A sure way to lighten your workload and instantly boost your productivity is by way of delegation. Or there is another option to that. If you cannot delegate, automate.
This is how it usually works. You delegate or automate the least important stuff on your To-Do list to pave way for more space, and thereby time, that you will put back to your main work pool.
By delegating or automating, you’re accomplishing two things – One, getting rid of yourself of the extra load that is likely to cause you open loops and, two, gaining more time for more important tasks you have at hand.
But how do you take your hands off these least important stuff tasks – stuff like things you need to get reminded of, little notes you need to track, etc.?
These are some of the least important things that I have on my plate now:
Read It Later
I am following some great blogs that I love to read on a regular basis but I don’t just have the time during my work day to peruse all of them.
Take Notes From Specific Email
I am receiving email with specific subject which I want to take note of in an online note application. But I don’t have the time to check my email every hour. Usually when I check my email service at the end of the day, these emails are nowhere to be found in my email mill. Plus I have other more important emails to track (i.e., work-related emails)
Announce My New Blog Posts via RSS
The social network sites are a big source of web traffic. Friends may want to get notified via these sites of the latest article. I post links to my new articles to at least three sites. I want to set this action once, and forget it.
On A Certain Date At An Exact Time Reminder
I want to receive a SMS message to my cellphone to remind me to pay my bill on certain accounts. I don’t want to miss any payments on these accounts. I need a reminder when I need to pay them. And I don’t want to see things like this on my To-Do List.
I Want To Get A Voice Call At Certain Time Of The Day
I may need to receive wake up calls when away from home. Or I need to get preset message at particular time. I just want to have somebody or something to do this for me.
I Want To Know Immediately When Free Kindle Books Become Available
I don’t know when is the exact time these free Kindle books become available. I just want to know, via email, when they become available.
This is just a partial list of what I would want to delegate to a personal or virtual assistant. These tasks may not be as important as the tasks that I perform at my day job but they hold certain level of importance in my personal life. They are not to be left out in my regular To-Do’s.
If you are like me, and the conditions I described above resemble your current needs, I have a good news for you: You don’t have to hire your personal or virtual assistant. Or you can fire your current assistant if you already have one.
If This, Then That (IFTTT) is your answer. IFTTT is a free web service that will help you automate many parts of your life.
IFTTT is an intuitive, easy-to-follow web application. You basically instruct it “when something happens (this) then do something else (that).” In short, it’s a simple but very useful notification service (and more).
The service is made up of four components: Tasks, Triggers, Actions, and Channels.
Task is the result you want to achieve – when this happens, do that. Trigger is just that – trigger. It is the “this” in the equation. Action, on the other hand, is the “that” part.Channel is an app or another service that will bridge the “this” with “that”. Users might have already created the tasks you need. They can share their tasks as “recipes”. A recipe is a template of a particular task.
Photo courtesy of flickr user Victoria Sanderson