Transform Your Workday: The Power of Micro Automations & The Compound Effect
Have you ever heard someone say, “I don’t need automation”? Recently, I encountered this very sentiment during a casual conversation. It was surprising to hear, especially in an era where we’re constantly seeking ways to become more efficient and productive. This statement struck me, not because it was unique, but because it’s a common misconception that automation is reserved only for large-scale operations or complex tasks. But the reality? Even the smallest tasks automated can lead to a compound effect of increased productivity.
Productivity isn’t about working harder; it’s about working smarter. It’s about maximizing your output for every unit of input. And one of the smartest ways to boost productivity, believe it or not, lies in automation. Small, consistent automation changes can gradually free up substantial time and resources, creating a cascade of productivity that can truly transform your work. Today, I want to delve into the power of small automations and their surprising compound effect on productivity. Let’s explore how these tiny time-savers can unlock big changes in your work and life.
The Power of Small Changes:
In a world that often champions sweeping transformations and dramatic turnarounds, we sometimes underestimate the power of small, consistent changes. Each minor adjustment might seem inconsequential on its own, but when you add them up over time, they can lead to significant shifts. This is the principle of the compound effect in action. Think of it as the financial concept of compound interest, but applied to your productivity. Each small automation you implement is like making a deposit in your productivity bank. Initially, the returns may appear negligible, but over time, these small investments compound, resulting in substantial gains. This strategy isn’t about quick wins or immediate transformations; it’s a long game that focuses on steady, sustainable growth. And the tool that enables this exponential improvement? Automation. Even the simplest automation, when consistently applied, can free up valuable time, allowing you to focus on tasks that truly require your unique skills and expertise.
Automation and the Compound Effect:
When it comes to automation, many people envision large, complex systems designed to streamline big operations. But the real magic of automation lies in the small tasks – the daily, repetitive actions that consume your precious time. By automating these tasks, you start a chain reaction that compounds over time. For instance, let’s say you automate a daily task that takes you 15 minutes. That’s an hour saved in a working week, or around 52 hours in a year – more than an entire work week. Now, imagine using that saved time to create more automations. Each subsequent automation frees up even more time, and this cycle continues, creating a compound effect of increasing productivity. It’s like a snowball rolling down a hill, gradually growing bigger and faster. In the realm of automation, small consistent steps are not just an approach; they’re a strategy for significant, long-term productivity gains.
Step 1: Meeting Scheduling Automation
In the world of business, meetings are inevitable. But let’s break down the time spent around meetings:
- Coordinating a suitable time
- Sending reminders
- Following up with emails and SMS
- Managing reschedules
- Asking qualifying questions
- Adding the appointment to your calendar
Each of these tasks, although small, adds up. Now, imagine having a tool that automates all these tasks. Enter Calendly.
Here’s how the automation process works:
- Present Available Slots: When clients or training students want to arrange a meeting, they access my Calendly link. Calendly presents my available appointment slots, eliminating the time-consuming back-and-forth of finding a mutually convenient time.
- Handle Reminders and Follow-ups: Calendly sends out reminders, follow-up emails, and SMS, ensuring all parties are well-informed.
- Manage Reschedules: Any rescheduling needs are handled automatically by Calendly, reducing administrative hassles.
- Ask Qualifying Questions: Where necessary, Calendly can pose qualifying questions, helping to prepare for the meeting effectively.
- Calendar Integration: Finally, each meeting scheduled through Calendly is automatically added to my calendar, keeping me organized and prepared.
The time saved from automating these tasks might seem minimal initially. But consider the compound effect of this time-saving over multiple meetings and the mental space freed up by having these administrative tasks taken care of. This is a simple, yet effective example of how automation initiates the compound effect of increased productivity.
Step 2: Preparing for the Meeting with Notion and Zapier
Before any meeting, preparation is key. This typically involves creating a new document, drafting an agenda, and populating it with the relevant information. While it may only take 10-15 minutes per meeting, over time, this process can eat up a significant portion of your schedule. This is where Notion and Zapier step in.
Here’s how the automation process works:
- Setting Up a Template in Notion: Notion allows you to create custom templates for any type of document or note. For meetings, you can set up a template that includes sections for the agenda, attendees, notes, and follow-up tasks.
- Automating Document Creation with Zapier: Zapier is an automation tool that connects different apps and performs actions based on specific triggers. In this case, Zapier creates a new document in Notion using your meeting template whenever a new meeting is scheduled in Calendly.
- Populating the Document: Not only can Zapier create the document, it can also populate it with information from the Calendly meeting invite. This includes the meeting title, attendees, date and time, and any other relevant information.
By automating this process, you not only save time but also reduce the risk of forgetting to prepare for a meeting or missing important details. When scaled over multiple meetings and a long period, the compound effect of this automation can be significant.
Step 3: Streamlining Post-Meeting Follow-ups with Gmail and Fathom AI
Even after the meeting is over, there is still work to be done: sending out meeting notes, summarising the key points, and following up on any action items. This is another area where automation can work wonders. Here’s how I use Gmail and Fathom AI:
- Creating Drafts in Gmail: At the same time the Notion meeting notes are created, a draft email is also prepared in Gmail. This draft includes the meeting attendees in the ‘To’ field and a subject line that references the meeting. The body of the email contains a link to the meeting notes in Notion. Although not always used, having this draft ready saves time whenever a follow-up email is needed.
- Recording and Summarising Meetings with Fathom AI: I use Fathom AI, a Zoom plugin, to record my meetings. Beyond just recording, Fathom AI also generates an AI-powered summary of the meeting. This summary, along with the recording link, is added to the meeting notes in Notion.
Again, the time saved per meeting might seem small. However, when you consider this process over multiple meetings, the time saved becomes significant. It’s these small, consistent steps that, over time, generate big productivity gains through the power of the compound effect.
Summary and Conclusion: Embracing the Compound Effect through Automation
Each step, taken individually, might save just a few minutes. But those minutes start to accumulate over multiple meetings. That’s the real power of the compound effect – these small pockets of saved time, aggregated over days, weeks, and months, can yield substantial productivity gains.
By automating these repetitive steps, you’re not just streamlining your work process; you’re setting in motion a chain reaction that frees up time and mental space. You can then use this time to create more automations, attend to tasks that truly require your unique skills, or invest in personal growth and leisure. Over time, this positive feedback loop amplifies, yielding far-reaching benefits.
Embrace automation and the power of the compound effect – because, in the long run, it’s the small, consistent changes that make the biggest difference.