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How to Automate Boring Work So You Can Focus on What Matters

ByChris Christoff,
business.com writer
| Last Modified
Jan 03, 2019
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> Technology
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Sometimes, tiny tasks end up wasting way more time than you think they will. Throughout the workday, there's often so much that needs to get done by a certain time and forces you to make decision after decision. This is stressful and potentially overwhelming, and it has a name: decision fatigue.

Decision fatigue is a psychological phenomenon that occurs when there are too many decisions to make; the more you have to make, the less quality they are. If we truly are making 35,000 decisions in one day, it makes sense that our ability to make calculated decisions depletes over time. You start to feel swamped by never-ending tasks when you could be focusing on more important things.

That's why it's smart to set up an automation strategy. According to a 2017 report by the McKinsey Global Institute, increasing automation means good things for your business, including creating new jobs, redefining existing roles and opening up career opportunities. And it's not just for business owners: Anyone trying to organize and save time can automate their tasks.

If you're looking for ways to automate that tedious workload you have, here are a few things you can do to get started.

1. Use the right automation tools.

When it comes to marketing automation, there are many tools to choose from. If you're new to automation, however, choosing the right tools can be tricky. With the endless options, that decision itself can be overwhelming. 

First of all, you want to go with automation software with no-code solutions. This means you don't need coding or technical knowledge to set up your automation system. These are business-ready applications that work quickly and form their own work processes so that you don't have to.

It's also important to consider what tools would benefit your goals, your audience and your business the most. Not every automation tool will do exactly what you want, so do your research and figure out what works best for what you want to accomplish. [Editor's note: Check out our sister site, Business News Daily, for a guide to choosing marketing automation software.]

2. Set up an email system.

It's not uncommon to have an inbox flooded with emails that are unattended to or forgotten about. In these cases, you could end up missing out on something important or forget to send a major email.

Carleton University conducted a survey that found that workers spend roughly one-third of their workday going through emails. Those are precious hours that could be spent more productively and wisely.

First, sort your emails with smart labels, which Gmail lets you do in a few short steps. It's likely that your work email uses a lot of recurring keywords in titles, headers and body copy. Use these keywords to organize your emails so that you can simply type one in and only emails with that keyword will show up. Any incoming emails with this keyword in the future will automatically go under this label. 

Set up canned responses for efficient outgoing messages. These are sentences or short paragraphs saved to your email account that you can send with the click of a button. This isn't exactly automated, as you will have to do a couple of clicks to perform this action, but it's a huge timesaver. The next time you receive an email that only needs a quick response, you can just click the dropdown menu and select your prewritten option.

3. Automate social media content.

Social media is the best way to stay connected to clients, entrepreneurs, business owners, developers, project managers and others in your circle. If you follow a plan for your business's social media content, it's time to automate it for efficiency and peace of mind. Doing so could save you more than six hours per week.

To automate your social media content, you need to figure out how frequently you want your accounts to post and at what times. With automation software like Buffer or Hootsuite, you can automate your social media posts for several channels from one interface. Use these tools to update your channels with brand-new posts, evergreen content from the past and popular posts that resonate with your audience.

Marketing automation software also has social analytics that keep you up to date on conversations about you or your brand. This allows you to stay connected on a personal level by tracking what people are saying about you, who's saying it and who they're sharing it with.

Over to you

If you're feeling overwhelmed with the number of small tasks you dread completing every day, it's time to put your work in the hands of an automation strategy. This gives you more time to be productive, focus on growing your business and build personal connections with consumers. Automating simple tasks like email and social media is guaranteed to take a load off your mind so that you're happier at work.

Chris Christoff
Chris Christoff
See Chris Christoff's Profile
Co-Founder of MonsterInsights, the leading WordPress plugin for Google Analytics.
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