You’ve heard it a million times: automation is the thing that is going to save your company. Business owners everywhere are continuing to jump on the automation bandwagon: it saves time, money, human capital, and energy. And because everyone is doing it, it must be good for business, right? Well, maybe not. Hear me out: sure, we are all strapped for time, and we are all run ragged in our businesses, but maybe it’s not that we need more time in the day. A study conducted in 2017 reported that automation is used in 60% of companies for up to 30% of tasks. Maybe it’s that we need to get better at picking and choosing the things we are going to focus on in the day.
Here are a few ways that automation can actually ruin your day – stay with me, here.
Automation Saves Time and Money… or Does it?
The biggest draw of automation in a business is that it can save lots of time and money. After all, if you can have a computer program do the job of posting content to social media, or sending emails to potential clients who inquire about your services, then you don’t need to it, and you don’t need to pay someone to do it. So now you need to ask yourself this question: if you aren’t engaging with your audience online, and you know that piece is taken care of for you, why are you still checking social media on a regular basis all day long? Is it actually saving you any more time than if you were to just post updates to your social media platforms yourself? Many people lose up to 13% of their day on social media wasting time anyway, so make it productive.
Your Day Gets Hijacked Before it Even Gets Started
Think about your homepage of your internet browser. When you first turn on your computer in the morning, what is the first thing you see? Is it your email? Does your day get hijacked right away because you have tons of emails sitting in your inbox waiting to be answered? Is it the sports scores being updating on a widget on your desktop? What about your stock prices? How many times a day is that information flashed across your screen? Yes, this information is available at the click of a button, but if you added up all the time you lost just checking email, checking stock prices, and checking the weather, you might be surprised by how much time you could get back in a day. Rather than add widgets to your desktop or set your homepage to your email, consider making it harder to get to these bits of information so that they don’t take over your computer from the moment you turn it on. Instead, have a list of things you want to accomplish before you ever check your email, because as you know, as soon as you start down the rabbit hole of emails, your day is over before you know it.
You Are Missing Opportunities to Get to Know People
Technology has made it easy to sift through job applications when your company is ready to hire but consider all of the lost opportunity that is going into the trash can because you let a computer make decisions about who you are going to hire. Rather than use an automated system to sift through resumes, consider getting better at posting jobs that are relevant to the people you actually want to hire. Be very specific about the qualifications and experience that you are looking for, and get out and talk to people. You can usually tell within a few minutes of talking to someone whether or not they are going to be a good fit for your company, but a computer cannot tell you that. A software package can line up the boxes and ensure they are checked off, but it cannot save you time and money when it comes to hiring a real person into your organization. In fact, it can steer you in the wrong direction if the inputs are not accurate or if there is something wrong with the software. No software is without its bugs, after all.
Don’t Let Technology Rule Your Life
So whether you are a busy CEO of a major company or a self-employed photographer working out of your basement, reconsider the automation of your company. The further removed you get from the day-to-day operation of your business, the harder it will be to negotiate issues when something arises. Staying tuned into what is happening in and around your business, especially online, is vital to your success these days. There’s no telling what problems could arise and the only way to keep your ear to the ground is to be present, and stop trying to automate the heck out of your business. In the end, automation might save you some time, but really challenge yourself, to be honest about what you are doing with that time. And if you don’t use automation yet, ask yourself what you could be doing with that time before you go through the trouble of setting up an automated social media, hiring, or email process.
If you decide to introduce automation into your business, consider how it will impact your engagement with potential clients and customers, and how you could be missing out on the chance to make a lasting impression just by showing up and being yourself representing your business. There’s no doubt that technology and automation can improve our lives, but if we are not careful, we can spend more time setting up automation and trying to sort it out then we actually save. Watch for signs that you are spending too much time fiddling with technology that is supposed to be saving you time and adjust if necessary. If done right, automation can greatly improve your time management skills, but if you let it take hold of you, it can ruin your day.