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How to use automation to free up time in your schedule

by Kayla Matthews | November 19, 2017November 19, 2017 10:00 am PDT

At the office, administrative tasks are a way of life. Keeping up with the daily busywork is unavoidable, but for most people, it’s a pain and annoyance.

If you’re like most employees, checking your email is the first thing you do after logging in for the day. While this mundane task is necessary, all the extra stress that comes with it doesn’t have to be.

For instance, you know you need to clear your overloaded email inbox, while prioritizing the important emails that are relevant to your job. Most people view daily email management as a waste of time. But what if there was a way to automate routine office tasks such as checking your email?

A handful of apps (and even some chatbots) let you do just that. These six apps make your office life easier and free up more time for you to focus on important tasks.

1. Use IfThisThenThat to create a chain reaction

It’s all too easy to get overrun with information at the office. How many times have you gathered information in one facet of your work life and had to re-type that same information into another document or app? If you want to connect your life, IfThisThenThat, or IFTTT, is the app you need.

Working much like a simple coding language, IFTTT transfers information automatically from one app to another. Do you need to transfer information from Excel to a Google Doc? Just set it up using this app, and watch as your work and personal life get connected like never before!

2. Use TextExpander to reply faster

A desktop on a table in an office image from RawPixel

You probably have some repetitive tasks during your workday. For example, you may find yourself sending the same email explanation or response multiple times a day. Instead of retyping the same information over and over, what if you could record snippets of text and copy/paste them using an abbreviation?

TextExpander is an app that saves you time when you need to send a stock response. By shortening the time it takes for you to handle these mundane tasks, you can shift focus to checking off more important things on your to-do list.

3. Use Zapier to turn multi-step projects into a single click

Connecting apps seems like a chore. They just don’t speak to each other, and it can sometimes be a significant problem when you need to transfer information from one app to another. Working much like IFTTT, Zapier helps transfer information between apps.

If you find you need to connect Evernote to Google Calendar, for instance, consider it done. Zapier takes care of the legwork and makes your information more accessible than ever before!

Zapier is also similar to IFTTT, but the two programs have some fundamental differences. Check out my comparison of both to learn what they are.

4. Use AccessDirect to automate phone calls

Image from RawPixel

Small businesses don’t have the luxury of hiring a large staff. At a smaller company, you may not have the resources to answer the phone all the time. When you run into a problem like this, what is the solution?

AccessDirect provides you with an excellent automated attendant that acts as a digital representation of your company. The attendant routes calls to the appropriate places and helps keep your customers happy. It provides your business with an opportunity for more productivity and upholds a professional image for your company.

5. Use Mint to track all your banking accounts

Passwords and online security are a must-have in the world today, but that doesn’t mean it’s any easier to access places such as your bank. How many passwords must you remember for all your various financial accounts? Your money is important, and an app that stores all this information in a central location is critical to succeeding in the fast-paced world.

Mint localizes all your financial information so you only need to visit one hub, instead of many, to gain access to your banking accounts. It saves you so much time in your busy life.

6. Use Zero to customize your email interface

Diverse business colleagues shoot image from RawPixel

Organizing the massive influx of email in both your professional and personal life is a hassle. Unless you spend every waking moment of the day checking your email, you inevitably get behind in keeping your inboxes tidy. However, maybe it’s not the emails you receive, but the interface you’re using to read them.

An app called Zero lets you customize your email inbox by organizing it in the fashion that best suits you. If you need an automation app that helps organize your email, Zero is the perfect app for you!

Automation apps can do so much for your life. In a world where stress and information continuously hover over your head, you need ways to streamline some of life’s everyday tasks and free up your time for bigger priorities.

These apps can genuinely change your life for the better. Try them out and see for yourself!

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Kayla Matthews

Kayla Matthews is a writer and tech blogger, talking about connected devices and smart tech on websites like MakeUseOf, VentureBeat, Motherboard and...

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