“Automation is a matter of removing the obstacles that get in the way of my productivity. It helps me stay focused so that I keep the main thing, the main thing!”
~ Debra Hilton
Here’s what I’m talking about….
I usually start with WHY something matters. This time I’m starting with WHAT because you may have the same misconceptions and mental blocks about automation that I had… misconceptions that many of my peers also have.
We all know that there are tips and tricks for any process to make it faster, easier, and more elegant. I still remember when one of my teachers showed me the ‘easy way’ to solve trigonometry equations. The thrill of accomplishment when my first problem using the technique a. Made sense; and b. Resolved (correctly) in a fraction of the time it usually took was amazing.
The other day, a friend showed me how to do some magic on an Excel spreadsheet and that gave me the same thrill… BUT I rarely have to solve trigonometric equations or wrestle with Excel spreadsheets these days.
What I do need to do is:
- Start & stop programs
- Copy & paste text
- Respond to emails (often asking similar questions)
- Find information (links, numbers, data, facts, etc.)
- Take notes
- Complete repetitive tasks
- Administer complex marketing and ghost-writing projects
- Take care of health, nutrition
- Follow up colleagues and prospects
- … I could go on forever!
All of these things are part of the activities I love to do, the ones that provide satisfaction:
- Writing for myself and clients
- Strategising and designing campaigns
- Analysing results and modifying systems
- Spending time with my family and friends (the most important of all)!
I never really thought about how much time I was spending doing some of these things, and I certainly never realised what I could do about it, until I was listening to David Sparks and Rosemary Orchard one day on the Automators Podcast.
Suddenly it hit me: I was wasting hours each day doing things that I could turn into a keystroke or two (especially on my phone) AND this automation would not only save me time (the only unrenewable resource), it would also deliver better, more consistent results.
The Outcome: More time for the things that really matter!
Talking about Eliminating Busy Work…
I spend a lot of time repeating similar tasks – writing and responding to emails, moving text from one platform to another, tracking ideas and creating resources, inserting images… Even initiating phone calls and tracking grocery shopping needs.
These are important tasks, but what if I could do them faster and more accurately and free up time for the things that only I can do? (Or things that I love doing?)
I started noticing how many times I was performing the same set of keystrokes to file documents and name them properly. I really noticed this when I was working on marketing campaigns in Infusionsoft by Keap: automating the process made it easy to deliver more personalised campaigns in less time… And this showed up in the results we saw, too.
One of my clients has been ‘running’ a referral system for nearly three years. The problem was that it wasn’t actually ‘running’ – it was ‘there’. When we automated it and eliminated almost all of the human resistance the program suddenly started to deliver substantial results almost overnight because all the staff had to do was answer the phone or email, book an appointment and take notes (into the CRM) which were then available for senior staff to use during the consultation.
That part was exciting!
The next part was even more exciting! The reception staff came up with some ideas for increasing conversion even more because they felt (rightly) that they were part of the success-story.
End Result of Automation: Results + Creativity + Ownership!
In almost every situation, appropriate automation helps you accomplish more and tick more things off your to-do list by eliminating friction.
The Thinking Shift
A while ago I was working on a complex campaign for a client who was consulting for a major third party. We had automated a huge amount of the process, but there were a few elements that relied on human actions – not a problem, people are great… Until they aren’t.
I’m sure you’ve been in the situation where you are meticulously following steps and doing one thing after another and then you get interrupted. If you’re in administration or customer service, maybe it was an email, or a question, or a call… And that distraction sends you off in the wrong direction. You miss a cell. You transpose letters. You…
In this case, a small number of human errors were compounded in the system and we had a problem that took hours to fix. It also undermined our confidence in the system so we spent even more hours second guess and cross-checking.
We did have another option. At the start of the process we considered investing in a tool that would have automated that human task, too. We chose not to follow that route and learned the hard way that a system can be refined, tweaked, modified, but it almost always does what is told to do (for better or worse).
You can fix a system, but human errors are unique – just as humans are unique.
We do live in a mechanised world, that’s just reality. So why not let machines and automation carry the burden of that and set people free to create, innovate, and do the things they do best – which are rarely repetitive yet essential tasks that require laser-targeted accuracy on a large scale.
Your Ultimate Goal
Your goal in business is probably pretty similar to mine: do an excellent job, enjoy your work, deliver results that your clients value.
To do that, you need to carry out a lot of repetitive tasks that disrupt your focus and derail your efforts and energy.
What if automation could remove those barriers and set you free to invest your time in things that you love to do, and that deliver results? The right automation can do exactly that.
Visit My Automation Page
You can read more about how I automate business and marketing for myself and clients on my Automation & Systems page and discover how it helps you deliver more personalised outcomes and service consistently.