Monday, May 1, 2017

7 Daily Tasks You Didn’t Know You Could Automate in a Few Minutes

By  Kayla Matthews  

It’s easy to automate so many things in your life these days. But it’s sometimes difficult to decide which automation tips are worth implementing.
There are many things you can automate right now that are genuinely great time-savers. Today, you work longer hours. Your work life oozes into your home life. A better way to manage your time is arguably more important now than ever before.
Here are seven things you can automate to save time. Get started with these apps, plugins, extensions that help to set it up.

1. Text Messages

You think about texting someone on their birthday a few days ahead of time. But you know deep down there’s a chance you may forget when the actual day rolls around. For situations like this, there are apps to schedule messages ahead of time so you’ll never forget.12 Apps To Help Forgetful People Remember Things 12 Apps To Help Forgetful People Remember ThingsOrganization can prove tricky for forgetful people. From recalling birthdays to putting faces to names, here are 12 awesome apps that can help you remember pretty much anything.READ MORE
Scheduled for iOS is one such app. The app allows you to schedule messages on iMessage, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Telegram, and Twitter, and traditional SMS messages. It also has some handy features, such as the ability to import birthdays from your contacts list or Facebook friends.
Schedule SMS is a similar app for Android, an open-source text scheduling app that’s available in seven languages. The app notifies you when scheduled messages are sent, and it can save sent messages to your SMS app.
Download — Scheduled for iOS (Free or $0.99 for unlimited messaging)
Download — Schedule SMS for Android (Free)

2. Website and Document Links

man and woman working on computer
Bloggers and others who write for the web often like to include a list of links to useful websites. Inserting a hyperlink manually isn’t the most exhausting task, but it can get tedious if you have to do it once a day or more.Want to Get Better at Writing? Try These Techniques Used by Famous Writers Want to Get Better at Writing? Try These Techniques Used by Famous WritersDo you enjoy writing? Perhaps you'd enjoy learning some new tips and tricks from some of the best writers in history. Sounds too good to be true, doesn't it?READ MORE
There is an easy fix for WordPress users. The Linkify Text plugin lets you define words or phrases that are automatically linked to predetermined URLs whenever you write them in your posts or pages. The links can be enabled for comments, made case-sensitive, and can be limited to only one link per post.
Another situation where automated links come in handy is if you’re migrating data from software like Microsoft Office. Sometimes, those data links are broken during migration. Each broken link can cost you and the reader time and mess up documents you worked hard to organize.Become a Master of Microsoft Office With These Free Training Videos Become a Master of Microsoft Office With These Free Training VideosMicrosoft Office isn't hard to learn, but it has lots of features beyond the basics. If you want to become more proficient with Office, check out these new free training videos from Microsoft.READ MORE
In this situation, LinkFixer Advanced prevents broken links during data migration. It can also go back and fix broken links after the fact. The service works with Adobe products in addition to Microsoft Office.
Download — Linkify Text (Free)
Download — LinkFixer Advanced (Free 21-day trial)

3. Emails (Outgoing)

As is the case with text messages, it can be handy to schedule emails to send at a specific time in the future. There are a few options to help with this.Save Time with Gmail Email Templates using "Canned Responses" Save Time with Gmail Email Templates using "Canned Responses"READ MORE
Zapier is an online app that automatically sends weekly emails through Gmail. The message could include a link to dynamic content that changes every week, or it could include a reply address that automatically captures return data.
Similarly, Email Scheduler for Gmail lets you schedule Gmail messages using help from a Google Spreadsheet. The Chrome browser add-on lets you schedule both one-time emails and recurring messages.
Download — Zapier for Gmail (Free)
Download — Email Scheduler for Chrome (Free)

4. Emails (Incoming)

two women working email on laptop
Automating your outgoing emails is nice, but what about your incoming messages? Sometimes it’s nice to put incoming messages on hold, particularly if you have an important task you need to give your undivided attention.How to Handle Thousands of Emails Using 3 Tips and Tools How to Handle Thousands of Emails Using 3 Tips and ToolsIf you're tired of having a cluttered inbox and wish there was an easier way to manage all your emails, here are a few tips and tools that can help.READ MORE
Inbox Pause adds a pause button to Gmail, which stops messages from arriving in your inbox until you’re ready. The service includes a feature that notifies senders their message won’t immediately appear in your inbox.
Also for Gmail users, the Inbox When Ready is an add-on for Chrome that hides your inbox. It lets you set up how many times each day you want messages to appear in your inbox. This helps you manage your email time and get other things done throughout the day.
Download — Inbox Pause (Free)
Download — Inbox When Ready (Free)

5. Freelance Gigs and Job Applications

Those on the job hunt know how time-consuming it can be to fill in your resume information on every single job site or online application. There are ways to ease that pain.Create a Killer Resume: 11 Tools to Ease Your Job Search Create a Killer Resume: 11 Tools to Ease Your Job SearchWithout an effective resume to showcase your skills and experience, landing your dream job will be an uphill struggle. We have compiled 11 resources that can get you one step closer to a fulfilling career.READ MORE
Dashlane is an autofill app that can handle everything from email addresses to payment types to job titles to expiration dates. There are editions for Mac and PC, as well as mobile versions for iOS and Android devices.
Meanwhile, the RoboForm app allows you to save job application information and enter it automatically each time you apply for a job. This helps you fly past the process of typing all your info each individual time, giving you time to apply for more jobs.
Download — Dashlane for Mac, Windows, iOS, and Android (Free)
Download — RoboForm for Windows, Mac, and Mobile ($19.95 for one-year license)

6. Twitter Posts

man on computer looking at marketing strategy
Look no further than the President for quick-take tweets on Twitter, but there are also instances when you want to plan your tweets ahead. You may want to stagger multiple tweets throughout the day, schedule a holiday-specific tweet for next week, or set up recurring birthday tweets to friends or colleagues.Use These Great Twitter Tools to Manage Your Feed Use These Great Twitter Tools to Manage Your FeedIf you follow hundreds or thousands of people on Twitter, there's probably a lot of crap in your feed. But with these four Twitter tools, you can get everything cleaned up in no time.READ MORE
You can do all of this using TweetDeck, an app now owned by Twitter. The service allows you to sign in to multiple Twitter accounts simultaneously and schedule multiple tweets from each.
Hootsuite offers similar features with has one major advantage: it also connects to other social networks, including Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google Plus, and YouTube. There are several for-pay options, but the limited free plan allows a single user to sign into three profiles and basic scheduling features.
Download — TweetDeck for Mac and Android (Free)
Download — Hootsuite for Mac, PC and Mobile (Free or $9.99/month pro version)

7. Your Grocery List

Local delivery services are nothing new, but you may not know you can use them to have common items delivered automatically.
For example, Amazon’s Subscribe & Save service allows you to choose from thousands of products and select your delivery frequency. You will receive a reminder email before each delivery, and you can skip deliveries if you don’t need one that day or week. There are many other services across the country that deliver groceries and other items from supermarkets, although many of them are local or regional.
Also, there are several apps that allow you to save ingredients directly from the recipes you plan to use this week.
AnyList is an iOS app that lets you collect and organize recipes, as well as add ingredients directly from recipes to your shopping list. Better yet, you can share your shopping list with other people in your household. Whoever goes to the store next has access to all the ingredients your refrigerator needs.Use Siri and Apple Reminders for the Best Shopping Lists Use Siri and Apple Reminders for the Best Shopping ListsDon't waste your money on a third-party app, just use Apple free iPhone and Mac apps.READ MORE
Sign up for — Amazon Subscribe & Save (Free, use your Amazon account)
Download — AnyList for iOS (Free, $7.99 to $11.99 annual subscriptions)

What Will You Automate This Week?

work schedule on mac
Automation continues to grow, and it’s not only gimmicks that showcase the capabilities of new technology.
Any tech that can shave a few minutes off a monotonous or repetitive task will be happily adopted by busy people the world over. There are many things you can automate now — including all of those listed here — that will save you time and allow you to focus on other things. Or, you know, just not get yourself in hot water because you forgot your great aunt’s birthday.
What will you automate this week? Do you have any other favorite scheduling and automation tools not mentioned here? Tell us about them in the comments section below.
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