1. List tasks performed in your business on a regular basis (daily, weekly, or monthly).
2. Isolate the tasks that are or could be done using a computer. If part but not all of the task could be done then list those parts. For example, if a document is prepared, saved, and distriuted on a daily basis, can the distribution be done automatically, without human intervention? This is a task that could be automated.
3. Time each item on your list and note the total time it takes to perform each task. For example, distributing a document to an email distribution group involves opening an email program, composing an email, choosing a distribution group, browsing a file directory, attaching the document, typing a subject and body, and pressing send. Maybe this takes a total of 2 minutes per day on average.
4. Calculate the total time spent per year on this task and all of the associated labor costs. For example, our daily email would total about 8 hours a year. Labor costs for this small task could total between 150 and 400 per year depending on the employee's level.
This may not sound like much but if this task were performed many times a day, by many people, or if this is just one part of a larger task that can be automated, you start to see where performing these tasks automatically and uninterrupted results in prompt and error-free performance, and time freed up for more important things, like planning, managing, and analyzing.