Back in the day, when I was the general manager of Milwaukee’s NPR public radio station. I realized that I would regularly receive emails and letters from listeners who asked the same questions or offer the same viewpoints on something they heard on our station. I also discovered that I had to prepare regular reports and filings for our licensee and other agencies. They were the same reports over and over. That is when I learned of my disdain for repetitive tasks. It also sent me on a mission to automate tasks that I have to do more than once.
The Harvard Business Review reported that marketing executives lose 10-15 percent of their time by not automating tasks.
Technology has made the automation process easier to accomplish.
Not only does it make my life easier, but it has also increased my accuracy.
Early on, my automation process was very low-tech. I would write template letters and reports and cut and paste them into other documents as needed.
Now, I use TextExpander, which allows you to store text that can be inserted with a few keystrokes. Now when I type my email address, I enter “/e.” If you ask for information about my executive coaching services, I type “/execoach.” I can then add my responses to specific questions without having to type out multiple paragraphs.
If you ask to schedule an appointment with me, I take advantage of two programs. The process of scheduling a meeting can be laborious, so when you inquire as to my availability, I begin by using Text Expander (shortcut “/cal”), which provides you a link to my available time slots. I use Calendly for this service. It is linked directly to my calendar, so it is constantly updated, and it set up the parameters of when I want to be accessible. Once you book a time, Calendly sends you a confirmation email, and it puts the appointment on my calendar. Nice and simple.
If you are on an automation journey, you also might want to check out one of the many other services available:
Microsoft’s “Power Automate” (formerly known as Flow) integrates with 83 web apps and would likely be helpful if you are a heavy user of Microsoft products.
Mac users may want to explore “Alfred,” which automates different tasks using the hotkey approach.
Corporate users may want to investigate the services of Zapier, which is very powerful and popular.
I know others who subscribe to IFTT (If This Then That), allowing you to write simple snippets that enable actions to take place between different programs. While I’ve tried it, I haven’t found IFTT to be as helpful as some of the other packages I’ve shared and a bit too complicated. But your experience may be different because it has many satisfied users
Just as companies have looked to streamline their manufacturing process using automation, you may want to look for ways to save yourself some time while still giving you creative freedom.