx for £30. A quick online search and it’s come down to £15. I buy it. The whole exercise took no more than five minutes. Happy birthday to me!  This inspires me and I set up a Paypal account… and if my husband is reading this, don’t worry. Yet.

On a different note, we are moving back to Sydney at the end of the year and I’ve been trying to find my daughter a nursery (pre-school) there. I know this sounds daft, but last week I asked Mum to pop in and pay for her spot on the waiting list. She has been offered a place and to accept it, we have to pay up. Being the tech-savvy woman about town that I am, I pay by internet banking using our Australian account. I know, I know… why have I not worked this out sooner?? Well my husband does the internet banking which I know makes me sound like a Doris. But he’s out of action at the moment so it’s about time I learnt.

Can I just say how much we will miss free nursery?

Day 3
I’ve been thinking at some stage I’ll have to go to M&S to buy the children’s uniforms for September. The nearest one is 7 tube stops away. Normally I’d think nothing of it, but I’m seriously excited to work out I can do this online. A few clicks and it’s done. It’s almost too easy. Why have I not been doing this forever?

Day 4
I have a subscription to a magazine, The Australian Women’s Weekly. I love it and being an Aussie in the UK,  it’s a little taste of home (although I have NO idea who half the celebrities are).  Admitting to it here is the equivalent of me screaming “THERE IS NOTHING ROCK & ROLL ABOUT ME AT ALL.”

Anyway, it arrived today. And it has something very, very cool – you can download an app called Viewa. Once you have it, you just select the magazine’s channel and if you like the look of a recipe in the magazine, you just click on it’s Viewa logo and you’ll automatically have a list of ingredients. No more searching for pen and paper, by which time you can’t remember where you put the magazine, then when you do write the ingredients out you put the piece of paper down somewhere but don’t know where… apparently…

Anyway this is such an exciting discovery. I’ve already tried three new recipes from this magazine, instead of just dog-earring random pages.

Day 5
It’s my birthday. Happy birthday to me! My voice is still gone and talking hurts. My family call which is lovely, of course, but I spend each conversation apologising for cutting the call short.

I need to see the Doctor again. Getting an appointment is as fun as amputation, in fact I wrote about it here. Well now I feel really foolish because I could have saved myself all that trouble and booked it online. I had no idea. So instead of spending my birthday trying to make an appointment with a receptionist whose mission is to not give me one, I make it myself in a couple of minutes.

I’ve never got my head around Skype. We do use it, but my husband has to set it up on his laptop. So when he isn’t here, and he works weekends, no Skype. Well, now that I am all savvy and efficient, I now have my very own Skype account on my i-pad. And when my voice returns, and my face loses this puffy full-of-snot look, I will use it.

The internet is such an everyday thing, but still, asking myself “can I do that online?” is a change for me. But this exercise has been worth it. And it’s only been 5 days, so now I’m wondering what else I’ve been missing…?

How do you use the web to make life easier?

6 thoughts on “The New Online Efficiency Expert (?)

  1. Ooo you got the dress! Yay! I'm with you on shopping online, it's my saviour and my downfall. And having a Paypal account makes it even easier – not always such a good thing! Hope you manage to find a pre-school back home, although I don't want you to leave!

  2. I do almost everything online! I ALWAYS do my groceries online. So much easier and better! My family in the US is super jealous that we get this service!

  3. AlexanderResidence says:

    I knew you'd make a fab sidekick (and that you didn't really run off with the ipad). Wow you can use it to avoid talking to reception at the Doctor's? Now that is the best online tip ever! My tip would be turn off the Skype pop up box that lets people know when you are online, or you end up chatting when you should be working, or vice versa 😉

  4. mid30slife says:

    I did, I did!! Although it's a tad small but that just means I'll have to drop a dress size – and we all know how easy peasy that is.
    We'll have to make sure we catch up before we head back. xx

  5. mid30slife says:

    Great tip, I definitely will thanks for that. I do that for my email, I know it's always well meant but when you're catching up on your messages and you get a “Hi!” pop up at the bottom, you end up getting nothing done.

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