Robots

Do you ever wish you had a doppelganger? Multiple versions of yourself to do all the things you need to do? The most effective time managers all share one trait; the ability to delegate. They delegate tasks they do not need to do to others so that they can concentrate on the work they do well in their genius zone.

When I am talking to people, especially in small business who need help with time management it is the urgent but not necessarily important things like paying invoices or answering phones that get in the way. These tasks are not important in the sense that they don’t actually have to be physically doing them. Somebody else can do them. But here’s the thing, even in small business, we don’t always have people at our fingertips that we can afford to pay to do these things for us, and so we just dismiss this idea of being able to delegate.

Virtual Assistants

However, there are several ways you can delegate without spending too much money. Utilising a Virtual Assistant is one of these options. VA’s are freelancers working on a contract basis, so you do not need to pay them for fulltime hours, or sick pay or superannuation. You can contract them for general administration or special projects at a fraction of the cost of employing an administration officer. (In fact this blog you are reading now has been prepared with the assistance of my VA)

Email Rules

Another option for delegation is automation tools and software. In 2019 there is so much that we can do with digital technology which can automate a whole range of processes for us. For example, if you’re using the Microsoft Office Suite of applications, and you’re using Outlook for your email, there’s some great features in there called rules and there’s some really complex automations that you can set up in Outlook based on certain criteria. These rules can save you an immense amount of time and if you are not already utilising these I encourage you to explore them.

There is another feature called Quick Steps, which is where you can create a sequence of things that will happen with the press of one button; a range of things will happen to that email. Gmail also has similar rules and automations and I guarantee any email system you are using will also have similar automations.

In terms of other email and CRM systems which can automate tasks for you, MailChimp has had some recent changes but the good news is that their automations are still available in the free plan. HubSpot and ActiveCampaign both have automations and ActiveCampaign in particular is absolutely brilliant in terms of what you can set up and trigger to happen while you are sleeping.

Automation Tools

Now, if you’re looking for automation and time saving outside of email programs I highly encourage you to go and check out the online program called IFTTT. Its full name is If This Then That.  It will create micro programs for you called applets where one program will talk to another. For example, you can say “if I do something on Facebook, do this on Twitter”. There’s a whole range of things that you can set up on IFTTT to save you time.

When I was first exploring this tool, I had an applet that linked NASA to a social media account, so that every time NASA posted a picture, it would repost on my profile, just extraordinary photos coming out of NASA. Planets and black holes and stars, however people started saying to me “You’re really into the space thing, aren’t you?” So, I did eventually cancel that applet.

However, if you if you want to go one step further and want automations for grown-ups, so to speak, then Zapier is the master in this space, and a lot of programs are now partnering with Zapier. Zapier will design really complex automations called Zaps, that automatically happen simply and quickly. You can get Outlook to talk to Facebook or you can get MailChimp to talk to a Google sheet. For example, if you’re downloading data into a Google spreadsheet, you can get Zapier to send the data to MailChimp automatically and then in MailChimp, you can have an automation that goes out to all of those people and it happens without you having to do any manual data entry.

In the free account you can have up to three Zaps, however if you really want to get Zapier working for you it can do some really complex automations if you are prepared to pay for a plan. These Zaps probably save me about two or three hours of work myself or paying somebody else to do the work. It’s especially helpful for data collection.

For example, anyone that requests to join my Facebook groups, are asked if they want to be informed about different topics.   I use a program called Group Funnels which will download that data onto a Google sheet and then I use Zapier to send that data from the Google sheet to ActiveCampaign, then in ActiveCampaign, it’s set up to send out a sequence of emails to those people, welcoming them into the group. Just one press of a button and all of these automations trigger each other.

So, those are just some examples of how to delegate and automate your workload to save time. Most of those are free or very low cost, it’s just a matter of exploring them. If you need further help understanding these automations and programs have a chat to me about a federally-funded program where you can access support to help set up some of these programs within your business or in your work environment.

Do:

  • Delegate to Virtual Assistants
  • Set up email rules
  • Take advantage of program automations

Don’t:

  • Waste time on tasks that can be automated
  • Think you have to do ALL the things
  • Work without systems

If you’d like to access Federally Funded Digital Coaching, you can find out more click here.

My favourite selection of Time Saving Apps.  Download the List.

About the Author:

Barbara Clifford (The Time Tamer) is a Time Management Strategist & Stress Management Practitioner based in Alice Springs, Australia. She has spent over 20 years working in time precious and stressful industries such as film, hospitality and marketing. She has always had a burning passion for creating order and making sense of things. She is sought after like a beacon in a sea of chaos to provide professional development in the business environment through workshop training, coaching, mentoring, online training programs, webinars and as a guest speaker around Australia. Her professional experience has included contracts with small business, Not For Profits, Aboriginal Organisations, Media, Marketing, Aged Care, Universities, Health Services and Cruise Ships.