Automation is Easier Than You Think

Published by Mikala on

One of my favourite self-care productivity practices that I use every single day, is automation. 

When a lot of us think of automation we think of setting up computer programs and platforms to perform tasks – like, for example, email automations and auto responders. 

But automation doesn’t have to be complex and high tech. There are lots of simple ways in which you can use automation to simplify your life.

Simplify with recurring tasks

Recurring tasks is one of my absolute favourites, and most regularly used. Now I use a digital to-do list (Asana) which means that my tasks will pop up in my today list daily, weekly or monthly, but you can also achieve the same outcomes by using an old school paper checklist, laminated if you are so inclined. 

So I create recurring tasks for things that I need to do regularly and don’t want to waste brain energy on trying to remember. 

An example of what I mean by that is that I have a recurring daily tasks called “Email and Admin” and inside that task I have a list of subtasks that I like to complete first thing every morning which include:

  • Get email inbox to zero
  • Assign and schedule Asana tasks
  • Check and respond to Facebook Messages
  • Check and respond to Instagram Messages
  • Check and respond to LinkedIn Messages
  • Check and respond to Slack messages
  • Check bank account deposits

These are things I like to do every morning, and they all sound pretty simple and straightforward, but if I left it up to my memory I’d forget at least one or two of them, probably more. 

And then I’d probably suddenly remember later on while I’m in the middle of something else which would interrupt my focus and concentration which as we all know by now is exactly what we’re trying to avoid.

But one other thing you might notice about those tasks that I have listed all together to do at the same time, is that they’re all very similar. This is called “task batching”.

Task batch to stay focussed

Task batching is the act of batching similar tasks together and doing them all at once, rather than addressing them sporadically throughout the day. 

The idea is that by focusing solely on a single job, whether it’s replying to emails or or paying invoices, you’re able to create a more focussed workflow, minimise distractions and procrastination, and pay more attention to detail.

In other words you perform the tasks more effectively and efficiently – which makes me a very happy productivity coach.

Some other tasks that I batch and automate using recurring tasks include my: 

  • Weekly Monday Hour One which is the first hour of my week where I review all the tasks I want to get done for the week and then schedule them into the workblocks in my calendar.
  • Fortnightly Financial Admin where I review all my income for the month, enter it into my Profit First spreadsheet, transfer funds between my business accounts, reconcile my account transactions, attach receipts and pay any bills that I have due.
  • And quarterly Completion of my Business Activity Statement where I have listed all the steps I need to take to find and report the relevant information to the government. 

I also set other single recurring tasks such as writing my monthly newsletter, booking annual dental appointments for myself and my kids, and scheduling weekly coaching sessions for myself.

So your challenge for the coming week – try and set some recurring tasks (or paper checklists) to make completing your regular tasks simpler and automated.