Regardless of your perspective, there is no question that today’s businesses are automating more of their daily tasks than ever before. Innovations in cloud computing and machine learning are driving further developments, to the extent that the benefits of automation are no longer reserved for large, corporate entities with seemingly infinite resources.
Today, it’s easier than ever for individual entrepreneurs, office employees and other professionals to simplify their own daily tasks through automation, often at little or no expense.
With that in mind, here are a few software solutions that can help you automate the tasks you carry out on a daily basis.
If you’re anything like most 21st century professionals, you probably send out more e-mails than you’d care to on a daily basis. Fortunately, most email clients offer automation features, including the following:
Canned responses: Do you find yourself typing out the same basic email over and over? With canned responses, you can easily add pre-formatted text to any email.
Autoresponders: This feature can accomplish much more than letting people who email you know that you’re out of the office or on holiday. It can also provide regularly scheduled responses to new subscribers and customers, for example.
Action-trigger emails: Taking autoresponders a step further, action-trigger emails are only sent when certain conditions are met, such as when a customer places an order, completes a transaction or crosses a threshold.
There are also email-based tools that can provide you with more in-depth tracking information, without the need for any more work or input on your part. For example, tools such as Mixmax or Sidekick allow you to see who has opened an email or clicked on links in your message. Likewise, tools like Mailchimp and Campaign Monitor allow you to set up powerful email campaigns with just a few clicks.
Many email clients offer calendar scheduling tools, which essentially allows you to document repetitive tasks that you carry out on a regular basis (but not necessarily every day). You can then set the calendar to email you and others, who are connected to the task in some way, to let them know it’s time to start working on it. This is a great way to ensure you and everyone else receives reminders when they need them – even if that’s several weeks or months down the line.
In addition to scheduling repetitive tasks that you or your team need to tend to on a regular basis, you can also take advantage of apps that allow you to automate meeting scheduling. The Timely app and allows you to schedule meetings and track time simultaneously. Apps like this are enormous time-savers in offices that are already losing time with unproductive meetings or old-fashioned time sheets.
Tools like Mixmax above can supercharge your email.
Touted as “team communication for the 21st century”, Slack is a tool that allows you to contact your colleagues via team conversations, private channels and direct messaging. You can also store and share all of your files, including images, PDFs, documents and spreadsheets, with anyone you want. It also lets you integrate multiple tools that you use so you don’t have to keep switching between apps. Easily set up your integration so that you get all your notifications directly within Slack — from support requests to code check-ins, error logs and sales leads.
Zapier allows you to connect your apps and automate your workflows — simply link your apps with a few clicks so they can share data and then build processes to get more done. For example, you can set up a trigger action so that when you receive a new email via Gmail, it will automatically save the attachment to Dropbox and Slack will alert you about the new Dropbox file.
IFTTT connects the apps and devices you love with “if this, then that” statements. For instance, the tool can detect when if you’re leaving work to switch on your heating at home to ensure you arrive to a warm and cosy environment.
Cloudpipes lets you bring all your cloud-based apps together. It gives you the ability to execute commands in one system, when something happens in another. For example, when a lead is updated in Salesforce it posts a new message to Slack, or when a Card is created in Trello it adds a new row to a Google spreadsheet.
As you can see, there are several ways in which daily tasks can be automated to improve your efficiency in the workplace and in your personal day-to-day activities. Whether you’re an individual contractor, an employee part of a bigger business or a manager looking to increase productivity within your team, there are always ways to streamline your tasks by automating them.
If you’d like to find out more about how automation software or tools can work for your business, contact inoutput.
Posted by Mat Hollingsworth
Thu, 16 Jun 2016
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