Although it wasn't the spectacle that many people were expecting, Facebook's IPO has still had some major effects. One of them is putting programming in the mainstream spotlight. Thanks to this attention well-known individuals, like Ezra Klein and Mayor Bloomberg, have expressed their interest in learning how to program.
While many within the tech community are thrilled that more people want to take a walk on the technical side of life, there are those who have published blog posts to discourage "amateurs" from "wasting time" on these pursuits. Not surprisingly, a lot of heated debates have sprung up around this topic.
Even though both sides are likely to continue arguing their position, the good news is there's no reason you have to be a tech prodigy to benefit from what automation can offer. In fact, you don't even have to learn true programming thanks to all the great tools that are available. You can do a lot just by being aware of them. Let's look at a few examples of what you can accomplish simply by actively making an effort to automate parts of your workflow:
Basecamp + MailChimp: Shortly after launching the new Basecamp, 37Signals added the ability to make to-do lists via email. If there are tasks or projects that you do each month, you can automate the process of keeping track of them by combining this Basecamp feature with MailChimp.
If you have both a Basecamp and MailChimp account, all you need to do is create a list for each Basecamp project where you want to create to-do’s. You can then add the corresponding Basecamp email address to each list you create. Next, make a campaign that includes the to-do’s you'll need to complete. Finally, schedule this campaign for when you want it created. For weekly or monthly tasks, just replicate and schedule the campaigns accordingly.
In less than half an hour, you can use this simple automation to take care of ensuring that you'll never again forget about a task or project step you need to complete.
TextExpander: Whether it's a few words or entire paragraphs that you have to type on a regular basis, this $35 Mac program allows you to eliminate repetitive typing. All you need to do is create a snippet that corresponds to what you want to type and TextExpander will take care of the rest for you. If you're a Windows user, PhraseExpander provides similar functionality.
Fake: Do you find yourself regularly opening your browser and performing the same steps? If so,Fake for Mac can automate these steps for you. While you can incorporate any programming knowledge you have into using this program, its graphical interface makes it possible to automate processes simply by dragging and dropping. If you use Windows and Google Chrome, Automato is an extension that can provide some of the same functionalities as Fake.
Do you currently use any tools that make it easy to automate tasks with just a little technical knowledge?
About The Author
Brian Waraksa, founder of Raxa Design in Houston, Texas has been in marketing and small business branding since 2002. He writes the Raxa Design blog on issues affecting small business marketing and corporate brands.
Posted on Mon, June 25, 2012
by Brian Waraksa filed under