How much time do you spend every day at work doing routine tasks like answering emails, processing payments and backing up files? Home life, too, requires you to complete a lot of small tasks — from cleaning to grocery shopping to paying the electric bill.
Just how much time do we spend on these menial tasks? U.S. workers reportedly spend 13 hours a week on email. Studies have also found that financial workers spend 50 percent of each day processing transactions, which includes filling out paperwork, paying bills and approving invoices.
What if you could get someone — or something — to do these tasks for you? Thanks to automation technology, you can. Using a computer or other machine to automatically complete tasks for you could save workers up to two hours of work time each day. That adds up to 240 hours per year.
Here are a few examples of things you could automate to give you time to focus on the things you want to spend your time on and make you more productive.
1. Responding to Emails
Email is one of the biggest time-wasters for employees, and it eats up time at home, too. Sometimes, that email notification ding on your smartphone is just so hard to ignore! Thanks to email automation tools, many of which are included right in your email account, you can start cutting down on your email time.
If you find you’re typing up the same short messages over and over, set up stock responses, which will automatically respond to specified emails with a response you craft in advance. You can also use filters to automatically organize your emails, forward them or mark them as important.
2. Grocery Shopping
Hate going to the grocery store? Sign up for a subscription service and get food sent to your door. Meal services like Blue Apron and Hello Fresh will even send you kits with everything you need to make a meal. You can also schedule recurring deliveries of specific items you buy regularly, such as toiletries, so you never run out — and you never have to leave the house to get them.
Grocery Shopping Hack: Weekly Shopping ListsDo you struggle to think of what you need to buy at the supermarket each week? Or perhaps you need to write a list to stop you buying everything and anything! The free Grocery Shopping List download lists most of the common items you might need to help you work out your shopping list for the week.
3. Handling Finances
Managing money is important, but it’s also time-consuming. You have to transfer funds, pay bills and keep track of spending. Lots of people already use a bit of automation to make these processes easier, but they may not be taking full advantage of technology’s capabilities.
Utilities, loan companies, and banks often allow you to automatically schedule payments, which is a convenient — and usually free — way to pay bills. Businesses often cut down on payment time by using direct deposit. You can also schedule automatic transfers to savings accounts and other locations.
When proofreading emails, blog posts, newsletters and other forms of the written word, it’s easy to miss things unless you spend a lot of time on the editing process. It’s vital, though, that you have professional-sounding communications. Automation can help speed up your proofreading while still ending up with top-notch writing.
Editors can use one of several proofreading tools — such as Grammarly and WhiteSmoke — that catch spelling and grammar mistakes, as well as point out issues like wordiness and repetitiveness. You’ll still have to fix the mistakes yourself, but these apps make it much easier to catch them.
5. Creating Presentations
If you don’t want to spend the time creating a PowerPoint for your next meeting, or just want to update a few things in a familiar presentation, try automation.
Just input the information you want to include in your talk, and the automation tool will create the actual slides. You could even write your own code to do this for you if you’re especially computer-savvy.
Editor’s Note: There are a few ways to automate presentations, some examples to get you started:
- Update a presentation automatically with Task Scheduler
- Canva which has pre-built templates to speed up your presentation creation
Automation Is The Way Forward
Automation is changing the work world. While many people worry — often fairly — that automation will take their jobs, others have found ways to use technology to become more productive.
When used properly, this technology can take care of your more tedious tasks and leave you more time to focus on the things you’re truly passionate about.
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