We have been dabbling in home automation since the 90s (anyone remember x10 vouchers?) and have found it to be mostly gimmick. I remember using X10 to 'manage' energy usage in areas of my home where lights were left on and I think I toned my arms a bit keeping those motion detectors happy. We also had a programmable thermostat before smartphones. Unfortunately, our family did not have patterns of presence that could be easily detected or anticipated. In the end, I turned the thermostat down before I went to bed and turned it up when I got up in the morning. We also automated a coffee pot which we often forgot to fill with coffee and water.
The most success I ever had was to program a remote in my bedroom to control lights and the television. That, in fact, was the reason I initially invested in x10. We had lights in our bedroom which were controlled by a switch at the door but were easily turned off from the bed. Unfortunately, once you turned them off at the bed, the switch at the door did nothing. The remote also dimmed the lights...which was fun...for a while...for me. In the end, a Clapper probably would have solved the problem for less.
These days, a couple strategically placed low power LEDs light the once automated paths. I manage to find the lights (and most other things) on my bed in the dark. We do have Alexa devices scattered throughout the house but that is just to help me maintain my shopping list, figure out how many tablespoons of juice in in a lime, or know when dinner is done. I do like the drop in feature (we have three shows).
I have not decided whether to install garage door openers and have only used the remote starter on my car once (to see if it works -- it does). I have never used the remote for my air conditioner. I do appreciate being able to program my TiVos remotely.
But I will follow here hoping to find motivation in your hopes and aspirations for automation. Good luck!