It may not seem like much, but every click, swipe, drag and drop adds up. It’s hard to be productive when you’re doing everything by hand and a lot of time goes into these little tasks.
If tedious tasks are holding you back from your productivity goals, it might be time to look around for some things you can automate at work.
A surprising number of your daily work-life tasks can be fully automated with very little effort saving you tons of time.
Trying out work automation to improve productivity might just be the answer you’ve been looking for.
Whether you need to automate an office full of people or just your own personal workflow, you can have better productivity with simple and effective work automation strategies.
To get started, here are 8 easy things you can automate today.
Why to Automate Work Tasks
If you’re not familiar with the concept, automating simple work tasks may seem like overkill.
After all, it’s not that you can’t or don’t want to do the task. It’s that it’s a better use of time to automate it and focus on something else that’s more important.
Primarily, work automation is about prioritizing, but there are a lot of reasons why you might want to automate simple work tasks. Here are few of the big ones:
Free Up Time
Every little click adds up. If you can save yourself a click, and the distraction it takes to make it, you can free up a lot of time for more important things.
That might mean more time to get ahead of your next project deadline, make calls and meet with new clients, or simply finish up pressing work early so you can take off Friday.
Many of the things you can automate at work pop up on your to-do’s when it’s inconvenient to do them.
Automation can keep these unpredictable tasks from throwing off your focus and hurting your productivity.
Predictability leads to more confidence that your work efforts will result in reliable and successful outcomes.
When every little task needs a person to remember to do it — and to do it correctly — there’s a high chance of making mistakes.
Work automation reduces the risk of work errors, meaning there’s less chance of important sales leads, client changes or help tickets falling through the cracks than if they were managed manually.
During your busiest days, it’s easy to feel stressed and overwhelmed as the work notifications of new issues and questions roll in.
Automation has the potential to take many of those stressful notifications off your plate. Finding more things you can automate will help reduce your overall stress level even during busy days.
Get More Done
Tedious tasks take away attention, time and energy from your more important projects.
By delegating part of your business workflow to automation it’s possible to simply get more done in a day.
The ability of automation to improve productivity is one of the top reasons cited for using automation technology.
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8 Things You Can Automate Today
If you’re ready to automate work tasks and boost your productivity, it’s easy to get started. Here are 8 things you can automate today using simple automation tools for business.
Manual scheduling requires you to keep your paper planner close by. You might need it to add a meeting, remind yourself what’s coming up, or fit new projects or clients into an already busy schedule.
But you can automate work tasks like these and more with simple apps from Google, Zapier or Calendly. Recurring meetings automatically populate your schedule, your calendar syncs across your devices and new bookings are handled automatically.
Daily and weekly tasks may include any part of your job that requires a specific action to be taken when something happens. It could be responding to new sales inquiries, handling job orders, pulling weekly reports, updating stakeholders on progress or something else.
3. Document Management
Sending, receiving and filing away your documents with a manual business process workflow can eat up a surprising amount of time. There’s lots of chance for errors, delays or disorganization to slow you down.
Automated business workflow software can take almost all the effort out of managing all of your important documents, with apps like Google Drive, Dropbox and DocuSign giving you the ability to send, receive, organize and store your files securely in cloud storage.
Writing yourself a reminder so that you won’t forget a task is helpful, but it’s not very efficient. Reminders are another good use for work automation. With sticky notes or other manual methods, it’s always possible to forget to remind yourself of something important.
Apps like IFTTT, Zapier and many others make it easy to get important reminders for when you need to nurture leads, manage renewals, capture notes, generate an invoice, or book a follow-up appointment.
5. Social Media
These days, staying active on social media is important for branding, relationship building and networking. However, it can also be a huge time sink.
Instead of interrupting your day to post updates to each of your social profiles, you can use tools like Buffer, Hootsuite and CoSchedule to automate your work. These automation tools let you plan and schedule everything in advance so you can get back to more important things.
Being organized means having the right file, email and to-do list at your fingertips when you need it. With so much to do in a day, regular organization can take a back seat leading to more stress and errors.
Organization is one of the best things you can automate, since it’s simple and has a huge impact. A tool like Folio can help you keep track of your most important email conversations, organize your attachments, and keep all your work communications neat and tidy.
7. Auto Responses
Sometimes it’s not enough file emails away for reference. But sending even simple acknowledgment messages by hand is tedious if you have a bunch of them.
Auto responses are another thing you can automate easily to save time. Trying out a vacation responder is a good start, but you can go further.
Sending and receiving notifications when something changes can be important for transparency. They allow you, your team members and your clients know the status of work.
Automating notifications is easy and well worth it. Verify clients received documents, coordinate work for team projects, and keep customers updated on their orders and customer service questions. Simply turn on an app’s built-in notifications or use Zapier or IFTTT for more custom alerts.
How to Identify More Things You Can Automate
While it’s true that not everything can or should be automated, a surprisingly large number of things can be.
If you’re interested in identifying even more things you can automate in your work life, here are a few tips to keep in mind.
- Make sure you have a process in place. Automation is best suited to work tasks you know inside-out. You know everything about what, when and how it needs to be done. This is very important since you’ll be teaching the automation tool this process.
- Realize that time is the biggest ROI with automation. It’s possible to automate tasks that are quick and painless, but there’s not much point. Work automation pays the biggest dividends when the task you automate is tedious and time consuming.
- Ensure you don’t need a person to do it. The best tasks to automate are generally menial and tedious ones that don’t require thought, skill or a personalized interaction. These higher level tasks are the ones you want to keep while automating the rest.
Using automation to improve productivity at your job is a smart way to get more done in fewer hours with less stress. Once you start using automation, you are likely to find even more reasons to love it.
A lot of businesses already use some work automation, so you may already be benefiting. But if you’d like an automation tool that can save you hours per week on your email, you might enjoy Folio.
Folio is an email add-on that lives inside your Gmail or Outlook inbox, helping automate repetitive tasks, like organizing messages, filing away attachments and keeping up with due dates and status updates.
Folio uses AI-powered algorithms to organize your email into workflows that make sense, save time, and boost productivity.
Start your free trial of Folio today and see how work automation can help you become more productive.
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We've built Folio: the first AI email assistant for professionals.
Folio plugs directly into your work email inbox and automatically organizes your email, giving you contextual access to all the information you need to increase your productivity in minutes.
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We're a venture funded company backed by Accel Partners, Vertical Venture Partners, and other leading venture capital firms and angel investors such as Ash Patel and Jerry Yang.