When it comes to automating repetitive tasks, most people think of technological assistance. However, if automation is carried out properly, it involves more mental organization than software and technology, although these can help too.
In today’s world, every day, you have to perform a large number of tasks, from the simplest to the most complex. Many of them are similar but, for some reason, you don’t tend to automate these repetitive tasks. The result is that you waste valuable time that you could be saving.
Even in the most creative tasks, there’s repetition. As a matter of fact, you probably have a more structured routine than you might think. Obviously, there are daily variations in these repetitive tasks but their essential schema remains the same. For this reason, it’s possible to automate them. Let’s find out how to do it.
“ Automation improves the life of the human being.”
Identify your repetitive tasks
The first step to automating your repetitive tasks is obvious: you must identify them. For this, you must observe yourself for a couple of weeks (at least). You’ll see that there are certain activities that you repeat every day and that are easy to recognize. For example, getting up, bathing, having breakfast, going to work, having dinner, etc.
There are also other activities that, at first, may not seem to be so repetitive, but do form part of your daily, weekly, or monthly routine. For instance, writing a report, reviewing others’ work, responding to requests, etc. You may not see them as repetitive tasks because they’re never exactly the same. However, they’re essentially extremely similar, which is why they can be automated to a certain extent.
The first objective is to become aware of those global tasks that you do repeatedly, even if they vary in their content or form. Here are some tips:
- Name each task you have to carry out at work. For example, report writing, collaborator evaluation, graphics preparation, etc.
- Take note of your daily activities and always give the same task the same name. In other words, don’t say ‘payroll review’ today and ‘payroll evaluation’ tomorrow, but always keep the same label.
- After two weeks, examine your notes and identify which tasks are repetitive.
Automate your procedures
Automating repetitive tasks is equivalent to automating the procedures for carrying them out. In effect, you specify each of the steps needed to carry out to complete a particular activity. After doing so, answer the following questions:
- Are there any steps you can delete or merge with another?
- Which steps can be mechanized and which can’t?
- Is there the possibility of creating a template to carry out one or more of those steps?
- Is there a program or app that’ll make it easy to carry out one or more of those steps?
- Can you join one or several of the steps of a procedure with those of another?
Once you’ve answered these questions, you’re ready to automate your repetitive tasks. That said, it isn’t particularly easy to reach this point because you have to carry out a detailed work of observation and analysis. However, it’s really worthwhile because you can free up around 30 to 40 percent of your time.
Automating repetitive tasks is a matter of analysis
In a way, we all automate repetitive tasks. In fact, our brains are good at it and they do it without us even realizing it. However, if we don’t become conscious of the fact, our automation of procedures may not be optimal.
Therefore, conscious process automation is a means of optimizing processes that your brain has already carried out. Once you find the most agile and effective procedures, you’ll easily adapt to them because your brain loves to follow patterns. It means it doesn’t have to work so hard.
If you do it properly, you’ll be more organized and also have more time available for everything that can’t be automated like creativity, having fun, and relaxation.
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