Since time is our most valuable commodity, one would think that automation is our friend and that more of it in our lives would be a good thing. However, it’s not that easy to transform our daily routine into spare time, especially if we hold that routine like the reins of a speeding stagecoach.
The problem – many of us don’t realize that we’re clutching those reins too firmly and some of us don’t even know what the reins look like, let alone that we’ve got them in a death grip. We’re the driver of our family, business or organization and by God; we’re going to take us all through to the other side. Just hang on for dear life cos’ we’re going through.
The other problem – We have more than one set of reins in our hands. Because we wear several hats, we’re in charge of lots of things and each has its own set of reins to its own set of black stallions racing through each day. If we should even think about putting down one set of reins, those horses are bound to take us off course. After all, we’re the only one who can control this unruly lot.
The solution – We can always hire some drivers to hold some reins. Of course, when you’re just a small fry in the industrial sized deep fryer you may not have that luxury. That’s when those relatives with the questionable work ethic or lack of computer skills look better every day. After all, you could teach them what you know, right? I mean, they may catch on in a few weeks.
The other solution – Look around and see what can be automated. I know, I know, too many people equate “automation” with “cost” so now we’re back staring at the cell phone with Aunt June’s number in hand.
Automating mundane and menial tasks can free up your valuable time, which means the horses will be handled by a system that is pre-programmed to safely arrive at its destination. Imagine if they could be fed, watered and directed by someone or something else but you. You admit that the thought of having some time and energy available to put toward growing your business or project is exciting, but does it make you bold enough to seek out a new stagecoach driver whether human or electronic?
Relax, breathe deep and step into a new world. Automation can be your friend. There is just not enough of you to go around so take the pebble from my hand and hear the grasshopper at your feet.
Start with just one mundane, hate-to-do-it, don’t-know-why-someone-hasn’t-invented-an-easier-way-to-get-this-done task and seek out and install its automated solution. Don’t let the fact that there may be 31 options available rain down hail upon your goal’s path. Choose the solution with the best feedback and pricing that won’t keep you up at night.
Once you find something that will do the task for you, a good rule of thumb is to look for a high customer rating or four or five on a scale from one to five. The users’ comments will bear information that is not included in the product description and will help you to make an informed decision. If you learn of a certain problem with the product and you just can’t deal with that issue, don’t make the purchase. If it’s not important to you and will save you time, effort or money, purchase and implement it.
A word of caution: many will make their purchase and never implement it. Don’t let this happen to you! If you take the time to research and purchase, by all means follow through with implementation and learn the system. Take the time now to get it up and running because it can’t pay off until it’s performing those tasks for you. Sure, what’s on the shelf probably looks good, but from there it can’t make you money. Shelf-sitters are only good for collecting dust and impressing your visitors.
Give your new solution a good chance. Resist the urge to rip out the system and stomp on it. Keep moving forward. There may be some tweaks needed in the beginning and generally, change takes time to become familiar. It’s like installing a new habit; you fight it for a while and once you’re comfortable with it, you wonder why you didn’t do it sooner.
Be brave and after one month, think of the next automated solution to yet another horrible task, find its solution and incorporate it. Wash, rinse and repeat. Each installation will bring little gifts of time that you can assign to more creative work. Remember, if work becomes play, we’re not living to work, but rather, playing to live.
►Western Movies: Stagecoach (1966) – Ann-Margret, Alex Cord, Red Buttons
On the stagecoach to Cheyenne a mixed group of passengers must work together to survive the arduous journey and the Indian attacks.
Director: Gordon Douglas
Writers: Joseph Landon (screenplay), Dudley Nichols
Stars: Ann-Margret, Alex Cord, Red Buttons
Release Date: 15 June 1966 (USA)