There are many benefits to learning to automate tasks. Here are 5 that alone make it worthwhile. Not everyone will fall in love with coding. But you will love putting an end to boring jobs. Which brings us to number one . .
1) Never do boring work again!
Imagine never again having to manually plod through a menial, repetitive task on you computer. We all have these jobs. What matters is that they get done, not how they get done.
An hour (or however long your particular pain currently takes you) spent concentrating on a boring job can be replaced by 30 seconds of watching your app report it’s progress.
This also greatly reduces the chance for mistakes.
2) Free up time
Computers are able to perform most tasks far faster than any human can. The time it takes to automate a task is typically equal to how long it takes to perform the task manually.
The very first app I made was in answer to a task that would have taken a team of 4 people an entire week. It was incredibly boring work and would have been very easy to make mistakes in a lapse of concentration.
The app finished it with perfect results in less than a minute. My team was stoked they didn’t have to do it. And it only took me – a complete beginner at the time – a couple of hours to make!
Doesn’t it feel a bit lazy?
As someone with a pretty strong work ethic, I did feel guilty at first. Then I reasoned that I had actually done the job to a higher standard than would have been possible manually. People make mistakes when they spend hours doing manual work.
No need to feel guilty that I hadn’t personally put in a week of mind numbing data input. You could put it down to the following phrase:
Work smart not hard
What to do with the extra time
If my team and I had taken the week off it would have had no negative effect on the company. The output was the same. The company earned the same for the job. But in the real world that would have been frowned upon. As an employee one of your key responsibilities is to be in the office each day right?
Instead we moved on to jobs that weren’t due for some time. We were able to casually move through upcoming work with no deadline pressure. I started looking for the next thing I could automate.
We weren’t expecting this sudden drop in pressure to get the job done. So we didn’t have a plan to fill the vacuum in our schedule.
You will probably find the same your first time round. You will be that surprised that it actually worked that you won’t know what to do with yourself.
But after you have automated a couple of tasks and grown confidence in your abilities you can plan ahead. Here are just 3 options:
- ‘Work from home’ during the task. Complete the task right at the start using your app. The time is yours after that.
- Focus on other jobs in the queue. See if you can get a head start on them during the time you would normally be doing the task.
- Spend the time automating another task. Your time gains will then start to stack up like compounding interest!
I won’t judge if you choose option 1 ha
3) Improve your productivity
It goes without saying that if you can perform a task in less than 1/100th of the time, you are more productive. You have done this by inventing your own tool for the job.
You can think of yourself as the first person to make a wheelbarrow when faced with the task of moving dirt from one place to another. Rather than walking around with a shovelful of dirt you can quickly fill a wheelbarrow and take 20 shovelfuls at a time. As a result you effectively increase your productivity 20x.
Except by automating the task with code, you don’t even have to push the wheelbarrow!
4) Gain new skills
Have you ever felt like your career prospects have come to a dead end? Or maybe you don’t feel valued by your employer? Like you are a commodity that could be replaced. Or maybe you don’t and you just want to gain a competitive advantage.
Learning enough coding skills to let you automate regular tasks is a sure fire way to take you from being a commodity to a valuable asset.
The ability to look at a problem and drastically reduce the resources needed to solve it is very rare.
Chances are you don’t know anyone at your office who can do this. It’s also likely that no one at the offices of your clients, suppliers or partners can do this either. Or your company’s competitors.
The ability to automate tasks is likely to improve your prospects more than any other set of soft skills. What’s more, it’s not as difficult as you may think to learn these skills.
5) Break the link between the hours you work and your output
If you break down your duties at work you will see a set of tasks. Each one takes you a certain amount of time to complete. Imagine one of these tasks is to keep produce a report based on the sales data for the week.
Let’s say the average time to do this would be about an hour. Someone’s first time would take about 3 hours. And it would need someone who knows how to produce the report to sit with this person to teach them.
You are a superstar who can finish it in 45 minutes. Tunnel vision engaged, all distractions blocked out. Just get your head down and work until it’s done.
Great, you’ve put your all into it and knocked 25% off the time it takes to finish it. But can you do that on each task through the day? Every day? Without burning out?
How about you instead spend an hour or so automating the task. You build a simple app where you load in the sales data, click a button and the report gets saved to your computer.
The first week takes you 15 minutes longer than normal while you are writing the app.
But every week after that it takes less than a minute to open your app, run it and email the report to your manager. You have knocked off 98% of the time it takes to finish it and you didn’t even break a sweat.
Again, work smart not hard!
No more is your worth measured by how fast you can do the work. Because you have basically removed the work.
You can even have anyone in your office do the report without having to teach them. Just install your app on their computer. You could even try passing this on to your manager: “Wouldn’t it be easier if you just click the button on my app rather than have to ask me for it?”
That means you don’t even have to do the work anymore. In fact no one has to grit their teeth and knuckle down to making it anymore. All because you spent a month or so learning some coding basics from Automate Your Chores!