To save an hour of work time per workday, you need to work harder. Using a Windows task scheduler, you can easily save a few hours of work effort each week. If you’re new to automating tasks in Windows, use this step process to get started.
1) Find Your Why
Before we dive into the specifics of different tasks to automate, we need to clarify your why. There is a learning curve for every automation technique, including Windows task scheduler. Some common reasons to embrace task scheduling include:
- Boredom. There are certain tasks at the office that you have done hundreds or thousands of times. You’re bored with this work and don’t want to do them anymore.
- Excessive workload. You have more tasks than you can handle! That leads to long work hours and exhaustion. Use a Windows task scheduler to lighten the burden.
- Automation and Productivity Curiosity. Some of our users are simply fascinated by productivity tips and tricks! If that’s you, automating and scheduling a task will contribute to your goal of becoming the most productive person in your office.
In 60 seconds or less, come up with one or two reasons why you want to learn automation and task scheduling.
2) Choose Your Windows Tasks To Automate
Now that you know why you want to be productive, it is time to choose a task to automate. There are technical and non-technical criteria to keep in mind. Let’s take each set of criteria separately, starting with technical criteria.
There are some specific tasks that lend themselves more to automation. Here are some examples to inspire you.
- File Transfers. Do you have files that need to be transferred from one place to another every day, every week, or on some other frequency? That’s a perfect task for VisualCron. Scheduling file transfers for overnight is a good idea because you will avoid impacting other users.
- PDF Automation. Extracting data from PDFs and manipulating PDFs can be automated. For instance, you can automate tasks like inserting pages into a PDF, searching and extracting data from a PDF, and adding footers and headers. With task scheduling, you can produce professional PDFs with a consistent look and feel every time.
- SQL and Database Automation. You already know that databases quietly keep the world running smoothly. However, these databases are only effective if they are kept fully up to date. For example, you can use a trigger to monitor a database for certain types of changes (e.g., if a user enters problematic data, you can now detect that problem early)
Let’s consider some of the business factors to use a Windows task scheduler.
- Schedule Importance. Some business processes – like updating PDFs for customers – have to be done on a set schedule to keep customers happy. Hitting these deadlines consistently is difficult! You can improve the consistency of your customer service by using a task scheduler.
- Reduce Employee Burnout. Doing the same task over and over again gets boring! Make a list of recurring tasks you do each month. You may be able to use a task scheduler to take some of those issues off your plate.
Based on your review of technical and business factors, develop a shortlist of ideas for task scheduling. Aim to develop a list of at least 10 distinct processes to automate.
3) Pilot Test Your Automation With VisualCron
In the past step, you came up with a list of ideas for task scheduling. Your next step is to choose one idea for a pilot test. If you are new to task scheduling, start with a relatively simple task that does not impact many stakeholders. If you are experienced with scheduling and automation, you can choose a more complex task to automate.
To obtain the greatest value from your pilot test, use these principles:
- Timing. When you pilot test a task scheduling activity, schedule to complete a few hours before your deadline.
- Live Data and Processes. Use real data rather than dummy data.
- Frequency. Use a pilot test that involves at least five repetitions. For example, if you are running a daily task, run the pilot test for 5 days.
4) Check The Results Of Your Automation
Now that your pilot test is complete, take a few minutes to evaluate the results. There are a few questions to ask.
- Quality Assessment. Measure the quality of the process completed with your Windows task scheduling software. For instance, compare the scheduled pilot vs. doing the task manually to see if there are errors. Make a note of any errors before rolling out the process into production.
- Speed Assessment. Compare how long the task took to complete manually vs. with a task scheduler. Measuring the improvement helps you to report efficiency gains to others in the company.
- Secondary Review. Ask another person in your team to review your pilot test’s results. This will help you identify blind spots with how you used task scheduling software.
Now that you have evaluated your pilot test, you have two options. First, you can optimize the pilot test and put it into production. Second, abandon the pilot test and explore a different idea if you were disappointed by the quality.
5) Decide How To Use Your Extra Time
By using a Windows task scheduling application, you will free up time in your workday. That is a major success! Take a few minutes to savor the experience. Next, you will need to consider how to best use your free time. If you don’t think through how to use your new free time, you might end up wasting it away on low priority activities.
Let’s assume you have used automation to save yourself four hours of work effort per week. That’s enough time to carry out two focused work sessions. At that time, choose your number one work goal and apply that time to make progress on it. Finally, share your improvements with your team and others in the company. Your success can inspire other people to implement Windows task scheduling!