It can feel like you’re drowning.
No matter what you do, no matter how hard you work, no matter what productivity strategies you try; you just can't seem to find enough hours in the day.
I knew that feeling well. But I was able to escape the quicksand over the last year through one simple rule:
Work one fewer hour each day.
No, this isn't going to be one of those posts about how you need to rest more – I didn't escape 'the quicksand of not enough hours in the day' by taking that hour off.
I did it by devoting that one hour to automation.
At the end of every day, I reviewed my tasks for that day and spent one hour automating as many as I could.
This helped me tap into the '1% Better Rule.'
The 1% Better Rule
If you devoted yourself every day to become 1% better than the day before, how much better would you be after one year of work?
Many people think that you would perhaps be three or four times better by the end of the year, but due to the compounding interest, you would be 37 times better.
I learned this rule through this article by James Clear. But I always found it somewhat deceiving because "better" is ambiguous.
That ambiguity, however, does not apply to automation.
Devoting myself to one hour per day every day over the last year to automation has continued to help me accomplish more in less time at a compounding rate.
And this is the first of a series of posts I am putting together to teach you how to do the same.
1. What should you automate?
The opportunities for automation are limitless. There is no limit to what you can accomplish by automating your tasks, your emails, your sales pipeline, your marketing funnel – anything you do on a daily basis can be done more effectively.
This opportunity, however, comes at a price. With everything you can automate, where do you start?
The limitless opportunity available with automation can lead you to feel overwhelmed and end up automating the wrong things, or nothing at all.
To overcome that tendency, the best thing you can do is ask yourself, "what am I trying to accomplish here?"
Rather than looking at the opportunities for automation, start by looking at what you're already doing, and then ask yourself, "how can I do this automatically?"
So the first steps are to write down every recurring task you can think of:
- Get everything that you worked on in the past day.
- Get everything that you worked on in the past week.
- Get everything that you worked on in the past month.
Write it all down.
2. Create a Dashboard
Now that you have a list of every process within your business or life that you do on a regular basis, now we need to put it on a dashboard.
A dashboard will allow you to see what's going right, what's going wrong, and how automation is making an impact.
Here is an example of my dashboard:
It shows all of the essential processes of my work and life: including sales, marketing, product – even my workout and meditation time.
By having this dashboard, I can create various automated solutions that tie into each of these processes and help me get more done in less time.
With all of your tasks:
- Put them into a category such as sales, marketing, etc.
- Write down as much time as it usually takes you to get each of those tasks done.
- Store them in your favorite spreadsheet or database tool (I personally use Airtable which you can sign up for here.)
This dashboard will provide a solid foundation for you to build on.
3. Sign up for Zapier
Zapier is a tool that allows you to connect apps you use every day to automate tasks and save time. You can connect any of their 750+ integrated apps together to make your own automations. What's more it's quick and easy to set up - you don't need to be a developer, anyone can make a Zap!
As far as automation tools, they are hands-down the best. Here’s a quick video on Zapier if you would like to learn more.
You can use it to:
- Auto-organize your emails.
- Create new to-do items based on communication with team members.
- Track your progress in sales, marketing or any other domain in your business or life.
Here are a few ways I use Zapier to automate my life:
Being prompt in your email communication is important, but you don't want to be checking your email every hour.
This Automated solution sends me a text notification when a "VIP" emails me.
Now I can be prompt when it matters, without checking constantly.
If you're a content creator, you probably spend a lot of time sharing your content via social media, content platforms, and emails.
This Automated solution recognizes when I publish a new post and immediately shares it with my followers:
This frees me to spend more time creating content and less time sharing it.
If you're in sales, marketing, or own your own business, you know how important it is to track your customers.
This Automated solution recognizes when a new student signs up for a Guide and begins tracking their progress toward a successful completion.
This shows me which steps work, which need improvement, and how to help customers complete each Program.
We live in a world of technology. Zapier allows you to connect your various services to automate your life.
- To get started with Zapier, you can set up your own Zapier account at this link.
- Or you can get free access included if you join ourGet Things Automated Program.
Time is not money – it is much more valuable.
Even with $100 billion, I would not be able to buy back the last year of my life. However, I can do more with the next year of my life, and every year after that, because I committed myself to automation and allowed the marginal gains to build.
The best time to start automating your life was 20 years ago. The second best time is today.