Time is also the only thing you can’t buy, or get more of. Do things that will save you time, and you will grow your business. I truly believe that and one of the best ways to find time is by automating the things you personally don’t have to do. There are lots of tools out there like Zapier, IFTTT, and Siri Shortcuts on iOS to make automating these fast and easy. Here are a few tips so you can start automating today.
Ask yourself if a person needs to do the task.
There are lots of things we can do that a computer can do for us. If you’re manually doing something you don’t need to do, there is a great opportunity for automation.
A few examples are:
- Automatically pulling expenses into your accounting software. FreshBooks and other accounting apps will usually have this built it. I put all of my expenses on my AmEx, and FreshBooks imports them for me.
- Sharing to Social Media. Plugins like Social Web Suite will allow you to share to Facebook (pages), Twitter, and LinkedIn upon publish. And of-course, there’s Buffer for auto-sharing.
- Sending emails. I send emails based on events like when a proposal is accepts, an invoice is paid, or something is added to specific folders in Dropbox.
You should make a list of everything you do in a day and determine if a computer can do it. Then start implementing some simple automation.
Ask yourself if you personally need to do it.
This is a little automation, and a little hiring out. But you should determine if some of the tasks you’re doing are tasks you absolutely need to do. If not, either automate, or off-load. A perfect example of this is my podcast episode workflow:
- I record and put the pieces in Dropbox (manual)
- My editor gets an email that a new episode is ready for edit (automated / hired)
- He uploads it to the Transcription folder (hired)
- My transcriber gets an email that a new episode is ready for transcription (automated / hired)
- That episode gets uploaded to my audio host, Libsyn (automated)
- I add the episode to WordPress (manual, but I don’t need to do this so I should automate or hire a VA)
Hiring is something that can seem daunting, but start small – look at a VA or something like Fiverr. I found my editor there and now we work directly.
Look at tools to get ideas
There are lots of automation tools out there. I’d recommend checking some out and seeing what they can connect to, and generating ideas for your own automations.
IFTTT is similar but generally more related to home and device automation. Still, they connect to lots of tools and there could be some great opportunities here. I use it to automatically share a native photo from Instagram on Twitter.
If you have an iOS device, you should definitely check out Siri Shortcuts. As of iOS 13, it comes installed on your device and there are a lot of apps that take advantage. I use it for home automation and time tracking, something I’ve been historically bad at. If you need ideas, there’s a built-in to the app. There’s also Sharecuts and Shortcuts Gallery.
Other automation apps worth checking out if you use a Mac:
I use Hazel a lot for file management and clean up.
Finally, I’m working on my own blog series for Automation. I’m going to try to do a new one every two weeks.
Have you thought about automating? Write back here, or on Twitter, and let me know!