Tech to keep you on-time (and even early)

Yesterday, I wrote about my transition from being chronically late to being perpetually early. This was quite a journey that required some serious reflection, as well as behavior change. There’s a secret I didn’t share with you yesterday that I’ll divulge today, and it’s the little app that’s been a big help: Google Now.

It’s billed as an “intelligent personal assistant,” but really it’s a suite of services that’s closely tied to your Google account. There are free mobile apps for iOS and Android, which I just adore. The following is and explanation of how I use Google Now every day.

The app presents information via what it calls “Cards.” The information you need, like directions, weather, and more, are presented on a series of informative cards. Flip from one to the other to see what’s coming up in your day. Now here’s the cool part: Google presents this information “just when you need it.”

For example, let’s say you have an appointment across town that begins at 12:00. Google Now does so much more than remind you of the pending appointment. It notices where you are, estimates how long you’ll need to get there, and prompts you to leave about five minutes before you need to, based on distance and traffic conditions. It even polls for traffic and picks the quickest route for you.

Here’s my other favorite trick. I can tell Google Now that my daughter has dance class from 12:00 – 3:00 on Saturdays. Not only does it prompt me to leave in time to arrive before noon, it also lets me know when class is about to end, so I can arrive in plenty of time to pick her up.

There are a slew of cards available, which can help you find fun things to do, monitor sports scores, get the latest news, and so much more. For me, it’s all about the scheduling. And, if you use Google Calendar, integration is seamless.

Note that Google Now is most effective when you have a Google account and actively use its mail and calendaring services. That stuff is free, which is another bonus.

I don’t typically gush over software but Google Now is something I use every single day. It helps me do what needs to be done in an elegant, effective, an unobtrusive manner. I recommend checking it out.

5 Comments for “Tech to keep you on-time (and even early)”

  1. posted by Sarah on

    I’m glad you find this app so helpful, but for myself I hope never to lead a life that requires an app like that.

    I personally like being able to navigate without relying on a computer or smart phone – it keeps my brain engaged & prevents me from getting mentally sloppy.

    My biggest getting-there-on-time trick is to set my watch 3 minutes ahead, because I’ve learned that 3 minutes is how long it takes me to get out the door after I’ve looked to see what time it is!

  2. posted by alfora on

    Google Now (or the standard iOS calendar) only works for appointments where you go by car.

    Those features are useless if you live in a city where you use public transport, go by bike, or go on foot. The apps are getting better all the time but they still don’t figure out that you are going to a train station EVERY DAY at the SAME TIME.

  3. posted by MJ Ray on

    Google Now encourages motoring? 🙁

  4. posted by Williamm Lund on

    This is a great personal assistant tool indeed – just needs a few more improvements for people. But this is surely a prelude to even better apps.

  5. posted by Jasmine on

    Excellent app and so helpful…..

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