Automate Even Simple Tasks on Your Computer

May 2, 2019

I've been getting deeper and deeper into automating my personal life. I'll give an example of how automating even simple things can make a big difference over time.

What I choose to automate next is usually a task I find myself doing over and over again. The lowest hanging fruit are the actions you do repeatedly everyday multiple times.

To get ideas, start noticing when you do something repeatedly on your computer. Then create a list of these actions as you go about your work for the day. Because working on a computer is efficient in itself, it could be hard to detect what you can actually automate. For example, everyday before I start my work I open up a series of tabs in chrome. This is fairly easy because it just takes a couple clicks on my mouse and if my pages are bookmarked it just takes a few more clicks and everything is open in under 30 seconds. Because of how relatively fast this is done, you may not think about automating it.

Since it's something I do everyday, it falls under the "try to automate list." So one day, I created a bash script that opens up my browser tabs and programs for me. I just timed it, and it takes about 2 seconds. Even if I only run that command once a day, over a year it will save me 2.83 hours. This is the power of automation and why I love it.

Even while writing this article, I've thought of ways to make this script run a little faster.

I even have a command that opens up all my bash scripts in a text editor, so it's really easy for me to make a new one or to edit old ones. I make scripts for customer projects that open the app in VS Code, start the development server, start the git client, go to the app in chrome, and start up the api and the database in one go.

Pick a day where you go down the list of automation ideas and start automating them. In the process you'll free up more of your time and you'll learn more about programming and computers.

If you're interested in automation, found this article interesting or want help with automation, tweet me or shoot me an email.