8 min read

When should I automate?

There are probably a lot of tasks where you regularly ask yourself whether the process could be made more useful - automated. But how do you decide what to automate and when? Which processes can be made better if you no longer do them manually? And where do you even start? Here you will find clues to help you decide - to automate or not to automate? - help you.
Published by
Lilith Brockhaus
Created on
May 20, 2023

You are probably already automating some things without even realising it.

You set an out-of-office email while you're on holiday? That's automation. You set a recurring reminder in your smartphone? Also automation!

But there are probably a whole bunch of tasks where you regularly ask yourself whether the process could not be made more sensible - namely automated.

But how do you decide what and when you can automate? Which processes can be improved if you no longer do them manually? And where do you even start?

Repetitive tasks

Repetitive tasks are those that you do repeatedly after a certain event or repeatedly based on a time sequence. Do you write similar emails to your customers over and over again during onboarding? Or you post newsletter stats to your Slack channel once a week? These are repetitive tasks.

If you want to decide which tasks to automate first, the following question helps: Which task do you repeat most often?

Tasks that need to be done often or at a certain time are perfect for automation. Besides the obvious effect that automation saves you time and frees your mind for your creative work, the results of automated tasks are often more consistent than manual work - because automation doesn't forget to answer;)

I like to say that anything you do more than five times should be automated. Even if it costs time to build the automation, of course - it saves so much more time in the long run.

Tip: If you want something to happen at a regular time, the scheduler of Zapier or Make (Integromat) is a great trigger for your automation.

One of my favourite examples of automation that saves me a minute every time is posting the next meeting link in Slack. This way I don't have to look for the link in my calendar every time before a meeting and can join directly from Slack.

Copy / Paste tasks

Honestly, how often do you copy something from one app to another? Probably more often than you'd like - and that eats up a lot of time. It's the same with other manual methods of moving data from A to B: downloading a CSV in one app, uploading it again in the next, downloading an image from one app and then uploading it again in another. If you do this several times a week, it will quickly take a few hours.

Such tasks can be automated in 98% of cases. For example, someone signs up for your newsletter form and you save the data in your CRM. Or you forward the list of participants of a webinar to your sponsor. Or you always write the same onboarding email to new customers, with different placeholders. If you find yourself there - then it's time to automate.

Dull tasks

A key question in automation is this: Does the task really need a human to do it? Sounds provocative, but what I mean by that: Does it require creativity, emotional intelligence, or complex thinking skills? If so, you probably shouldn't automate the task. If it does - what are you waiting for? If it's a mindless, simple task, it can probably be done by an automation platform like or Zapier.

To identify such tasks, you can ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is it a task I do more than once a month?
  • Are the steps the same each time?
  • Would I rather do anything else than this task?

Tasks that hold you up

Are you constantly doing things that keep you from doing your real work? Definitely a case for automation. This is not so much about automating big processes (which is of course incredibly fun), but about small things that save you time and headspace in everyday life.

If you assume that you spend 15 minutes a day on repetitive tasks, with 228 working days a year, that's around 3500 minutes a year that you could have spent more usefully. That corresponds to just under 60 hours a year.

But automations don't just save time. They free you up to be creative and dedicate yourself to other projects. Simply because you no longer have to think about the fact that these tasks have to be done. **

Tutorials for an easy introduction to automation and application examples can be found in the following courses:

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