Did you watch the Jetsons when you were a kid?
With the maid robot and the auto-showers and self-replicating widget factory?
When the Jetsons first aired, people were excited about the automatic future, where labor would be less and leisure time would be more.
It hasn’t exactly materialized.
We all still work, and humans still need to do the cleaning, although Roomba is getting us a little bit closer to not having to do that anymore.
But there are a lot of tools and systems you can use to automate some of your life and, let’s be real, you absolutely should.
What Life Looks Like When It’s Automated
Not actual robots, for the most part, but the kind of automated tools, technologies and systems that can take work off your desk, and let you get back to what ONLY you can do.
Imagine this: you get to work in the morning, and spend a few hours working on a big project that has a high-income potential, or is critical to the larger organizational plan.
Then you spend some time doing some of the work where you excel and are at your best.
Then your day is done and you have some of that life balance they talk about with work/life balance.
It sounds pretty good, right?
Doesn’t it sound like a great way to use your time effectively, and manage your stress, and be your most creative, invested self?
It also doesn’t sound a lot like most days.
As you’re growing a business, or leading a team, or serving a bunch of clients, you’ll often end up working a lot more than you need to.
Not for any negative reasons, but because you just don’t think to automate something, or know that something can be automated, or take a good, hard look at how you spend your time that will tell you exactly what you can be doing less of.
And that, of course, is the first step to automating more of your work life.
Because not everything can be automated and not everything should be automated, but what can and should be automated should become a priority for you.
How to Decide What to Automate (or Delegate)
What is a good candidate for automation?
It’s anything that is regularly occurring or repetitive, with a clear process in place for getting it done.
It doesn’t need critical thinking to be completed correctly, and it won’t take more time to automate than you’ll “earn back” in a reasonable timeframe.
We’ll get a little more into these shortly.
First let’s talk about creating the list of things you do that you might not have to do anymore.
A few years ago, I read Virtual Freedom and it changed my life.
The book, by Chris Ducker, talks about how to decide what you need to do yourself—and what you can delegate.
His end goal is to get you to hire a virtual assistant from his company, Virtual Staff Finder (which we’ve used and is really good—and inexpensive).
After reading it, I had everyone on my team make the same three lists:
- What are the things you do that you hate to do?
- What are the things you do that you enjoy doing but probably shouldn’t do?
- And what are the things only you can do?
Then we set about figuring out how to either delegate or automate—so every, single one of us is working in our core expertise.
Make Your Lists
You can do the same!
For the next week or so, pay attention to how you’re spending your time.
There are apps that can do this (and, if you’re on the agency side, you can use your time tracking to do this for you), or you can just open up a spreadsheet and note down what you do every time you change tasks.
Then, for the list you’re going to automate, you want to create one more list. Write down everything you do consistently—daily, weekly or monthly.
For each of these, ask the following questions:
- Do I always follow the same process to do this?
- Do I have to think critically or make some kind of decision to finish this task?
If the answers are yes and no, respectively, this is likely a task you can automate.
If you always accomplish the task differently, ask yourself if you really NEED to do it differently every time, or if there is one single method that can get it done, correctly, every time.
But if you have to make a decision to finish the task, and no one but you can make the decision, then it’s a task you’re going to have to keep on your own desk—or delegate it to someone else.
Find the Robots—Or the People
The decisions you make, relationships you build, and creative things you do should still be done, manually by YOU.
What we’re looking for is everything ELSE.
That’s what we want to eliminate for you.
OK, it’s mostly software, but I like to think of them as robots a la Jetsons.
When you have identified a task that you do all the time, that you don’t really need to *think* about, and that you have a process for, get yourself over to The Google and search automate + “the task.”
You will almost certainly find one or two dozen different software solutions that can automate it for you.
And, if you can’t find anything applicable, call the fine folks at Trust Insights.
They can customize something specific to your needs.
Once you find an app—or your robot—do trials of a couple of them up and see how they work, how easy they will be to apply, and how much they cost.
Then do a little back of the napkin math.
How much time and mental space could you save by not having to do the task anymore?
If it’s considerably more than the cost of the automation tool, go for it.
(Bonus points if one tool can automate MANY tasks, such as Zapier!)
Set it up, turn it on, and watch it very, very carefully for a week or two to make sure it’s working.
Then enjoy the time you just got back in your life.
I’ve always said I’d love to be able to duplicate time…and look at that!
I just did it.
And Multiply Your Growth Rate
It can be tempting to automate absolutely everything so you can eat bonbons and watch soap operas, but that’s not a life anyone really wants.
AM I RIGHT?
Keeping automation possibilities in mind as you add things to your task list is always a good idea.
If you’re aware of the kinds of work you can automate, and the tools available, you’ll be able to build it into your life as you go about your daily activities, multiplying your growth rate while still leaving you more or less free.
And now it’s your turn.
What in your business life have you figured out how to automate…or at least delegate so you can focus on your core expertise?
The comments are yours…