If it feels like no matter what you do, no matter how hard you work, no matter what productivity strategies you try; you just can’t seem to find enough hours in the day, then you should consider automating your most repetitive, time expensive tasks.
Automation is everywhere in today’s busy world and it presents itself in many ways. Most people think of technology or software when they hear about automation, however the opportunities for automation are limitless, anything you do on a daily basis can be done more effectively and to maximise your ability to focus on the important things, you’re going to want to put as many trivial things on auto-pilot as possible.
What can you automate
For instance, instead of deciding what to wear every morning, you could come up with a schedule for what you will wear on what day of the week. Many successful people do this and are even more extreme than having an outfit for every day of the week. They have just one or two outfits total. Steve Jobs favoured a black turtleneck with blue Levi’s and white New Balances. Barack Obama only chose between a charcoal and a navy suit everyday.
Think about making a meal or baking a cake, you can follow a recipe that will return the result you are after, time and time again, if you follow the steps. Would you prefer to try and create a new recipe from scratch everyday or follow a recipe, with ingredients, quantities and time frames that are repeatable and automate the end result?
Automation’s big payoff is supposed to be that it will release us from routine tasks and usher in a new era of freedom. That way, we can devote our time to higher-level activities. Instead of spending time inputting data or doing routine tasks, we’ll be making valuable connections or coming up with innovative ideas.
With everything you can automate, where do you start?
Rather than looking at the opportunities for automation, start by looking at what you’re already doing, and then ask yourself, “how can I do this automatically?”. Searching for small ways that everyday automation can streamline tasks can lead to cumulative time savings and other benefits.
The first steps are to write down every recurring task you can think of, either for you personally or your business. What are the tasks that you are working on daily, weekly or even monthly. Once you know what tasks are taking up your time you can start to look at the process (or recipe) you use to get to the desired result.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen people try to automate an existing process without ever looking at the process itself. Take time to evaluate the process and, where necessary, change it, particularly in areas where automation can streamline it.
Some business specific examples of automation
By programming software to complete tasks based on a series of “if-then” conditions, you can greatly increase the speed, efficiency and accuracy of processes like marketing and recruiting, freeing your team up to focus on bigger, more important strategy work. It may seem tempting to dive in head-first and automate everything you can, but it’s wise to have a plan in place to make the best use of the time and resources required to implement automation.
We find the best uses for Automation in small and large business come through customer service, social media and email marketing.
Your customer service can be easily automated and there are a lot of companies that offer AI solutions for customer service but it is easy enough to have prepared answers to your most frequently asked questions. Consider the top 10 inquiries, that your business receives and rather than typing a response each and every time moving forward, create a knowledge base that contains these questions and answers. For example we often get asked “How much does a new website cost?” and there is literally no way to give that answer without knowing the scope and requirements of the website, so we have a standard answer that we reply explaining we need more information to provide an estimate. A simple solution, that is easy to implement and execute but could save you hours per day, week or year.
Still Posting to Social Media Sites Manually? Stop Now. Keeping your brand active on social media can easily be a full-time job: posts after posts, updates after updates, it all requires a constant eye on. Online tools let you schedule and automate your social media posts well in advance so that you don’t need to sit at your desk every time you need to manually post something. You can also manage dozens of social media accounts in one place, assign certain accounts to a colleague, or monitor what people say about you. If you spent 1 hour every Monday scheduling all your posts for the week, how many hours could you save in a year?
We have already covered the importance of email marketing and automating this process. Mainly it can be done relatively easily and it works to keep your clients or potential clients engaged 24 hours a day. With the automated marketing system, you can set up a customer journey in minimal time and reap the rewards for weeks or months after the initial set up effort.
Why automate everything
Even with $100 billion, I would not be able to buy back the last year of my life. However, I can do more with the next year of my life, and every year after that, because I committed myself to automation and allowed the marginal gains to build.
The best time to start automating your life was 20 years ago. The second best time is today.
If you need help starting to automate any parts of your business or getting the most from your existing automation’s, contact the team at MyNext and let our team with years of experience creating digital automation’s help you free up your time to focus on more important things.