One Way to Enchance Your Productivity

Automate repetative tasks that you do manually.

Do you take backups manually? Automate it.
Do you get lots of same support requests? Put an auto reply along with top 10 asked questions & answers.
Do you do manual version control? Put an automatic version controller on.
Do you have a manual book keeping? Automate it with use of credit cards & bank account (possible for sole proprietorship)
Do you manually test for bugs? Use automatic unit testing.

What tasks are there you keep manually repeating? Where would you get the biggest benefits from automation? Try to make them automatic and you’ll free up lots of time for more useful purposes.

Juuso Hietalahti


  1. @chaos: every 15 minutes? 24 hours a day? all week along? whoa. Now that’s automated :) Never heard builds made so often… so automatically.

    Oh well, I guess one can learn new every day…

  2. Use continous builds. We have a machine just doing builds on everything, debug version, release version etc. every 15 minutes. You need to have a version control system for that, but it ensures that everything that is checked in, doesn’t break the build and everybody knows that the build was broken within 15 minutes and can fix that. The system sends an email message if this happens. And you always have a release build handy in case of demos or press versions.

    Use something like Bugzilla and get everybody to use ist. I even use it to assign tasks and bugs to myself as a reminder.

  3. How can I automate looking at forums and making posts on my behalf so I save LOADS of time per day ;-)

  4. I myself use Subversion on a Linux box with Windows clients. And I am very pleased with it.

    It is easy to use and all the necessary features you need are available. It is indeed a little less complex than CVS but is for sure a worthy competitor. I don’t even know if the higher complexity of CVS makes it so much better…

    SVN is fairly easy to setup on Linux box. (even for beginning Linux users). It is also available for windows but I don’t know how easy it works on windows. There is lots of documentation available & a very active IRC channel.(even a free digital SVN book)

    Another nice thing about Subversion is that it has a lot of plug-ins which makes in-program support available. (You have TortoiseSVN for windows, AnkhSVN for Visual Studio, Subclipse for Eclipse,…)

    A version control system is a must for every development team. I am using it on a few of my own projects myself and you have no idea how much time it saves you. Especially when working together with a lot of people. Never the less it even saves you time when only working in a “two-man-team”.

  5. @mahlzeit: yes, this is exactly the way to do it. Of course there must be real person to answer the questions if the support database cannot handle it.

    @nick: it depends. I’m not sure if there are many VERY easy to use version control systems, but quick/efficient there must be. I have used CVS and Subversion (I didn’t set them up) and both seem to work quite well although there are problems. CVS seemed to be slower and subversion maybe little simpler to use (yet it’s still complex I think). I haven’t made enough research to tell a really good version controller (I prefer simplicity, easy-to-use, fast and need little features).

  6. What type of version control software would you recommend? I want something very quick and efficient, but also something that fits my tight budget.

  7. The other day I made a support inquiry at some website. After clicking submit on the form, a page appeared that said: “We found some answers in the FAQ that might answer your question.” Then it listed those answers (or summaries of them), followed by a link at the bottom: “This doesn’t answer my question. Send the support request anyway.”

    So what they do is scan your request for keywords, then pull the FAQ entries matching those keywords from a database. No doubt this reduces the amount of support requests that you’ll receive. Not everyone looks in the FAQ before they fire off their question, but I’m sure they’ll be happy to receive such an instantaneous answer.

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