There are little things we do at work every day, over and over. While it may only take a couple of seconds each time, if you repeat it dozens of times, the task wastes time — and time is money.

This is why it’s crucial to streamline repetitive tasks by automating them. 

Automation apps give team members a simple way to increase the functionality of their workflow. By removing time-wasting recurring tasks, you can increase employee productivity, as they can spend their time on tasks that progress toward team goals.

Let’s talk about task automation software tools, the types of tasks that you can automate, and our favorite automation apps. This article will help you understand how to use automation tools to handle mundane tasks. You'll free up your team so they spend less time on busy work and can focus on the work that matters the most!

What is task automation?

Task automation is using technology to complete tasks instead of manually handling them. Modern technology lets you automate many types of business processes. Automating time-consuming and repetitive tasks increases the workflow’s productivity and stops team members from spending valuable time on unimportant tasks.

Types of tasks that can be successfully automated

There are some impactful benefits of task automation at work only if you choose the right tasks to automate. When deciding which manual tasks are the best ones to automate, focus on the ones that are frequent, repetitive, and simple. These are more likely to suck time away from your team’s workday without adding anything positive to your main objectives. If they don’t require creativity, problem-solving, or strategy, automate them.

Recurring Task Management Blog Feature

Let’s dive into six types of different tasks that are best left to automation.

Daily & weekly tasks that are repetitive

Once you start thinking about every aspect of a process, you'll most likely pinpoint several areas of repetitive actions that you could easily automate. Everyday tasks should be the first place to start when you’re trying to automate tasks to save your team time and improve efficiency. These are the ones that, although they may only take a bit of time from day to day, cause your team to waste a lot of time due to their frequency.

Daily & weekly task automation examples:

  • Scheduling social media posts using a platform like Hootsuite, or blog posts using a content management system like Wordpress

  • Sending payroll for processing

  • Backing up files

  • Sending reminder emails

  • Completing data entry using natural language processing (NLP), robotic process automation (RPA), or artificial intelligence (AI)

Tasks that don’t require complex details

Tasks that don’t require any brain power are good ones to automate. These can be “set it and forget it” tasks that must be done but aren’t problems and don’t require original responses to be properly addressed.

Simple task automation examples:

  • Setting up notifications to automatically send when a status has changed in the project management tool

  • Creating a new ticket from an email or form

  • Assigning tasks to team members within Slack or other communication tools

  • Consolidating data for analytics, reports, and dashboards

Recurring monthly tasks

Using workflow automation to handle your team’s recurring monthly tasks is another productive way to return valuable time to everyone’s calendar.

While your team probably completes some repetitive tasks daily or weekly, some tasks must be handled monthly. While these are required less often, it’s wise to automate them if possible.

Recurring monthly task automation examples:

  • Scheduling an automated reminder to clients who haven’t paid their previous invoice

  • Scheduling payments to vendors

  • Sending out open job descriptions to multiple job sites for recruiting and onboarding

Bill payments

As nice as it would be not to see them, some bills arrive every single month. As we mentioned above, once-a-month tasks such as paying bills offer a great opportunity to automate tasks and save time.

Bill-paying task automation examples:

  • Paying bills that are due at the same time every month

  • Paying bills that are the same amount every month

  • Linking specific accounts to specific creditors

  • Coordinating payments through mobile apps

Data management tasks

Automating how you access, organize, and review information makes getting the data you need easier. Since data is necessary for every workflow and project, this one is a huge priority for many companies. Automation software tools can dramatically increase data optimization, which saves time and facilitates better decisions.

Data management task automation examples:

  • Converting emails into documents that can be stored and retrieved later

  • Converting forms into records and adding them to a CRM (for sales efforts)

  • Creating projects or tasks for when deals change

  • Syncing data across the different apps the company uses for uniform information

Communication and collaboration tasks

Achieving successful communication and collaboration is crucial for teams. Even so, there are certain portions of these tasks that can be automated without losing any effectiveness. 

By using automation tools, you can streamline both team and client communication and ensure that everyone has access to the information they need when they need it. Additionally, you can increase the ease of collaborating, which brings about better ideas and helps problem-solving.

Communication and collaboration task automation examples:

  • Sending follow-up emails to clients

  • Generating offer letters to new hires and other human resources use cases (onboarding, benefits administration, etc.)

  • Sending task approvals to team members to keep them informed

  • Tagging people in tasks through automatic triggers 

  • Sharing asynchronous information as a single source of information

Step-by-step guide for automating tasks

Creating efficiency and cutting down on team waste may be a big objective for your team — this aids in project planning, resource allocation, and time management. If so, ensure that you’re automating the right tasks. Let these four steps guide you in increasing your automation in actionable ways that make sense.

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1) Create a thorough list of all your organizational tasks

The first step is to get a clear picture of how your business is handling the tasks now. Lay out a complete list of tasks your company handles across all departments. These include large, complex tasks, new tasks, old tasks, and small, simple tasks.

Hone in on every action required to achieve a specific result. Go over it multiple times to ensure you don’t leave out anything important — no matter how small.

2) Categorize your list into two buckets: Tasks that CAN be automated and tasks that CANNOT be automated

Go back over your master list and separate each action by whether you can automate it or not. Think about each one carefully. For example, some tasks may seem like they can’t be automated, but they actually can. By considering each individual task and its characteristics, you should have quite a few of them on your “can be automated” list.

3) Use a task automation tool (such as Teamwork)

Once your list is complete, it’s time to find an app that can automate tasks for you. A tool like Teamwork lets you optimize your task management, plan your workload, and track your progress.

Task automation tools make it simple to set your tasks up in it and avoid manual, time-consuming work.

4) Start automating your tasks

Execute the automation by creating a workable plan and timeline. Once a task is automated, test it out and review the metrics. If it works well, roll it out by announcing it to the team. If it doesn’t, figure out what went wrong and fix it.

By automating tasks this way, you can keep a handle on which ones are live and which ones are in production. This also avoids overwhelming your team with too many changes at once.

Important features when choosing your automation apps

The success of automating your repetitive, time-consuming tasks and making your teams more effective hinges on the tools you choose to help you make it happen.

There are hundreds of apps on the market that tout automation. While some of them provide a varying range of features and benefits, you’ll want to look for these five must-have features:

  • Drag-and-dropfunctionality

  • A way to identify new automation opportunities

  • A wide choice of integrations and/or an open API to expand automation opportunities

  • Customizable workflow templates for fast implementation

  • Highly scalable for handling task volume

And another thing...

There needs to be user buy-in. If your team doesn't see the value in a tool or feel like tasks should be automated, you'll face an uphill battle getting them to adopt the change. These five features give you ammunition when you're meeting with your team, as you can convey actionable insight into the time it saves them and how it gives them a way to utilize the time more productively.

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The 4 best automation apps

Keeping those five features we just covered in mind, we narrowed down a list of some of the top tools on the market. The tools on our list are the ones we believe best help companies (from large corporations to small businesses) automate their tasks, streamline their processes, and create more efficiency for their teams. 

1) Teamwork

Simple setup and a high level of customization makes this app a winner and a must for automating team tasks and streamlining your workflows. This easy-to-use app gives your team more productive hours by wiping out the manual work involved in their projects. By focusing on high-value, strategic tasks, Teamwork helps your project teams be more streamlined and efficient than ever.

Try Teamwork's task management software today to help your team stay on track toward goals.

Key features:

  • A wide choice of customizable automation templates

  • Event-based and time-based triggers help you easily create customized workflows

  • Integrations with many popular apps to keep users happy and focused on essential work (instead of mucking through busy work)

  • Time tracking for better estimation of future projects

  • Kanban boards for visual workflows and easy process automation

2) Zapier

Zapier is a powerful app that gives users robust task-automating choices. Companies using Zapier are privy to many features that help increase their efficiency, all without having to write any code.

Key features:

  • Ability to connect and integrate with a mind-boggling 5,000+ apps

  • Automated workflow templates and their running log automation history

  • No-code Zap Editor automates even the most customized processes

  • Ability to choose a “trigger” that brings about the automated action

3) Jotform

You can use this app to create forms that save tons of time and improve your team's efficiency. Use conditional logic, accept payments, generate reports, and automate workflows with Jotform. You can arrange forms to create automated workflows that ease your team’s load and keep them focused on the important stuff.

Key features:

  • Drag-and-drop interface

  • Thousands of customizable, pre-built templates

  • Thorough tracking features offer information on fill forms

  • Ability to view all metrics in a spreadsheet in real time with Jotform Tables

4) Microsoft Power Automate

The ultimate in task automation, you can use this tool to create automation workflows between your favorite apps and services. Synchronize files, collect data, and get live notifications with this tool — ensuring everyone on the team is as up-to-date as possible.

Key features:

  • Hundreds of pre-built connectors and no-code guidance

  • Cloud-based data loss prevention to protect your private company information

  • Trigger search to add intelligence to your processes

Automate your tasks easily with Teamwork

Teams must always strive to be the most efficient, productive animal they can be — or they risk becoming obsolete and losing their competitive edge. One of the ways the time gets sucked away from strategic initiatives is with menial, repetitive tasks.

Smart leaders should always search for ways to increase their team's efficiency and reduce busy work: Your team’s time is better spent on initiatives that move the needle and progress the business forward. Finding tools to automate these tasks can increase your team’s performance and, most likely, their job satisfaction.

Are you searching for the best tools to help you automate team tasks and successfully manage your processes? Teamwork can help you easily and seamlessly automate tasks and customize your workflows. Find out more about how Teamwork can improve your project workflows today.