Goodbye Busy-work: How a simple automation brightened our workdays and saved us hours each week.


We’ve all had to endure repetitive, time-consuming tasks that while necessary, don’t seem to add much value to our day-to-day work. It’s this kind of ‘busy work’ that can make you wish for a magic button to streamline everything.

For our team, that magic button turned out to be an automation tool called Zapier, which we found not only useful for improving our efficiency, but also delivered quality-of-life benefits, truly! Appreciating the impact it had for us, we thought it warranted a quick write-up for others to consider how similar applications might benefit their work flows.

Disclaimer: We have no association with Zapier in any way, and there are probably other solutions that provide similar functionality, this is just our experience with what worked for us.

A simple integration with a big impact

In our quest to eliminate repetitive tasks, there was one job that we immediately targeted for streamlining: tracking and reconciling client support hours. For us it’s a crucial task, essential for accurate billing and maintaining transparency with our clients. On the flip side it’s also very mundane, time consuming, and as with any manual task, susceptible to human error.

Our prior workflow

For us, this process meant having to make a matching reference from a UserSnap support ticket to a Google Doc where the hours spent for each task would be recorded. In Google we also wanted a description of the task, along with its ticket number and the date it was completed to be brought over. All of this data existed already in UserSnap, and so it was a laborious and somewhat wasteful process for the developer to copy and paste from one location to the other.

Once a developer had resolved a ticket, a Project Manager would then need to review, trying to match the row in the Google Doc with the ticket in UserSnap, and confirm that it could be marked as complete. Each ticket might take a few minutes to cross-reference and resolve, often with small details needing to be matched in order to make sure that accurate information was being gathered. All-in-all was the sort of task that would become frustrating and taxing when done over and over.

The automated way

Zapier offered the solution. It’s a tool we’d used on the odd client project here or there, but never for ourselves. By using it to integrate UserSnap with Google Docs we were able to reduce the process of logging, tracking, and reconciling hours down to a single mouse click. The integration copied all of the relevant data across form UserSnap to the Google Doc so that all a developer had to do was flag a ticket as resolved and enter the hours spent. Zapier then created the matching entries with public and private links to the tickets themselves automatically, making the Project Manager’s final review a quick and easy process.

Low and behold, this seemingly small change had an immediate effect, freeing up hours each week that were previously spent on manual data entry!

Saving time and making life… better

It turned out that the automation didn’t just save time; it improved accuracy and reliability in billing and reporting, leading to better client servicing. More importantly, it allowed our team to redirect their focus to more meaningful tasks, enhancing overall job satisfaction and productivity. The difference was immediate, not just in our workflow efficiency but in the joy that can only be found by removing a laborious and repetitive task from one’s daily remit.

An example use case: Automating data compilation for reporting

It’s probably useful to explore another real-world scenario that might hit home for anyone that loves data and analytics. Let’s consider a company that wants to keep a real-time dashboard updated with key performance indicators (KPIs) from various sources, including sales data from a CRM, marketing metrics from a campaign management tool, and customer support stats from a help desk platform. Manually compiling this data is time-consuming and doesn’t provide the real-time insights needed for quick decision-making.

The traditional process might look something like this:

  1. Export data from each source (CRM, marketing platform, help desk, etc.) at regular intervals.
  2. Manually combine and format the data into a report or dashboard.
  3. Analyze the compiled data to make decisions.
  4. Repeat the process regularly to keep the data up-to-date.

It’s a very manual and cumbersome process which makes it difficult to respond quickly to new information.

Automating it with Zapier would take some setup work, but this would then cut out the manual steps from that point onward :

  1. Triggers: Set up triggers in Zapier for each data source. For example, a new sale in the CRM, a completed marketing campaign, or a closed support ticket in the help desk system could each trigger an action.
  2. Action: Zapier automatically sends the data from each trigger to a central reporting tool or dashboard software. This could be a custom dashboard, Google Sheets, Microsoft Power BI, or any other data visualization tool that supports Zapier.
  3. Brighter days: The dashboard is updated in real-time with the latest data from all sources, providing a comprehensive view of the company’s performance across multiple dimensions.

Is there anything in your work day that could do with being automated?

Our venture into automation has been a bit of a revelation, especially in the way it made us feel about a daily part of our work. For anyone intrigued by the prospect of automation, our advice is to start with one process you know is repetitive and procedural. Explore Zapier’s integrations and think creatively about how connecting different tools can solve your problem. You might be surprised at how a small tweak can free up valuable time, improve accuracy, and perhaps most importantly, enhance you quality of life at work.

A link to Zapier’s site:

Like us to explore how Zapier could help you do away with busy-work? Get in touch 


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