5 Ways to Use Automation to Vastly Increase Your Efficiency

 

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Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

 

With the ongoing growth in automation and machine learning software on the market, I feel it’s important for one to take this technology to its full potential; as others begin to incorporate these automation strategies into their workload, they will begin to outperform you in a variety of ways. Here are five examples of how you can use automation to increase your own performance.

  1. Schedule Emails using Templates

This is one of my personal favorite uses of automation, since I find that I send out a lot of emails. Often I’ll schedule about 100 emails to contacts in my data base with Hubspot using a predefined template to send out evenly across the week; this power send usually only takes about 30 minutes. I usually just set up my templates in Word and copy and paste them into Gmail; however, I do know that Hubspot has its own templates system, but I haven’t really inspected it too much. I recommend the Hubspot chrome extension, which you can get here.

  1. Automate content marketing

Most content distribution systems – Youtube, Medium, WordPress – allow you to automatically share your content to social media when it is sent. However, you can additionally set up automation paths using multiple different systems or a service such as IFTTT. For example, for the podcast, I have it shared to WordPress; this then activates WordPress’ sharing, which then sends it to Twitter. When it sends to Twitter, my IFTTT applet gets the tweet automatically retweeted by some of my other Twitter accounts. You can do a lot of different combos like this, and all of them can be very helpful. As I mentioned, I would recommend something like IFTTT for this.

  1. Schedule auto-replies

In addition to scheduling beginning emails, you can set up follow-up emails as well. These systems usually cost money, however, Gmail has added an update that — although doesn’t send follow-ups — does tell you appropriate times to follow-up yourself. If you do want an automatic scheduler, you can use Rebump.

  1. Create a sales pipeline

Getting into more complicated systems, you can combo steps 1 and 3 to create a full on sales pipeline. There are quite a few pieces of software that do both of these things, but most of these cost quite a pretty penny. Rather, I would use the software I mentioned in these two steps, along with (some) manual replying, to create an automated pipeline for dealing with large amounts of contacts.

  1. Automate months worth of content

One of my favorite pieces of automation software is Hootsuite. Hootsuite allows you to schedule content for your social media, allowing you to no longer worry about being consistent in optimizing your marketing; free users can schedule 30 posts at a time, so this can really help ease your workload.

 

These aren’t the only things you can do with automation, and I recommend that you go out and experiment for the many APIs and software that are out there. Things like this can highly increase the efficiency of you and your business, and give you a bleeding edge over the competition.

 

Anyway, that’s all for this one. I do want to point out that we have a brand new newsletter! Following this will give you the low-down of all the new stuff going on. You can subscribe to it here.

3 Tips for Avoiding Project Burnout

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Photo by Tim Gouw on Unsplash

For ambitious people, burnout can be a real problem. I can speak from experience when I say that I would love to do ten times more than I actually do, but simply physically cannot. Even then, I try futilely, only to realize the stress builds up and you notice you all of a sudden aren’t have quite as much fun as you used to.

So, in this post, I wanted to give some tips for avoiding burnout. These tips are mostly things that I have found helpful for me, and so hopefully you’ll find them helpful as well.

1. Recognize you have burnout

Yup. When it comes to something like this, recognition is oftentimes half the battle. Sometimes burnout can be confused with just plain stress; both are negative factors, but one has much worse long-term repercussions. Keep cognizant of whether there’s something specific that you’ve been working on that’s been causing all your fatigue, and you’ll be able to better pinpoint your burnout.

2. Give yourself a break

Once you’ve recognized that you’re feeling the effects of burnout, take an hour or two to relax. Many times this can be surprisingly hard; when you’ve been working on a project for a long time, it can be hard to quit. The urge to “be productive” takes a hold of you, and you can’t easily let it down. However, the facts are that you are actually much, much more productive if you take regular breaks than if you stay laser-focused on a project for an extended period of time; your ability to perform tasks well grows logarithmically over time, and can only be refreshed with the occasional break. This is by far the best way to fix short-term burnout.

3. Take out the non-essential

For long-term burnout, we’ll have to take some different, more extreme measures. Sometimes it isn’t that you’ve been working on a specific project for a long time in a given day; sometimes its that you’ve been working on many different projects for a long time in a given week, month, etc. In this case, it might be best for you to think of what to cut out.

One of my personal favorite quotes is from Antoine de Saint-Exupery, who said that “perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away”. I love strategically quitting projects. Whenever I work on something long enough and begin to feel it hitting a dead-end, I think to myself whether or not working on it would really help me progress to one of my long-term goals; if it does not, I stop working on it. Now take in mind that strategic quitting really is a skill; it’s hard to just give up on something, especially when you’ve made decent progress on it. But when that project is hurting you more than helping you, then its time to kill it off. Only then will the burnout cease.

Anyway, that’s all for this one. I do want to point out that we have a brand new newsletter! Following this will give you the low-down of all the new stuff going on, with the first issue coming out this Saturday. You can subscribe to it here.

Finding Adventure in 2019

 

 

It’s true. You were born too late to discover Earth, and too early to discover Space. I mean, technically you could discover the depths of the ocean, but who the hell would want to do that?

It can seem like especially in our current age of the Internet that adventure and discovery is a now, for the most part, dead concept. I remember as a kid I used to be really excited to discover new paths, easter eggs, and mysteries in the video games I used to play; however, now thanks to the unfortunate creation of data-mining, all of these secrets are ruined on day one or two. All the mystery is gone. So, how do we find adventure in our upcoming year?

Well, I think the first thing we have to do is discover what “discover” means. I think discovery, and therefore adventure and exploration come in phases. First, there is an initial breakthrough, such as when Europe discovered the Americas at the turn of the 16th century. Sure someone had set foot on it, but that didn’t mean that data was easily transmitted to the rest of the world. What did it look like? What sounds were there? What did the people and animals appear as? You could, if you were lucky, get this information second-hand from either knowing someone who went to the continent or otherwise read it being described, but beyond that, no one had truly discovered the Americas besides the people who went there.

Then, as time came on, we got pictures. And then video. And then Google Earth. Now, all of a sudden, I can pick a random spot in Russia and tell you exactly what it looks like. I can find a video of Thailand and figure out what it would be like (approximately) to live there. This second form of discovery I like to call impersonal discovery; even though you’ve never been there, thanks to technology you can get a very good understanding and estimation of what its like. I’ve never set foot on the moon, but if I view pictures and video of it enough, combined with second-hand experiences like reading, I can pretty much know what it’s like to set foot on the moon.

Alright, well that’s two generations of discovery down that we’ve already missed. What’s next? Well, fortunately for you, this final realm of discovery can never be fully absorbed by anyone but you. Which is why it gets the name personal discovery. You see, being born in Arizona, I was exposed to the Grand Canyon a lot. I saw many videos of it, even more pictures, and like any good child I flew through it in the Google Earth Flight Simulator numerous times. So, when I heard I was finally going to go to it when I was 14, I wasn’t really expecting to get anything new. Boy was I wrong.

There was this ethereal majesty to the canyon that I really could not get from anything I had previously experienced about it. Things like depth and length were awe-striking attributes that could not be condensed into any current technology. And, guess what? There are many types of these attributes, and they run across all life experiences; not just canyons.

Our brains are wired to thrive on new experiences. The more we can learn about the world by exploring it ourselves, the more we become rewarded. It doesn’t have to be the Grand Canyon anymore than it has to be the new coffee shop down the street. As long as we are constantly switching from routine, and discovering things on our own, we will stay just as happy and wise as the people who explored Earth long ago.

Well, that’s it for now. Have any thoughts about how people can crack their own adventure for the upcoming year? Have any plans of your own? Feel free to comment about them down below. If you liked this post, feel free to follow the blog or my personal Twitter to stay updated. I will be having a newsletter for my content (hopefully) pretty soon, so look forward to that as well!