Sometimes it can seem like technology is making our to-do lists longer: There are more virtual meetings to attend, more emails to reply to, and more digital tasks to complete. But shouldn’t it be the other way around? Shouldn’t we use artificial intelligence and cloud-basedproject management tools to do our mundane tasks?
You can take a step in the right direction with task automation software. These tools allow you to streamlineworkflows by automating or eliminating repetitive tasks. Here’s how to use task automation tools to get more done in less time while simplifying your business processes and day-to-day operations.
What Is Task Automation?
Task automation may sound like advanced technology — and in some ways it is — but it’s more common than you might think. Have you ever set up an email auto-responder in Microsoft Outlook or Gmail or scheduled an automatic bill payment to your phone company? Then you’ve made use of task automation functionality.
Although some types of task automation are more advanced, such as robotic process automation, others are easy to set up using a drag-and-drop interface. These no-codetask automation software tools can do everything from data entry to posting on social media and taking notes during meetings.
What Are the Benefits of Task Automation?
The reason that businesses use automation isn’t just to save time. It’s also to free up team members from tedious, time-consuming tasks so they can focus on big-picture thinking and more complex tasks that require human oversight.
Here are three ways task automation can help your business:
1. Improve Accuracy
There are some things humans can do better, and others that computers can do better. Play to your strengths by leaving the decision-making to humans and data entry to the machines. You’ll end up with fewer errors and more accurate paperwork.
2. Stay Focused at Work
Simple tasks such as taking notes can be distracting, and multitasking has been shown to reduce accuracy and precision. Make it easy for your team members to pay attention in meetings and stay focused at work by cutting down on unnecessary manual tasks.
3. Collect Better Data
When you use cloud-basedapps or task management software to automate tasks, you can gather data such as how long it takes to complete different tasks. Some tools have a built-in dashboard so you can view performance metrics in real-time, or you can use an API to integrate the data you collect with other software tools.
When Should You Use Task Automation?
Task automation has plenty of uses, but it isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. You’ll need to think about which tasks make the most sense to automate so you can choose the right task automation software for your needs.
Here are three types of tasks that may benefit from task automation:
1. Recurring Tasks
Setting up task or workflow automation software takes some time, so there’s no point in automating tasks that only happen occasionally. Use it for recurring tasks that require a lot of time and effort, but that follow the exact same process every time.
For example, you can use customer data from your CRM to automatically generate a follow-up email based on pre-existing templates.
2. Shared Tasks
Tasks that require input from multiple team members are also a good fit for automation. Think of contracts that require a signature, meeting minutes that need to be approved by multiple parties, and other tasks with multiple steps or dependencies.
When you use a task automation platform like Anchor AI, you can automatically assign action items to team members, and set up notifications to make sure things get done.
3. Complex Tasks
Task automation can also help you streamlinecomplex tasks by breaking them down into individual components. Let’s say you have a workflow that incorporates multiple pieces of software, such Slack, Microsoft Teams, or Salesforce.
You can use task automation software as a connector, so that what happens in one collaboration tool triggers an event in another.
Task Automation Examples
Task automation can be a little hard to visualize, so let’s look at a few examples of how it works in the real world. Here are three use cases of task automation in action.
1. Employee Onboarding
Have you ever started a new job and been expected to familiarize yourself with a bunch of new apps and platforms all at once? Task automation can streamline the onboarding process by giving new hires a clear path to follow.
You can use task automation to create user accounts for new employees, share Zoom recordings of key webinars or tutorials, and implement assessments online — helping you overcome one of the three key challenges of remote work culture.
2. Social Media Marketing
Marketing automation tools have been around for a while. Think of platforms that allow you to schedule social media posts or marketing emails. These tools spare you from having to log into multiple accounts and manually post your marketing materials.
Use them to schedule your marketing campaigns months in advance so your team members can focus on analyzing metrics or engaging with customers.
3. Task Management
Task automation can also be used to help you keep track of upcoming tasks. Most task management platforms allow you to assign tasks to individual team members, set due dates, and send out reminders when a task is almost due.
Anchor AI goes one step further by identifying action items from your meeting notes or minutes. Simply invite Anchor AI to your meeting and it will automatically add tasks with due dates and assignees to your action item tracker. That’s one less task you have to do manually!
Task Automation Software Tools
Now that you know which tasks you can automate, let’s look at a few examples of task automation software tools and their unique automation features.
Zapier is one of the most well-known tools for workflow automation. It integrates with other tools that you may already use, such as Trello, HubSpot, and ClickUp. You can create workflows, or Zaps, by identifying a Trigger and an Action: For example, when you create a Zoom meeting, Zapier can automatically add it to your calendar.
Zaps can be as simple or complex as you want them to be, and you can create them using the drag-and-drop interface, or describing your Zap using everyday language. Single-step Zaps are free, and multi-step Zaps start at $19.99 per month per user.
Hootsuite is the go-to task automation tool for social media marketing. You can use it to manage all of your social media accounts from a single dashboard, including the most popular platforms like TikTok, YouTube, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.
Hootsuite allows you to schedule posts in advance, get ideas for hashtags, and even generate captions for your posts using artificial intelligence. Pricing starts at $99 per month for professionals and $249 per month for teams with up to 3 users.
Anchor AI is an AI note-taking tool that also serves as a full-featured task management platform. Use it to take notes during meetings, create a meeting summary or follow-up email, or generate a word-for-word transcription of the entire meeting.
Anchor AI helps you get more out of meetings by allowing your team members to focus on what’s being said, rather than taking down notes to review later. Plus, it can identify action items and automatically assign them to participants so you don’t have to.
It’s free to create an account and use Anchor AI’s basic features. You can upgrade at any time to unlock more functionality, such as Auto-Tasks, Meeting Minutes, and Ask Anchor, our intelligent meeting assistant.
Improve Productivity With Task Automation
Task automation tools use the power of computers and artificial intelligence to take the hassle out of repetitive tasks. Task automation software can assist your team members from the sidelines or complete entire workflows for you. From scheduling meetings to sending out follow-up emails, you can use automation to get more done.
Anchor AI uses task automation to help you get more actionable steps out of meeting discussions. Turn ideas into action items and monitor their progress with our action item tracker. Try it out for free today and see how task automation can help!