How to Determine What to Automate

Imagine being told you need to get your wedding1, and that’s it.

No time. No date. No location. Just, “You need to get to your wedding.”

You’d feel kind of stuck, right? Surely there are people who know that information. You’d think it would be part and parcel with, “You need to get to your wedding.”

That’s kind of how it feels when someone tells you, “You need to automate.”

What should you automate? How should you automate it? How do you know if you can automate it?

Well, there are a number of questions you can ask yourself to figure our what you don’t have to do, but the are also categories of tasks to help you figure out if a task is worth automating.

They are:

  • Common, easily repeatable tasks
  • Infrequent tasks that have a high level of effort to do.
  • Tasks that require specific timing
  • Tasks that you cannot forget to do.

Common, Easily Repeatable Tasks

These are things you do so often that it’s worth the time for you to set up the automation, so that you no longer have to do them manually.

One example is emailing your newsletter when a new blog post or podcast episode is out. Most email service providers will connect to your RSS feed and send emails when a new item gets published.

Infrequent, High Level of Effort

Conversely, if there’s a task that you don’t do very frequently, but it takes a long time for you to set up, the automation is worth it because you save the time through context switching and having to re-learn your process.

A perfect example of this for me is contract client work. I don’t do too much of that anymore, but there is still a process for me where I send a contract for signing, then an invoice, then onboarding.

It takes me more time to figure out the right process than for me to actually execute the tasks…though since these actions also rely on client actions, it could take me time over several days.

This is a great task for me to automate because once I kick it off, it doesn’t require me to do anything once I sign the contract.

Require Specific Timing

The third type of task you can automate is a task that requires specific timing. You see this all the time when you purchase a digital product.

Imagine paying $300 for a course and then having to wait to gain access to it for the seller to give you access.

But this doesn’t have to just be for digital products. TweetHunter has a tool where you can tell people to DM you for a free resource, and they’ll handle the DMing. This is a great for of automation where you don’t have to watch your social media DMs.

Can’t Forget

Finally, you’ll want to automate tasks you can’t forget. I like to call these the “automatic bill pay” tasks. You definitely don’t want to miss them, but maybe they don’t happen often.

For me, one of these tasks is to upload workshop recordings for my members. I promise them immediate access once the workshop is done, so I have a simple automation to upload the recordings from my computer to Vimeo.

So there you have it! 4 types of tasks you should automate. And remember: automation doesn’t have to be a big production.

If you’re doing things like automatic bill pay, you’re already automating!

  1. Sub some other major life event that matters a whole lot to you ?

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