There are many common little tasks that we all do each and every day. Many of these can be streamlined or automated to make your day easier.
Take back control of emails
Rules that automatically carry out repetitive daily email sorting could save you a lot of time and frustration, especially when dealing with those messages where you’re needlessly copied in.
The top level rules include:
- Moving a message from a specific person to a destination folder
- Moving emails containing specific words or phrases in the subject line to a designated folder
- Moving public emails
- Send an alert to a mobile phone based on certain rules
- Request read receipts for certain emails you send, but not all
- Delay delivery of an email you send
By using rules and alerts you can use automation to improve productivity and your email response times when needed.
Setting up rules in Outlook is straightforward, as long as you know what you want to achieve. Rules are even semi-completed for you, if they involve an email you have highlighted when you begin creating one.
A great guide to creating Outlook rules can be found here.
Automate where possible (and if it’s safe to do so)
It’s not just email where certain tasks can be automated to save time and effort, many of the daily tasks we perform around online apps and networks can be automated.
Services like IFTT and Zapier offer the ability to create triggers and actions based on popular social networks, communication and collaboration platforms, and productivity apps.
The ability to automate tasks, such as backing up photos you take using your phone, creating a log of recent phone calls or adding expense receipts to a spreadsheet not only saves time, but also means you don’t have to remember to do them yourself, freeing you up for a more proactive approach to your day.
At CIPHR, we offer HR automation throughout our solutions. Scheduling letters and reports, the processes included in employee onboarding, self-service requests and manager notifications are just some of the areas that can be automated to streamline your daily activities.
It’s also possible to automate certain actions that you may perform manually on your mobile device on a daily basis.
Apps such as AutomateIt and Tasker (on Android) allow you to trigger processes based on time or other actions on your phone. For instance, if you want your Bluetooth functionality to activate at a certain time or for the phone to be silent when you’re in a certain location, then you can create processes for these.
The more tasks, no matter how small or insignificant they may seem, that you can automate, the greater the time and effort savings you’ll achieve.
Is there a mobile version?
It’s always worth checking if the traditionally PC-accessed solution you use is available as an app or mobile site. If you’re able to carry out regular tasks on your phone, rather than having to get a laptop out and boot it up, then it’s much more convenient and less time-consuming.
Most online tools are mobile friendly and should be just as easy to use whether you’re on your PC, iPad or Android phone.
The ability to access solutions from wherever you might be also increases flexibility in terms of where you can work, communication with colleagues when working remotely and collaboration between disparate team mates.
Streamline where appropriate
It’s always worth reviewing processes on a regular basis to assess whether any streamlining can be achieved.
New technologies and tools mean that there’s often a more efficient way to achieve tasks that have remained unchanged for any amount of time.
- Is there a stage in the process that can be improved using new technology?
- Has the app used in a process been updated to include functionality that can be utilised?
- Is there an alternative app to the one you’re currently using?
When creating new processes it’s also important to try and be as efficient and productive as possible, and optimise the process on a regular basis.
Get the information you need to come to you
Rather than a daily search for certain information, or resources pertinent to your field or job, you can use one of a number of tools to automatically deliver the information to you.
Social listening tools and content searches will collect information based on keywords, hash tags and phrases of your choice. You can then have these delivered in a number of ways, from email digests to RSS feeds.
These tools include: