Once we have mastered managing our tasks and time so we feel on top of things, the next logical step is to automate as much as we can.
We should still do those central, advanced tasks that require particular expertise and which put our core competence and skills to good use.
But as for those numerous tiny tasks and daily operations that are neither very inspiring or dependent on our expertise to be completed, these can be scheduled.
Help is available
There are usually several automation-functions and features that help us eliminate some of these small, distracting tasks in our emailing programs, office programs and operating systems which are fairly easy to learn, but I rarely see people using them.
With reasonably simple means we can allow these to do the small tasks and operations for us, without having to acquire any new programs or having to ask someones’ permission to do so.
It is easy to teach yourself how to use them since the internet is teeming with tutorials and instructions – both official guides as well as videos and instructional blogposts created by enthusiasts.
For example, here is the education center for the Office series, and you can do searches to find instructions to other programs. You do not have to learn everything at once. I recommend you start with one way of automating to at least make your work a tad easier.
Decide to learn something new about the integrated automating features and functions in the programs you already use this week. You do not have to know exactly what you want to automate beforehand, you will figure that out as you learn more about the opportunities that are available to you.
Now search for a relevant combination of ‘tutorial’, ‘guide’, ‘overview’, ‘macro’, ‘rules’, ‘script’, ‘automator’, ‘vba’, ‘office’, ‘lotus notes’, ‘outlook’, ‘os x’, ‘windows’ or something else.
Choose a video or blogpost that seems interesting and watch or read it right away, or write a to-do-task that entails you doing so.
If this inspired you, then do another search for a combination of words describing the task you first thought of as a potential automating-candidate you would want to take off your own to-do-list.
A little nudge at the right moment
If you learn more about the integrated automating functions that are already available to you on your computer or in the programs you use, and apply any of them (even if it is just one), you will rid yourself of a few small tasks that previously required some of your time and focus. Instead you will now get to enjoy seeing it done automatically. Getting tasks done automatically always gives me the feeling of getting unexpected help from someone that really wants to help me.
Even if we still have the more extensive, advanced tasks left to complete, it will still be worth having made the effort to learn something new in order to get these little nudges forward by being helped with the little things.
How have you automated smaller tasks?
What have you done to automate smaller operations and tasks recently that you are particularly happy about? Write to me and share, because this is something that really interests me at the moment. You will reach me, as always, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and I am eagerly awaiting your story or tip.
Source: David Stiernholm, author or Super Structured
David Stiernholm is a trainer who teaches thousands of people every year in companies, government authorities, organizations and universities how to become more structured and attain a higher degree of personal efficiency.
“Information overload”, “too much going on”, “full email inbox”, “too much on your plate”, “heavy workload”, “ASAP”, “piles that keep growing”, it has to get better soon… Yes, there are many ways to describe the chaotic life many of us lead at work. But, if we create a better structure at work, we will have more time for what matters most to us and to our business. Super Structured is based on a highly successful training program and is for anyone who wants to create a workday that runs smoother and with greater ease. In short chapters with useful advice and tips