21 Jul Using Automation to Improve Productivity
Some of the tasks we perform in our jobs can be extremely repetitive. The days seem to bleed into each other because they are all filled with the exact same things. However, we live in the future, with AI, bots and technology that can help us automate these tasks. If you find yourself doing the same things over and over again, definitely check out if there is something you can to do make the process more automatic. We have come up with a few of the most common ones to get you started.
Especially for those in customer service positions, you could be asked the same questions over and over by different people. Setting up canned responses within your email platform can help you respond super quickly, and with very little effort. In Gmail, the canned responses can be found under “labs” in your settings. In Outlook you can set up responses in the “quick parts” tab.
Another great way to automate your emails is to set up rules. Rules can automatically route specific email subjects or senders to specific folders. If someone in your company always sends you tasks, you can route those emails to a “to do” folder, so you can get to it as soon as you are working through your to do list. If you get a lot of pitches for people creating Kickstarter that you have no interest in reading, you can send anything with Kickstarter in the body of the email directly to the trash.
Within many programs, you can set up a macro to perform repetitive tasks for you. Typically you would record the actions you perform, such as setting up various formulas inside an Excel file, then next time you need to set up those formulas again, you simply play the macro. A macro can be extremely complicated, or just a simple way to enter the same information over and over again. Using them can save you so much time every single day.
IFTTT & Zapier
IFTTT stands for If This, Then That, which means when I do this specific thing, then this other thing should happen as well. Within the website, you can set up an automation for a plethora of different programs. For example, you can save any attachments you receive via email to your OneDrive automatically, or add a new Trello card when a contact is added to your contacts. Zapier works similarly but can handle more complicated automations with multiple steps.
If you or your office manager has to put together a similar order every week or month, setting up a subscription can really save some time. If I know that we will need 2 boxes of paper every month, I can set it up to automatically ship every month. Using a service to do the work for you, can help you become so much more productive, as the task is completely removed from your plate. Subscriptions are a great way to set it, and forget about it.
There are really so many ways to automate your day and get more done. It may take a bit of discovery and set up in the short run, but the long term benefits will definitely outweigh the initial pain.