Running a side business takes a times and effort, but you can get some of that time back if you automate as much as possible.
I have a coworker at my fulltime job whose mantra is “automate everything”. His philosophy is that if you are performing a repetitive task on any kind of schedule then you are wasting time because repetitive tasks, by their very nature, are prime candidates for automation. Even if the tasks are performed only once a month, they still require that the same steps are performed each time, so why not automate them. You can then initiate the task sequences at the appropriate time and move on to perform other tasks. The logical answer to the question “why automate?” would seem to be “why wouldn’t you?”
What can you automate?
If you own a side business like me, or run a small business that has maybe 1 or 2 employees, then the amount of tasks that you can automate successfully is likely limited. But there are still many opportunities to apply the concept and reclaim some time and productivity.
An obvious and easy method is leveraging the many features of your smart phone. For example, I use the calendar on my smart phone for many different types of reminders, such as Nerium™ weekly meetings, monthly tax returns both for the City of Chandler and the State of Arizona, follow-ups with prospects, etc. Why try to remember all of those items and their respective times and requirements when you can enter all of that data into a calendar reminder once and then set the recurrence schedule for each item? For 2013, I committed to writing a daily blog post so I added a reminder for same to my smart phone calendar and having that reminder pop up at the same time each day has helped me stay on track with my posting commitment.
As one’s contact list grows, it can become tough to remember who’s who, so I enter a hint as part of the person’s name within my smart phone Contacts, for example Joe Blogs (Nerium) or Jane Doe (prospect). When that individual calls and I see Joe Blogs (Nerium) or Jane Doe (prospect) pop up as the caller’s name, I know what my connection is with the caller and I can answer the phone better prepared. I also have a Known Telemarketer item in my contacts list that is full of telemarketer’s phone numbers that I have garnered. It’s amazing how more productive (and less frustrated) you are when you don’t have to answer the phone and listen to some recorded message promoting some get-rich-quick scheme.
If you use Microsoft® Excel® or similar spreadsheet software application then you should be leveraging macros to automate repetitive keystrokes that you perform within your spreadsheets. Just like dragging a cell or cell selection to populate a column or row quickly, macros can help you get your spreadsheet work done faster. If you have never used a macro before, read through the relevant section of the help content that is embedded in your spreadsheet software to learn more. Microsoft® Word® also supports macros, as do other software packages.
Social media automation
As small business owners, we need to leverage the power of social media just as much as Fortune 500 companies, but staying on top of Facebook, Twitter etc. is practically a full time job in itself (and actually is at many Fortune 500 companies). Luckily, automation tools already exist that you can utilize. For example, WordPress allows you to link your Facebook and Twitter accounts so that immediately you post a new blog entry on WordPress it will automatically post a Facebook status update about your post and send a tweet. Before I noticed that function I was posting the status updates and tweets myself; now it happens automatically. Many other social media sites offer similar integration.
How have you introduced automation techniques into your small business to limit repetitive tasks and manage your productivity? Comment below and let me know.
I’m an Independent Brand Partner of Nerium™ International, I’m eliminating my wrinkles and fine lines effortlessly with NeriumAD, and you’ll always find great information about NeriumAD and Nerium™ International at my website: http://shywitness.arealbreakthrough.com