Do you spend more time than you’d like doing repetitive computer work? So did I until I decided to learn to automate these jobs.
Within the first month I learned enough to automate the menial aspects of my work. Then I did the same for my team. Then other departments. I’ll help you do the same.
I’m sure you have some recurring jobs that seem to be a waste of your time.
You know the type: it’s part of your job role, has to be done, but it’s ridiculously boring.
You can automate pretty much any type of repetitive task like this. And I want to show you how.
Read on for an example of how I saved myself days of boring work each month with a simple app.
I had a repeating task that took me 10 solid days to complete each month.
This project was a big earner. It had strict deadlines.
To start with I hit it with passion each month. Earnings were growing even faster than my ego. Money was coming in thanks to a project I owned. No one else could do it.
I was stuck doing this task I hated. Because no one else could do it.
The task was very repetitive. Copy and paste were the tools of my trade. I would dream I was inside a spreadsheet, re-sizing columns by physically pushing or pulling them about.
Can’t I get my computer to do this work for me? Why didn’t I think of that before?
Because I didn’t know how and it seemed very difficult.
I knew that there were people who could write applications that could do what I wanted. Where I worked people with these skills were in the same building as me.
I couldn’t persuade a software developer to make me an app. Why should they? So I don’t have to do this task I hate? Their job is all about making applications for customers so the business can earn more money. Not saving middle management from boring work.
Even if I could persuade someone to do this for me, I would have a hell of a time trying to get them to understand what I wanted. They were computer people at the end of the day. They were great at programming but didn’t have much of an idea about how the business was run.
I decided to give it a go anyway . .
Turns out it wasn’t as hard as I thought it might be:
- I downloaded the tools for the job
- Spent an hour on googling how to actually start making a program
- Thought about the steps I take to do the work manually
- Created each step in code
- Fetched a coffee while the program did my work!
The code in my first program is shockingly bad. But it worked. It still works to this day.
The code won’t win any internet points from experienced software engineers. But I built it to fulfill a business need. And it really does!
Down from the previous 10 days of soul-less data manipulation, my program did all this in under an hour! I was even able to do other stuff while it did it took care of business.
How did this affect my job?
You might worry that if you write a program that does your job, you will put your job in jeopardy. Don’t. All you have done is double your efficiency.
Think about it:
Before writing my first program I was earning my salary for this 1 task I did. After automating this task I then had freed up a bunch of my time to do other work. I also now have a skill that can be put to use for other people.
What’s more, your manager’s productivity goes up for no effort on their part. Who would object to that?
I had also taken a task that only I could do, and made it accessible to anyone. This program is still earning the company money long after I left.
I benefited too
No more was I a mindless drone for half of each month. It felt great each month I ran this program. I would remember back to the times I had to do it manually and appreciate how easy it now was.
Then I watched out for workmates who also had needlessly boring jobs and made solutions for them where I could (e.g. DerbySAPId – A small app I made for a colleague).
I would get an idea during meetings with clients and quickly build them apps to improve their processes. These would blow their minds but were only about an hour’s work and pretty easy to make.
I grew to really enjoy this new found ability. So much that I moved on from middle management to become a full time software engineer. It’s basically building solutions to problems every day.
Be a pioneer
The ability to write programs to automate repetitive tasks will become a required skill in most offices. Like how the ability to use MS Office is required today.
Right now the skill is very rare. You probably don’t work with anyone who has it. That goes for the offices of your suppliers, clients and competitors too.
Be a pioneer and learn how to automate jobs now.
Help your workmates do the same.
In the future there will be people frantically trying to learn to learn this required skill so they can compete with school leavers. Be a mentor for them.