Automate FTW

It’s been a little while since I’ve written a true productivity post and today feels like just the right time to make that happen.

One of the most effective ways to get ahead in anything that you do is to learn how to automate as much as possible. In the world of technology there are a million ways to automate things but there are also opportunities to automate smaller pieces of our daily lives.

When you automate things you allow yourself to get more things done in the same amount of time. This is the real trick and the secret win to automating. Think about a situation where you do a task. Let’s say you log on to your computer every morning and you open up a series of applications, your email, your chat client, maybe an application you need to do your work, some music, a website or two to check the weather, etc, etc…. and in total, it takes about 5 to 10 minutes for everything to load up and be ready.

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And let’s say you do this every day, Monday through Friday for the entire year, that’s roughly 252 days. If all of this takes roughly 10 minutes to do each day, that’s 252 days x 10 minutes which comes to… 2,520 minutes or better said, 42 hours.

Now think about the time you save if you take those 42 hours and instead of doing the same task everyday you use those 42 hours to automate the task and take a 10 minute task down to a couple of seconds. The return on investment here is astronomical! I mean you’ve reduced the effort of this task by 99.99%. You’ve basically eliminated this work from your life and now have gained that time back to invest elsewhere.

photo cred: Carlos Aranda

So you should be thinking bigger now. What about a task that you do multiple times a day? Something that you do maybe 3 to 10 times a day? Maybe it takes a minute each time, maybe it takes 5. What about a task that takes 30 minutes every other day?

One area that I’ve cut a ton of time and work out of my own life is in managing my finances. I would constantly have to sit down and pull up an excel spreadsheet and breakdown and workout how my budget looked. What was I spending, what was I saving, where it was all going. It took a couple of hours every month and then a few minutes every week to keep it updated.

After a while I got tired of the constant manual labor and started looking for a better solution. Then I found https://www.mint.com/ and I’ve never looked back. Mint automated so much of the manual labor I was doing and not only gave me back a few hours each month it actually made my budget more accurate and less prone to human errors.

And if you continue to identify these types of tasks, these little things that you repeat on a daily or weekly basis and then you find ways to automate some parts or all of them you will find that you’re able to get even more done with the same amount of time.

This is the big trick to getting ahead. You’ve taken what’s fixed, the number of hours in a day, and you’ve managed to get more done within that fixed number of hours. If you keep compounding this effort over-and-over your levels of productivity will climb higher and higher than before.

Automate, automate, automate for the win!

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