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Oct 20

Episode 46 – Automating Your Processes

“Automated processes can save you time and money on your projects.”

Today we talk about setting up some automated processes to trigger reminders and follow-ups.

Technology has given us some amazing tools to help ease out busy schedules and crowded minds.  We just have to learn to take advantage of them.

We all have things that we need to remember to do, follow-up on and be reminded of.  Missing an action because we forgot to follow-up can cost us thousands of dollars.  Trying to keep all that in our heads is not the most reliable system and leaves us open to mistakes.  In addition to the potential savings from missing a deadline, automating these reminders will free your mind up allowing you to focus on the important topics at hand.  You can stop worrying about what you are forgetting.

If we take advantage of technology we can automate some of these processes to make sure we never forget an important task.  While there are hundreds of processes we can look at and automate to get started we just want to focus on some basic follow-ups.

A good example is an RFI response.  If you receive an RFI response from your client with some changes and you are asked to provide any additional costs there is typically a given time for your response, after which your added costs may not be considered.  When you get an email with an RFI and need to respond you want to be sure and respond within the alloted time.  To help make sure we don’t forget we want to automate a trigger mechanism to remind us that we need to respond.  This way you will not forget and miss the deadline.

[tweetthis]Automated processes can save you time and money on your projects.[/tweetthis]

As I mentioned, to get started with this we are just going to focus on setting up good habits for creating triggers to remind us that we have some follow-up work to do.  We can do this for RFIs, proposals, phones calls or anything else that you want to be reminded of.

The best way to tackle this is within your project management/collaboration tool.  You can easily set up a task with reminders that will not let you forget to complete the task.  Many of the tools out there allow for tasks to be initiated via email.  This way if you get an email with an RFI you can simply forward to your collab tool and have it create a task.  Using a tool with a smart phone app also helps to make this process easy.

There are also some other tools you can use that will set reminders for you.  We all have smartphones with reminders but one problem with them is it’s just a reminder and normally doesn’t have the details.  To make the process better you need to use tools that present all the necessary information.  There are some web apps that are good for this like Boomerang for Gmail, IFTTT and Follow up Then.  All of these allow you to put the original email into a trigger system that reminds you with all the original information attached.

It takes a little time build this process into a good habit but the results are well worth it.  The time invested upfront results in greater time savings in the future.  Start setting up a good system and building the habit of triggering your reminders.

Take-Action Items:

  1. Start automating follow-up triggers – pick a system and start using it

  2. Test some of the tools that are available to see which ones might work for you

Resources:

FollowUpThen

Boomerang

IFTTT

email