5 Automation & Workflow Tips for 2022Jan 12, 2022
The turning of the calendar to a new year is a chance for many people to start anew. While many drop their new years' resolutions just as quickly as they thought of them, the fraction of people that actually stick to them wind up accomplishing pretty lofty goals. If you're too stressed with work to even think about a new year's resolution, why not kill two birds with one stone and set a goal to maximize your free time by being more efficient at work?
Implementing automation into your daily processes and workflows can eliminate your need to complete monotonous, menial tasks. These tasks have to get done, but they're rather time consuming despite how simple they may be. Automating these tasks can free up hours of time throughout your year, and in turn, will also free you of a ton of stress!
Here are five tips for the new year to make your workday more efficient, and your life easier.
1. Audit your current processes and workflows - and document them too!
Before you can automate anything, your first priority should always be to ensure that your current processes and workflows are accurate and simplified as much as possible. This means going through your workflows with a fine-tooth comb and making sure that they reflect the actions that you take on a regular basis. While you're doing this, keep an eye out for areas or steps that seem redundant, inefficient, or out of place.
But why is this so important before automating?
Automation is performed by machines, not a sentient beings. Your software can only do the things you tell it to do. If you automate an incomplete process, the automation will fail. Think of it like building a house, where your processes and workflows are the foundation, and the automation is the actual structure of the house. Without that secure foundation, the structure will fall, leaving you with an even bigger mess than when you started.
Also - be sure to document your processes and workflows! Whether you store them in an application that specializes in recording workflows, a Google Doc, or something else, having your processes and workflows recorded allows you to easily review and update them at any given time.
2. Explore your tech stack for direct integrations.
One of the most simple, yet most resourceful, changes you can make in the new year is to check the programs and applications you currently use for direct integration compatibility with each other. Some of the most commonly-used applications, like Google Drive and Microsoft Outlook 365, as well as various CRMs and custodians, have out-of-the-box, built-in integrations with other popular apps that allow you to easily pass data between the two. Gone are the days of manually copying contacts, notes, and more from app A to app B!
3. No direct integrations? No problem - use Zapier!
If your tech stack has limited direct integration options or no direct integration options whatsoever, you can always rely on Zapier. Zapier is an API tool that supports over 3,000 different applications and allows you to create automations between them. In some cases, Zapier can actually be even more useful than native direct integrations due to its customizability and ability to talk to more than just two apps at a time. You can use Zapier for a plethora of tasks, including data transfer, workflow kickoffs, time-specific actions, and much, much more.
It does have a bit of a learning curve if you're using it on your own without any prior knowledge of how the app works, but thankfully, Zapier offers a selection of free courses for beginners through Zapier University. Zapier University was even a crucial piece of my own learning of Zapier. Speaking from personal experience, the developers have made the learning process extremely simple and easy to understand. It's a fantastic tool that opens up a new realm of automation possibilities!
4. Create email templates & invest in an email marketing software.
So much our communication for work today relies on email, especially with prospects and new clients. I'm sure at some point you've said to yourself, "I feel like I've sent this email a thousand times already," and that's probably because you have. Instead of continuously writing the same email over and over again to send to different clients, take note of the emails that you seem to be sending on a regular basis and create templates for them. In each template, add any content that doesn't have to be personalized each time you send the email with indicators where data needs to be customized (like the client's name or agenda items) . That way, when you do need to send the email, you can apply the template, modify it quickly and send it confidently.
In tandem with creating templates, investing in an email marketing software, such as MailerLite or Mailchimp, can free up additional time. These types of applications allow you to not only create templates for marketing emails, but they will also send these messages automatically based on the schedule or parameters you've set up for them to go out. You can also keep track of the rate at which your recipients open your emails and click links, making it a great analytical tool for sales, as well as general efficiency.
5. Don't have the time? Hire an automation specialist!
If you've read through all of the above tips and thought, "This all seems great, but I really don't have the time to invest in doing these things, let alone learning how to do them," then look into hiring an automation specialist! Automation specialists, like ourselves here at Sphynx, can help you identify areas of your processes where automation is possible, and build your visions out for you without you having to engage in any of the dirty work. Meanwhile, you'll still reap the benefits of increased efficiency and productivity, so you can spend time on the things that matter most to you, like your clients at work, and your family and hobbies at home.
In this post, we started off the year with a basic overview of a few different ways you can improve your efficiency at work with automation in 2022.
If you found this helpful, please like, comment and share. Chances are, there are other people in your professional network who would benefit from this information, so don’t keep it a secret.
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