Reader Question: “I need to start automating some tasks, but I don’t know where to start. Help!”
Read Time: 4 Minutes
Do you remember the first time a parent or teacher told you to “work smarter, not harder”? This was my Dad’s go-to advice. I heard this phrase at least a hundred times growing up. I guess, like Father, like Daughter, because that is what automation is all about; finding a way to work smarter (read: less) and not waste time (and energy) doing repetitive tasks.
Growing up, this phrase was often applied to housework. My first memory of hearing it was when I was about six years old. My chore was vacuuming, and I always tried to race around the house like a Formula One driver so I could get back to playing. The only issue was I always missed about 95% of what I was supposed to be cleaning. After having to redo it about three times, my Dad turned to me, his face blazing red with frustration, and calmly said, “You need to learn to work smarter, not harder.” For a six-year-old, this phrase made no sense.
Now: they are words I live by.
Automation can feel so overwhelming. So people either avoid it like the plague or try to automate every single thing in their business.
Here’s the thing, though: automation, like systems, is not one-size-fits-all. Automating everything will ultimately lead to frustration and errors (much like speed-vacuuming). But down-right avoiding automation will cost you a ton of time.
So while I can’t tell you precisely what you should automate without knowing you and your business inside and out, I can provide you with the top 5 areas I recommend every business automates:
5 MOST EFFECTIVE AUTOMATIONS
Weekly High Five
If you look at your daily or weekly activities and notice you are doing the same task multiple times, consider how you could automate it. Whether that be copying and pasting information from one platform to another, creating workflows for each new project, or organizing records. If you constantly repeat it, automate it.
Did you know, according to Super Office, “Nearly half of all customers (46%) expect companies to respond faster than 4 hours, and 12% expect a response within 15 minutes or less.” The best way to combat this is to set a friendly auto-response to inquiries that set expectations and makes your client feel appreciated.
Whether you provide a freebie or someone signs up for your newsletter, you should have a warm, automated sequence that shows them who you are and what they can expect, welcomes them into your community, and delivers on any promise you make.
Have a scheduling tool set up with accurate availability, so you can ditch the back-and-forth with clients to find the perfect meeting time. This way, you empower your client to schedule when they already know it is convenient for you and suitable for them.
I know you’ve heard this one before! Scheduling your email marketing, social media posts, and blog publishing helps you to work ahead, control the timeline, and ultimately deliver a more consistent value.
I am in no way saying that this list is the end-all, be-all of automation. In fact, there are several processes I automate in my business that are not listed here.
This list is a great starting point, but if you want to learn where your business would benefit from automation the most, snag your copy of Ditch The Stress and Work Less. This simple systemization guide will help you pinpoint the systems and processes to focus on, giving you the greatest impact in the shortest amount of time (in only 16 questions or less)!