Now that you’ve finally got around to reading this article let’s face it, procrastination is a big part of why we don’t reach our potential.
Most people are procrastinators to some degree, whether it’s going through that last email before you leave work or cleaning your living room just before the in-laws arrive.
You can probably think of at least one instance where you’ve put something off in the last week. But how do you fight procrastination? Simply put, automation.
Automation is the solution to those small tasks in life that tend to take time but can be done digitally with relative ease. Think about it…
It’s Saturday. Your gran’s birthday is coming, and you must remember to buy her a card during your weekly shop. But you’ll do it tomorrow, maybe… When you finally get around to it, you spend a good while looking for one that’s funny but wouldn’t offend her polite sensibilities. There’s only a limited selection, so you choose to play it safe with a simple “Happy Birthday Grandma” card. You pick up the usual, including that lettuce you’ll forget at the back of the fridge, head to the till and wait for the bloke in front to search every pocket in existence for his wallet.
Then when you get home, you have to find a pen (you know you put one somewhere) and start signing the card, but the ink is running out, so it will be a short message. And oh, of course, you forgot to buy stamps. So, back in the car and off to the post office you go, longingly looking at the postbox at the end of your road.
After finding somewhere to park, you head to the post office. You manage to buy a stamp, but not before the cashier, Dierdre, tells you all about her daughter’s next-door neighbour who has just adopted a new Yorkshire Terrier, Buster, that barks into the wee hours of the night, and oh, wasn’t the weather nice last weekend? Finally, after all that smiling and nodding, you stick the stamp on the envelope, pop it in the postbox and head home. Later that evening, when you’ve got your feet up watching a rerun of It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, you realise her birthday was yesterday. Oh, for Frank’s sake…
It’s Saturday. Drinking your morning coffee, your phone dings with a reminder: “Gran’s Birthday – one week”. You hit your favourite online card shop, head to the humour section and filter out the NSFW options. You find the Holy Grail of cards, a wheel of cheese saying, “you’re not old, you’re mature”, and start to think about what you’re going to write. By the time you’ve finished, you’ve composed a beautiful message on how even the little things she does have inspired you throughout your life. Reading it back brings tears to your eyes, so you schedule it to be sent in two days.
You take another sip of your coffee as another notification appears on your phone “Tesco delivery – one hour”. Your day is just beginning.
Okay, those aren’t the only two options, but you see what we’re trying to say. Automations can get you through the “I’ll do it tomorrow” excuse by simply doing it for you.
We already use automations in our daily life: we set notifications on our phones, so we don’t have to remember the essential things, we allow our emails to sort out what’s spam, what’s a promotion and what’s useful, so you don’t have to go through every last message. And we even go down rabbit holes on YouTube trusting the algorithm will show us what we want.
Think about the hassle this has saved you. I bet if we added up all the time our simple automations save us, it wouldn’t be far off the total time we spent on putting things off. So why not take it to another level?
How can you fight procrastination with automation?
1. Your calendar
Organising your calendar can be a nightmare at worst and boring at best. So why not have Power Automate block out your time at the touch of a button, set quick reminders or set up a meeting with a colleague so you don’t have to?
2. Your to-do list
Stop having the first line on any to-do list as “make a to-do list” by having Power Automate create to-do lists or prioritised tasks.
3. Your emails
Did you know the average worker spends over 3 hours a day on emails alone? (Outlook Tracker) Yeah, that’s too much time in our books! So think about how Power Automate could prioritise your emails, so you’re reading what you need to first. It can delay notifications for that deep work time. You can automate your approvals process, so you do not have to read back long chains of emails to see what so-and-so thinks. It can save attachments for you, so you never lose track of them again, and even schedule automatic replies for when you’re out of the office.
4. Your meetings
Unfortunately, you can’t send a robot to meetings for you yet… But you can ask Power Automate to schedule them for you and take notes or minutes for an appointment so you can focus on your agenda and make actionable goals.
5. Your documents
Document management is crucial. If you want to start working on something quickly, you want to have all the tools you need at your disposal. Power Automate can sync Google Drive, Dropbox and SharePoint (and loads more) so you always have everything you need, wherever you are. It can also easily convert files and extract data, so you don’t have to. Not to mention, it can notify you when there are changes to specific documents or folders. Stay in the know and stay ahead without raising a finger!
There is so much Power Automate can do, and we’ve barely scratched the surface. Give these ideas a try this week, and see what you think. You may finally be able to stop worrying about procrastination and focus on doing the work that matters to you.
Not sure how to use Power Automate, check out 👉 our guide on where to start!