If I told a room full of people I could save 4 hours in their working week, most of them would be queuing up afterwards wanting to know the secret to lost time. One of the hardest struggles sometimes in our working lives is how to squeeze out more work in less time, or ‘How can I work with less hours but be more productive’?
Technology isn’t always the answer and it’s interesting to watch a retrograde going back to design with pen and paper rather than using a digital source. But since this article is about automation, here are some key ways of being productive in the online world.
Automate your Email
Lately, I have been using a program called Mailbox, which is both an Android and an iOS app. This helps you to manage your emails by allowing you to choose a time to view them. Sometimes it’s not important to answer certain emails right at that very time, you can choose a time in which they appear at the top of your inbox.
Automate your Social Media
Lately, I have been experimenting using both Buffer and Hootsuite to schedule my social media. The benefit of using automation tools is you can access the analytics for each of these platforms and schedule your posts so they appear during the ‘ideal’ time to post.
Another product on the market at the moment is Meet Edgar which is another social media management tool. It collects your social media content into a library, which can be then re-shared later on.
Automate your Images
When you are creating images either on your iPhone, Android device or via social media, it’s a good idea to be able to save them without individually backing each photo up. This is where a tool like Zapier or IFTTT comes in handy. I love creating images for Pinterest and Instagram and often want them directly saved to Dropbox.
IFTTT uses what they call recipes–rules that tell your apps what to do. There is a ‘trigger’ (what starts the process) and then an ‘action’ (what happens afterwards).
To automate your images, there is a recipe called save your ‘Instagram’ photos to ‘Dropbox. It does exactly what it says it does. It’s just one of many ‘recipes’ already available for you to use. Or, you can also create one yourself. There are many other things you can automate beyond images, so explore the recipes to find out what else you can do!
Automate your files
Did you know there are some great tools that can help you organise the content on your computer whether these are files or images? Sometimes there are files that need to be archived or other tasks to schedule.
For Mac, the application is called Automator. It has been a way for Mac users to automate repetitive tasks with Apple software, such as Safari, iTunes and Calendar. Now, other third party products such as Microsoft Office, Adobe Photoshop and text editors work.
There is a similar app for windows called Action(s). Here are some great tutorials for automation with Action(s) that don’t require any technical knowledge to create. One of my favourites is to batch rotate images, which can rotate all your portrait images in one go. There is nothing worse than taking photos and then having to manually turn them all around!
Windows also has an inbuilt tool called Windows Task Scheduler. This requires a bit more technical know-how, but there are some great tutorials for various tasks. You could use it for auto-launching programs when you log on, for example, or clearing your downloads folder weekly.
Featured image: A Murder of Drossels-06
Download Get Your Life Back ebook by Kasia Gospos, founder of Leaders in Heels, on how you can streamline and automate your business and life so that you have more time for what you really love.