We’ve all seen, and most likely read, those articles that proclaim “30 hacks to improve workplace productivity” with gems such as ‘delegate’ ‘outsource’ and ‘gamify’ as the holy grail of solutions. But let’s face it, delegating takes time and planning, and really, who the hell has enough staff right now to give the work to? Outsourcing for those lucky enough to have found their dream off-shore team or magical third party (that can actually do the work), still face the risks of data security, not to mention the additional cost and time zones to contend with. And gamification…is it really possible to make data entry fun?

Six hours a week seems like a lot of time – and it is. It’s almost a full working day lost in re-keying data or repeat activities. What a way to kill inspiration or opportunity to get on with the really important business stuff.

Have you asked your team what tasks they do each day that sucks the life right out of them? Can you start automating some of these repetitive tasks so they’ve got more time to focus on the interesting and rewarding parts of their jobs (or maybe just get out of work on time!).

Data Collection: Eliminate human error and manual data entry by automatically collecting, uploading, or syncing data into a system of record (55 percent)

Approvals: Become more efficient by automating approvals, sign offs, and confirmation requests (36 percent)

Updates: Reduce wasted time by automatically requesting status updates and other information (32 percent)

So are we doomed to continue to work harder and not smarter in our labour (and talent) short workplaces?  If we think about these three areas where workers would like to see a reduction in repetitive work there are some effective and relatively simple solutions that can be applied.

Data Collection – Collect it once and make sure it’s right. 

You should only be inputting your data once into your business system and from there making the most of in-built automation to move or copy the data to where you need it. If you’re working with a CRM, have you connected it to your finance or marketing systems? Are your leads feeding automatically into the system? Are you using data validation tools on your web forms or within your CRM for key data fields like addresses, phone numbers and email?

While it might seem like an expensive outlay to integrate these systems, the ongoing benefits of time saving and data accuracy will soon outweigh these costs.

Approvals – Get deals done faster

Whether it’s quotes, contracts, artwork or budgets a lot of time can be wasted chasing approval or confirmation and if you missed an email requiring your decision you could be delaying your project without even knowing it.

If you’re a user of Office 365 and you’re not using Power Automate to help manage your approvals you may be missing out on some valuable time saving opportunities. For those with a CRM, have you set up workflows to track and remind the team of upcoming activities? Using (and integrating) a tool such as PandaDoc or ZohoSign are also great ways to establish a structured process that will handle reminders and notifications for you.

Updates – Don’t rely on emails to find out what is going on

If your business activity relies heavily on regular updates but you find yourself spending more time chasing the updates than getting on with the work, you should consider a CRM or project management tool that centralises communication, automates next steps and triggers reminders and follow ups to help clear some space in your day. Another way of keeping informed is to have reports and dashboards with key numbers and metrics that give you a summary of the health of your business in real time, empowering efficient, intelligent decision making.

If you’re still sceptical that it’s possible to truly save time by reducing repetitive tasks then read on here to find out how National Car Buyers have saved a massive 40 hours per week through implementing Zoho CRM and systemising and automating their business processes.

Are you ready to level up your business activities without the need for productivity hacks and start saving time each week?  Speak to a Squirrel about how we can help you streamline and automate your business processes.