I’m a big believer in automation. The more you automate, the more productive you become and the more predictable your results.
Unfortunately, I rarely take the time to automate anything. My theory hasn’t turned into practice, so, I’m trying something new. I’m scheduling time to make myself more productive. I’m scheduling one hour per month to “automate something.”
It’s already paying off. Just last week I saved an estimated seven hours based upon a one-hour investment.
A large part of optimizing our productivity is ensuring that we’re spending time on the things that matter most and have the most important impact. Boosting productivity often comes down to asking ourselves the following question.
Can I obliterate it?
Does it really need to be done? If not, don’t do it. Don’t feel obligated. Just cut it out if it’s not important to you and someone else is not depending on you for it.
Can I automate it?
Can I leverage a tool to do this for me? If it’s routine and consistently handled the same way, there’s a good chance the answer is yes. Don’t just ask the question. Do it.
Can I delegate it?
If you can’t automate it, it’s possible that you can get someone else to complete it for you. Perhaps it requires judgment, but, not necessarily your judgment. Unless it’s the core of what you do, it’s likely better to delegate a task to someone else than it is to complete it yourself.
#1 and #3 are easy to implement. It simply takes a decision. Unfortunately, #2 requires action. You must set up the system, process or tool that automates the task. Unfortunately, if you’re like me, you don’t spend the necessary time to actually implement automation.
That’s why I’m scheduling it into my calendar once per month. I fully expect that the one-hour investment will translate into two, three, or even 10 hours the following month.
Automation should be your first weapon of choice against the onslaught of responsibilities that are thrown your way. Learn to identify rote tasks that are required but can be done without any intervention. And then act on it.
If you want a boost in productivity, you will figure out how to make it a priority.