Let’s have a show of hands: who spends more time than they’d like drafting invoices, scheduling meetings/appointments and clearing their inboxes? You know, instead of actually doing the work that’s the bread and butter of your agency? Everyone? That’s what I thought.
It’s an unfortunate fact that many people spend a lot of time each day on busy work. You may work your way through your to-do list each day only to realize at the end that you didn’t get very much accomplished. These tasks create the illusion that you’re busy, but they’re merely distractions from what really matters – getting the creative work done.
One way to fight back against this drain on your productivity? Automate these time-consuming and often draining tasks.
What is Automation?
When you think of automation, you may think of robotic arms on an assembly line. While that is one version of automation, it’ll work a bit differently in your office…
Automation is simply the act of turning a process that was once manual into something automatic. You can automate the busy work of your agency in order to make space for higher-priority, more creatively-led tasks that require your full attention.
How to Decide What to Automate
When you’re trying to decide whether or not to automate a task, there are two questions you can ask yourself to help. They are:
- Does a human need to make a decision to get this done?
- What is the value of the task?
These easy questions can help you decide whether a task can be fully automated or not.
What Should Be Automated?
There are several tasks that can easily be automated to help you and your team be more productive. These tasks are considered of low value by your team and have a minimal impact on your clients. They’re basically things that happen in the background that don’t require anyone to plan out in detail or in advance. They have a process that is followed every time to get the task done.
The low-value tasks that can benefit you by automating them include:
- Employee onboarding
- Entering transactions for accounting purposes
- Processing payments
- Sending out invoices
These low-value tasks are performed better, cheaper, and more accurately by a computer – so let your electric servants do them for you.
Tasks You Shouldn’t Automate
There is one caveat to automation: you shouldn’t seek to automate tasks within your agency that require a human touch. Anything creative should stay strictly outside the realm of automation. Remember, just because you can automate something doesn’t mean you should!
High-value tasks are one of the keys to the services you provide. They directly impact your clients, the quality of the services you deliver, and your business relationships. A few examples of high-value tasks you should complete the old-fashioned way with a little human elbow grease include:
- Design work
- Strategy formation
- Customization of a product
- Sales meetings
- Sales calls
Keep these tasks assigned to humans – humans who will now have more time to do the jobs they were hired for, as all of their low-value, time-consuming tasks have been taken care of by good ol’ automation.
Making High-Value Tasks Easier
In order to fully embrace automation, you must look at how it can make the high-value tasks of your agency easier. In other words, you can deliver on high-value tasks by automating around them, even though the task itself is still accomplished by humans.
A great example of this is using Productive’s notification tools that help you to stay up to date with any developments on a project. Productive also allows you to reply right from your inbox to everyone on the team for a project. You no longer have to think about who needs to be included in an email or worry if you’ve left someone out – Productive takes care of it for you!
You can also use Productive’s project management tools to help you and your team track time more efficiently. Your employees are prompted in the system to track their time regularly, so they’ll be no need to go back in later in order to guess how much time was spent.
Productive can help you with repeating tasks such as helping you remember to tweak your client’s AdWords campaign at the beginning of each week, perform web maintenance, and invoice clients.
Remember, just because you don’t want to make a task completely automated doesn’t mean you can’t automate the operational tasks that go along with it. This will make it easier to deliver your product to clients and will make it less time-consuming in the process.
Ready to Go?
Life’s busy but with Productive’s tools at your fingertips, your hectic work life just got a little easier. Now you can focus on ensuring that the work your agency has promised is delivered as automation helps you to manage overload and hand off repetitive tasks. Remember, automation works in your favor, so don’t be afraid to harness the power of machines while still tapping into the raw creative power of the people working for you.
Now, let’s get another show of hands: who’s ready to automate?