8 Tasks You Should Automate At Work
Drew Hendricks
OCT 21, 2015 17:21 PM
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8 Tasks You Should Automate At Work

by Drew Hendricks

Why work harder when you can work smarter instead? Think of all the time you spend completing tedious tasks at work. Now imagine the extra time you’d have to dedicate to work that is more important and more interesting if you didn’t have to spend so much time slogging through emails, filling out forms, or wracking your brain for a password. While there are certainly tasks you should never automate at work, there are also many tasks you can and should to make this your reality. By automating these eight tasks, you’ll increase efficiency and productivity while saving loads of time. 

1. Create an email sorting system. 

According to a recent survey of 400 adult white-collar workers, most people spend an average of 6.3 hours a day checking their business and personal emails. Let’s be honest: a small percentage of this time leads to productive correspondences while a very large chunk gets lost sorting through junk and staring at the screen. Don’t let yourself fall into these traps. Set up the label or folder functions in your email program to organize your inbox by sorting messages into different categories. Gmail will already separate your email into “Primary,” “Social,” “Promotions,” and “Updates,” but that’s novice level. Enable Smart Labels or download an app like SaneBox to ramp up your sorting game. You can separate emails based on the project they’re related to, the immediacy of response needed, or if they’re coming from clients or your boss. The choice is yours, but be sure to use it. This simple automation system will help you direct your attention to what’s important while making it harder to get distracted by what’s not. 

 

2. Scheduling Meetings. 

When scheduling a meeting, every step can make for a hassle. You have to decide who is going to be involved, check everyone’s calendar, wait for people to reply or rearrange their schedules, and then possibly throw out the whole plan if someone can’t make it in the end. Automating the process will make things easier for everyone. Instead of going back in forth via a long email chain, avoid scheduling volleys with a scheduling app like ScheduleOnce which lets users connect using their existing calendars, making it easier for them to confirm their attendance and remember that commitment. 

 

3. Backup your files. 

It feels like the world is going to end when you experience a computer crash. We’ve all been there. Most of us grit our teeth, make up the lost work, and then head directly to purchase a hard drive or create a cloud-based storage account. You vow you’ll be better this time. And you likely will be, for a few weeks or months. But chances are you’ll inevitably get sloppy again. By automating backups, you eliminate your own laziness from the equation and ensure that you won’t ever land yourself in the soul-sucking position of staring at your screen after yet another crash. 

 

4. Store Login Information. 

It’s hard to keep track of all your usernames and passwords. Different websites require different combinations to secure your account, and you often end up scrambling something together that you remember once and then can’t for the life of you ever recall. Don’t make each login a giant game of Memory. Instead, install automated login software like Roboform to keep track of this information for you. 

 

5. Fill out online forms. 

Don’t stop there. How many times have you filled out your permanent address, phone number, and email? If you're using chrome, you've likely experienced that satisfying feeling of having the the browser's autofill feature jump in and take over after you type the first couple letters in on one of these forms. If you use chrome and experienced this, make sure you enable the feature. You can also use Roboform to help you out here, making sure that regardless of the browser you use, you’ll never have to type out your middle names on a registration form again. 

 

6. Computer and Browser Cleanup 

It’s so easy to forget to do these updates. We tend to blame slow browsers on a bad internet connection, but a lot of the time the culprit is drive defragmentation, cookie clearing, outdated technology, or a combination of them all that's making you twiddle your thumbs. Don’t wait until your computer is so sluggish that it barely works before considering a clean-up or update. Instead, install secure software to do this automatically. That way, you don't have to worry about forgetting to do these routine clean-ups, and you can feel more in the right the next time you like throw a slow-internet tantrum. 

7. Manage your budget. 

There are definitely instances where you should not automate your finances, but take advantage of the secure apps to help you manage the things you can. Head to the app store and find the right automatic budget app that works for you. A good all-around choice is Mint, which pulls information from all of your accounts into one place, helping you set and stick to a budget. It also automates bill reminders so you never miss a beat.  

8. Email Signatures 

If you don’t already use one, you’re probably thinking, “this takes two seconds!” But how many emails are you sending? And how many different ways are you signing them? Either you fall into the camp where you pretty much sign off the exact same way every time, or you’re one of those creative types who likes to spice things up at the end of your message. In both instances, save yourself those couple of seconds at the end of each email by enabling your email program's auto-signature feature. It will ensure you never forget to sign off at the end of your email, keep things looking professional, and save you from the awkward typo in your name. If you like to change things up, you can even save a couple of versions of your signature. 

Conclusion

As many people increasingly blur the line between their work and personal lives by working remotely or bringing some of their work home, it can become that much harder to stay focused on the task at hand. Be smart about giving yourself the productive edge through automation. By following these tips, you’ll increase your efficiency and save time wherever you are. 

 

 

 

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