Everybody who knows me well, knows how much of a techie girl I am and have been one for a lot of years. It takes me back to the early 90s where I got my start in computers. I learned how to fix software and some hardware problems. I knew then my career would somehow always include technology which led me to graphic and web design and into content management. And now, web management for my day job.
But, the difference now is how I use technology and the secret is automation. I still manage the activities of setting things up, but I don’t have to actually do all the menial tasks. The computer does it for me because it’s faster and more accurate than I am. This helps me have a more flexible schedule where I’m not tied to my computer all day like I used to be. And with automation, I’m also able to check things out on mobile so I don’t even have to be in my home office.
Before WordPress plugins that can perform tasks automatically, us webmasters had to do all kinds of tasks manually like:
- Backing up client websites
- Performing cache of files no longer needed
- Optimizing images and pages for loading web pages faster
- Setting up SEO keywords
For my day job, I manage 4 websites, 2 of them are the main site and the members only site and these two are the ones most used. I update them with new content daily and weekly. So, when that happens, old files can remain on the server taking up space and slowing down loading so caching is important because my plugin will automatically remove old versions of pages and only keep the most current. Back in the day, I would have had to find the old versions myself and manually remove them.
The other two sites I manage are testing sites that I use when I’m researching a new feature and I need to test it to see how it will work and if there are compatibility issues before actually installing it on the main site. These sites are small in size yet they are important to back up too. I set the computer to auto back up all the sites on Friday mornings at 10 AM and I don’t make any updates or upload new files that day. The plugin sends me an email with a .zip file to download and it only keeps 2 weeks of backup files on the server. It auto deletes the oldest one on the 3rd week. I also use FileZilla that does my FTP backup and all I have to do is drag and drop the files from the server to my PC. I can literally walk away all day and let my computer handle everything for me. I LOVE IT!
This is just one way I use automation, but I bet you use it too even if it’s an alarm on your smartphone or iPhone to remind you of a task or upcoming appointment. Maybe you’re doing meal planning and you have an app set up to send you a weekly plan of meals based on your tastes and other essentials you put in the app when you downloaded it.
Is there a Downside to Automation?
Unfortunately yes. Have you ever watched the Star Trek: The Original Series episode called, “The Ultimate Computer”? If not, you should. It’s on Amazon and if you’re a Prime member, you can get it for free. This is the perfect episode that shows what can happen when we let computers take over and eliminate jobs. Even “The Matrix” movies or the movie, “I Robot” are good at telling the story. There are jobs that need the human touch. Computers can’t feel and that’s their downside. I wouldn’t want a robot in my house performing maid duties or to ride in a car being driven by a computer either. When I lived in Atlanta and rode the Marta train, which is driven by computer, made me nervous even with someone monitoring it. In my humble opinion, it comes down to moderation and knowing the limitations and not exceeding them.
There’s a good and bad with anything, for my day job, automation comes in handy which gives me a better schedule that I can fit in other things that are equally and even more important like: spending time with hubby and helping our photo business, going out with friends, getting more involved with my community, church ministry, and exercising.
So how do you automate your tasks? Do you use a digital planner or to-do list? Tell me in the comments below.