This is the second in a three-part series on how to automate your day so that you have more time for the important things, stay at the top of your game, and remain relevant and marketable in your field. Check out our first post for helpful smartphone and social media hacks to leverage in the morning.
I don’t know about you, but keeping my e-mail inbox from achieving monster status is a daily challenge, and by the time I’ve been at work a few hours, the chaos is deafening.
So e-mail filters are my new best friend. I use the features in Gmail to automate my e-mail workflow and keep clutter out of my main areas of focus. Labeling all of my unread emails for easy search and keeping them in neat categorized folders makes it easy for me to grab an hour in the afternoon to review them instead of being interrupted every five minutes by a new arrival.
As a writer for several outlets, I conduct research on workplace, career, and productivity topics all the time. If I had to do manual searches every day for all of the content I need, I’d spend more time researching than writing.
If research is a function of your job or if you want to establish yourself as an expert or thought-leader in your industry, you might follow my lead and set up an automatic Google search to find new articles from a variety of sources, and organize them based on the keywords you've inputted. I also have a Google Alert for my name that informs me when my publications appear online and saves me time fishing them out. Depending on your role, this might be a good feature for you as well.
If you're not doing so already, consider using QuickBase to automate your project’s to-dos and your team’s collaboration on them. Forgive my plug, but by streamlining data gathering, tracking tasks and communication, QuickBase does reduce quite a few administrative headaches so you can focus on managing projects. I can easily see how QuickBase would make redundant at least 30 percent of team status meetings – music to my ears.
If you procure supplies on a regular basis, think about getting a subscription to Amazon Prime. For $79 annually, you get free 2-day shipping and $3.99 per item next day shipping. You might also want to subscribe to certain products and automate their delivery so you can get them sent to the office at regular intervals. I used to live on Amazon, but thanks to Prime and their subscription service, I've become only an occasional visitor.
Of course, nothing saves time in the afternoon like getting someone else to take on and/or automate some of your workload. The good news is, that person doesn't need to work for you full-time or necessarily be a person at all. I've recently acquainted myself with TaskRabbit, a tool that seamlessly locates experts on a plethora of topics and can also provide administrative support in case, for example, you just need someone to answer your phone for a while.
Has this been helpful? Check out Part 3 of the series on how to automate your day in the evening.