In case you didn’t know, my wife is an accountant. One time, she was working on a task that required many ledger entries to be adjusted and updated. It wasn’t a huge amount, but it was several dozen. This data could have been automatically imported from various other systems and integrated into the system, but there were problems with the login credentials, and the synchronization was not happening. Also of note is this was not a continuous ongoing task but a one-off task that was required to do some specific analysis.
My wife now faced a bit of a dilemma. Does she spend a significant amount of time getting the automated integration working? Experience has shown her that it can take days – if not longer – to go back and forth with business owners to get credentials and logins configured. Alternatively, she could simply obtain the raw data and update the ledgers manually, even though this could take several hours. After a few minutes of internal deliberation, she decided to fix the data herself manually. It took about two hours, but at the end of that time, the data was updated, and she was able to move forward with her other analysis tasks.
Sometimes when you have a problem right in front of you to solve, it’s easier just to move forward and get that task done. You need to be mindful of whether this is a recurring task that will happen repeatedly or if this is a one-time task that needs to be done quickly. For example, let’s say one of your customers is asking for a report of some data or status on project tracking. I’ve seen people spend hours, which frequently turns into days, trying to fix their Jira tooling to get the reporting correct when alternatively they can pull the data, drop it into an excel, and have the report done in 30 minutes.
Look, I’m not a fan of doing manual work, and I believe that you need to look for automation whenever possible because otherwise, you’ll be stuck doing that little manual task for the rest of your career. There’s no way to scale or grow without finding ways to do automation. But you also need to be mindful of taking hours and days trying to automate something when it’s a one-off task that needs to be done quickly and a customer is waiting on you. I even have a saying that I use when these situations arise…I call it “JFDI” or “Just Freaking Do It.” Stop overthinking all the fancy ways to build automation and processes, and get the task done so you can move forward onto more important things.