How to Automate Your Workflow and Save Hours of Time

We all get the same number of hours in a day so why does it seem like some of your coworkers have plenty of time while you’re always scurrying to get things done, and even then, struggling to meet deadlines? Perhaps it’s because you’re engaged in a lot of repetitive tasks and aren’t relying on automation to complete some of them. Here are several ways to do that.

Use the Canned Responses Gmail App

If you’re like many modern workers, a great deal of your time on the clock is spent sending or replying to emails. That’s especially true if you’re doing something like reviewing submitted applications for a position your company is trying to fill. It’s common courtesy to respond to such messages to confirm receipt, but doing it takes up precious minutes of your day.

Fix the problem by using the Canned Responses Gmail app. Set it up with just a few clicks and compose responses for different purposes within the same amount of time it’d take you to write a response to a single recipient. Create responses for different needs and access them all quickly inside of Gmail. You can also tweak settings to send emails on your preferred schedule.

Set Up Social Media Posts to Go Live On a Schedule

There are numerous social media assistant suites that allow you to schedule posts, post them on different sites simultaneously and track the level of engagement with each post. When you use one of those automation-driven options, it’ll be much easier to maintain a useful and constant presence on social media without forcing yourself to endure so much repetition.

Social media automation isn’t appropriate for all instances, but there are tools to help you strike a good balance between genuine, in-the-moment engagement and scheduled posts. To make sure you don’t rely too heavily on automated software across social media feeds, spend time monitoring responses and gauge when it’s time to step in and give feedback based on something a user has said.

Collect Content Quickly With the Pocket App

There’s a tremendous amount of content available on the internet and that fact tends to seem especially apparent when people research certain things and need to keep relevant information together and easy to find. Over 22 billion users depend on Pocket to make this common task easier. Once you’ve installed Pocket, it’ll save things you find on the web, including content captured in internet-based apps.

Even better, Pocket lets you read all the content you’ve saved, even without an internet connection. So if you spend far too much time every day looking over content and verifying it’s worthwhile, the Pocket app could help you make better use of your subway commute, for example, because you can read the collected content during your journey.

The Pocket app is also useful if you’re searching for a new job online. That’s a demanding task, but the only way to know if you’re a good fit for a certain position is to carefully read the job description and determine if you possess the necessary skills. Consider putting all potential job leads into Pocket and reading them when you can stay focused on that responsibility alone.

Create Trigger Actions

You’ve probably heard of IfThisThenThat (IFTTT), a web service that allows you to create triggers to complete tasks in your workflow using the formula: “If [this thing happens], then [do this].” For instance, you can set up a recipe to create reminders to follow up on emails that you star in Gmail or streamline any number of your tasks.

Another useful app you may not have heard of is Zapier, an integration app that connects apps you use to automate certain tasks. You can easily save PayPal receipts/orders to a Google Sheets document or add to-do list items to your calendar.

For even more automation, you can use the Push by Zapier extension in Chrome to send text to apps with the click of a button. Among my favorite uses is to send tasks to my to-do list without having to open it up or add rows to Google Sheets where I save my published posts.

Streamline Your Processes With the Workflow App

Workflow is an award-winning iOS app that helps you cut down the number of steps you go through to do certain tasks and perform those steps with single taps on your touchscreen device.

Build your own workflows by mixing and matching hundreds of tasks that you’d ordinarily do by opening several apps. For example, you can call an Uber to take you to a business meeting over lunch and make the next step in the workflow relate to a navigational app so you can tell your driver to take you on a specific route. The next and last step in the workflow might be associated with a tip calculator app so you won’t be embarrassed when the bill arrives.

You may not realize how much time you spend doing the kind of repetitious tasks like those described above. But once you start using Workflow and program it to help you get through certain parts of your workday faster than before, you’ll likely love not having to launch so many separate apps to accomplish things.

These are just a few of the many ways you can automate your workflow. They’re very effective and you can start using them today.

Do you depend on some worthy workflow automation apps not mentioned here? Tell us your tips and trick by adding a comment. Also, stay on top of new productivity tips from Punched Clocks and get extra content by subscribing to the newsletter.


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Sarah Landrum is the founder of Punched Clocks.

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