Do you remember to sharpen the saw? Just like the lumberjack, you can save a lot of time at work if you invest in perfecting the tools you use. One way to perfect them is to automate tasks at work. Think about it: a lot of the things we do are actually quite repetitive. Invest some time in the automation of tasks and thank yourself later. Keep reading!
Do you automate tasks at work?
Many of us have read the story about the man who was walking through a forest when he came across an angry lumberjack trying to saw down a tree.
“What are you doing?” the man asked the lumberjack.
“What does it look like I’m doing?” the lumberjack replied. “I’m cutting down this tree.”
The man answered. “You do not seem to make any progress! Take a break and sharpen your saw.”
The lumberjack explained to the man that he had been sawing for hours and did not have time to take a break.
The man told him “If you sharpen the saw, you would cut down the tree much faster.”
The lumberjack said “I don’t have time to sharpen the saw. Don’t you see I’m too busy?”
Sounds crazy? Well, I bet we are all stubborn lumberjacks from time to time. So am I! That is why a few weeks ago I decided to invest some time to automate tasks at work.
We should all stop and think from time to time to perfect the tools we use daily. For example: few realise that a lot of things we do at work can be automated. It takes some time setting it up but when it is up and running we can save a lot of time. Automate tasks at work and make your life a lot easier!
Automate tasks at work
A few easy ways to start:
Think about it: a lot of the e-mails you are sending out are actually quite similar. So, if you invest some time in making a few good templates you can save a lot of time constantly rewriting them. Just write a perfect version of these e-mails and make sure you customize them before you send them out. Another advantage is that the chance of making (spelling) mistakes will become a lot smaller. All modern e-mail clients support the use of e-mail templates.
Automatic text insertion
AutoText and TextExpander are tools to quickly insert standard text in your documents or e-mails. You can use it for: words, sentences or even entire paragraphs. Compare it to Google’s Autocomplete. You know, when you start a search in Google and you automatically get suggestions for the word or sentence you are typing. With AutoText and AutoExpander you can use either keyboard shortcuts or your mouse to insert the text. You can even configure it to automatically expand the text each time you start typing a predefined combination of letters. For example, when you start typing your office adress, the tool will recognize this and automatically inserts the entire adress.
Mastering your keyboard shortcuts can also save you a lot of time. Using keys is much faster than using your mouse to scroll through menu’s, trying to find the right command. But it can take some time to master them. Most applications and operating systems support keyboard shortcuts. Ditch the mouse or trackpad and start banging on that old school keyboard again!
Excel is still the Swiss Army Knife of making calculations. It is versatile and extremely customizable. All calculations you do can be translated into a simple Excel formula. You don’t have to be an Excel wizard to use them either. Just make sure you save them for future use.
Siri shortcuts and Google Assistant shortcuts
If you use and iOS or Android device you may have noticed that the latest versions support the simple automation of tasks. For example; last night I discovered that Siri suggested to set my alarm clock at a specific time. And Siri was right! Somehow it had recognized my behaviour and knew it was the right moment to set the alarm at a specific time. I just clicked on it and Siri took care of the rest. Siri and Google Assistant make it easy to automate tasks at work. You can even activate them by using your voice!