Workflow Automation 101

Automation is one of the most powerful tools in your productivity arsenal, but it's vastly underutilized. What is automation and how can you implement it in your workflows?

Workflow Automation 101
credit @golimitless

Let's face it, humans are lazy and inefficient. Now before you go and defend the human race, hear me out.

Work is inspiring, yes, however, work can also be draining. Technology has given us a path to achieving amazing things but simultaneously added pressure to perform at break-neck speeds.

Consequently, technology is opening the door to automation.

Ever tried to do a task and found yourself opening multiple applications or browser tabs, forwarding information from one program to another and back again, copying and pasting across multiple locations, and generally fumbling around in the process? The chances are good that you could have made the task much simpler through workflow automation

What is automation?

Automation is the use of rule-based logic that performs a series of tasks to remove human intervention. As you can imagine, this will help you save time, work faster, and more consistently. For example, you might want to receive an email of upcoming tasks every morning at 7 AM or have new subscribers be added to a separate drip campaign.

Automation has allowed businesses at every stage to save money, increase revenue, and streamline processes. It also gives people the ability to concentrate on things that really matter and get more done in less time.

Some of the best automation tools:

Here are 3 ways to automate your workflows:

Starred emails to tasks

I've centralized all of my tasks to one app, ClickUp. Many people love, okay that's too strong... accept that email is a form of both communication and task management for them. I think you should reconsider.

The goal here is the elimination of switching from tab to tab and aligning incoming and scheduled work. Set a rule that every time you star (Gmail) or flag (Outlook) an email that it creates a task in your productivity app with all of the content and link to email included.

Email attachments to Google Drive

Have you started looking for an attachment in your emails? It's no small feat. Tracking down files attached to emails can be a serious time-killer, an unnecessary one at that.

I've set up a workflow automation that sends all of my email attachments to a specific Google Drive folder. This not only ensures that all of my files are backed up to a secure location, but they also give me much more flexibility over search and access when I need them.

Create & track calendar events

If you use a calendar to set up meetings then you know just how important it is to have both the details and people attending.

One way I automate my calendar events is by syncing my Gmail and Outlook. I'm a Google power-user but recently got an Outlook email from a client. This immediately created friction in my workflows. So for every event created in Outlook, I have one added to Google.

There are endless combinations of workflow automation you can implement, but it's important to identify repetitive tasks first. With the era of technology demanding more and more from us, automation is a path to taking back our time and freeing us of mind-numbing tasks.

If you've built an automation you love, tell me about it on Twitter.

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