The word automation might scare some as the word triggers thoughts of job-snatching robots, but the reality is far less intimidating once you understand the ins and outs of the process.

Instead of seeing automation as a rival to outpace, I like to think of it as an invaluable tool that saves us our most precious resource of all — time. Work consumes our time and energy, and what we can save with automation can then be applied elsewhere.

Whether you are a solo operation or leading a rapidly growing team, you are going to need this kind of efficient helping hand to reach your goals. Not everyone immediately embraces change, but waiting too long to adapt can be a death sentence in business.

People have become accustomed to passing off the work baton for some areas that are easily automated like scheduling payroll and marketing email campaigns. These can be set easily enough and recur regularly without you ever having to lift a finger, and honestly, most people don’t miss performing these mundane actions.

Yet there are other aspects of business that stand to benefit from automated aid, and while everyone isn’t quite on board with it yet, you should consider giving the following a go and get a step ahead of the hesitant competition.

1. Group Meetings

Whether you love them or hate them, meetings can quickly soak up our time like a sponge, and there’s certainly room here to optimize with a little automation.

Of course, we can’t automate the event itself of meeting in-person or online to speak, but there is room to trim the fat in other areas. Scheduling apps have become the norm, and if you don’t already automate regular meetings that is an absolute must.

To take it a little further though, you can now automate some of the necessary preparation for a successful meeting. You can now have critical information and key performance indicators automatically integrated with your shared meeting docs.

For myself, when someone asks for a chunk of my time, I like to make it go towards something that actually requires multiple people’s presence. Having all the data almost magically appear with automation makes it easier to cut right to the core of the issue which prompted the meeting in the first place.

Ditch the report running and haphazard pasting them into shared docs, your meeting time should be spent focused on creative collaboration instead of dull formatting.

2. Financial Analytics

Data drives savvy business leaders’ decisions and is their measuring stick of success.

Having the most accurate and relevant information on hand is power plain and simple, but the real pain points usually come from where to look and what it means. There’s so much out there in terms of data, that you can quickly become overwhelmed by the numbers if they aren’t properly framed.

Luckily there are companies like DataRails that organize and present complex information in digestible forms. For business entrepreneurs with multiple revenue streams, it’s important to evaluate each one individually and see what’s working and what’s lacking.

Surprise, surprise — companies like DataRails do just that with their profitability analysis process. It doesn’t stop there either, as they cover the whole spectrum in terms of financial spending. Seeing how your budgets stack up against real-life spending and predicting future needs is all part of their nifty budget variance analysis — all this, without having to drop the Excel spreadsheets you’ve grown comfortable working with.

Having your financial analytics automated and regularly delivered doesn’t just save you time, it gives you actionable information, and that’s music to the ears of anyone making swift business moves.

3. Employee Evaluations

This one might seem a bit bold to some, as evaluating employee performance at face value seems like something that truly needs a human touch to be done right. What can be automated however is the organization and metrics used to evaluate. To start, give both sides a digitized form that automatically sends prior to the evaluation itself.

Instead of just going by gut feelings and bias, employee reviews benefit from an automated structure so there are no surprises when it’s time to check-in. If both sides are reading from different scripts, there’s sure to be confusion, so let the criteria for success be easy to understand and accessible.

The longer these systems are in place, the more they can be refined and ultimately require less time to set up and perform. By applying automation and transparency to the employee evaluation process, both sides are guaranteed to walk away with a better idea of where they stand with the other.

4. Copywriting And Editing

To the dismay of English majors around the world, the world of pen and paper is no longer limited to human hands.

Automation has made huge strides in the writing and editing world. There are mainstays like Grammarly which have been around for ages and act as an automated editor. They can catch the most egregious spelling and grammar errors, and even give tips on more delicate matters like tone and engagement level.

On the writing side of things, AI has made huge strides in being able to write articles itself, although the level of quality can be questionable at times. Still, they can be useful for shorter and less important writing tasks or be used as a base from which to build off of with your own words.

Not everyone has welcomed the age of automation with open arms, but their hesitation is your gain. Embracing its usage in the workplace isn’t just a fad, but is well on its way to being the new norm for more and more tasks.

It’s time to get with it and thrive in today’s world or be left in the digital dust along with the dinosaurs.

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