I have graduated the Technical University of Moldova and at the beginning of my professional career I combined Software Engineering with Corporate Trainings - I was working as a Trainer and Quality of Sales Coordinator (such a fancy title) at the biggest telecom company in Republic of Moldova, delivering soft and hard skills trainings as well as organizing team-building activities for all employees.
Actually, my main responsibilities were planning and organizing trainings, developing new onsite and e-learning training modules, doing reporting on the quality of sales as well as a bunch of other activities.
A Specific Use Case
One particular monthly Excel report was quite cumbersome and required aggregating data from several other Excel files, doing a bunch of computations on it and creating some nice charts on top of that. On average, that report was taking me two full working days to complete. After doing that for several months in a row, I said “Enough!” :) and dived under the hood of Excel macros. It took me 5 days of work (mainly because I was learning on the fly how to do what I need to do) and as a result I reduced the required time to complete that report from 16 hours to 2 hours, saving 14 hours during that month and each month that followed.
Three Steps Toward Workflow Automation
There are several ways you can approach automating your daily/weekly/monthly work.
The first thing to look into is some advanced features of the program you are working in. Just google “advanced [your program]" and see how you can improve your knowledge and reduce the amount of work you need to do. Even if it will require some time to learn, improving as little as 1% will have a tremendous compound effect in the long run.
In case you want to skyrocket your performance and save much more time, find a person who is a power user of the software you work in on a daily basis and let them stay with you for 1 day and look how you work. Then ask them to tell you 10 things how you can improve. Whatever you will pay them, the insights you will get will be worth much more.
The third alternative is coding, which has an immense potential to optimize some routine tasks. If you have access to software engineers, ask them how hard would it be to automate [what you need to do]. You’ll be surprised how often there is already some open sourced library available online that can help you automate your workflow.
Call To Action
Think about one thing you do regularly that is boring or doesn’t require too much thought. Then try to google how to automate it or ask your network on social platforms how to do that thing easier.
Until then, feel free to subscribe below to receive more posts like this directly in your inbox. Also you can follow me on twitter.