Many future clients often ask me:
Should I automate this process? And if so, where do I start?
This is not uncommon thinking; we’re over-saturated with tasks and our resources are stretched beyond reason. Of course, the answer is always - yes - automated it all if possible.
And while we like the sound of this, the more difficult question to answer is the cost-benefit of automation. Until you can look at a task (or ideally, a collection of dependent tasks) and put a value of making it entirely disappear from your involvement, automation should not be undertaken.
My advice is to segment processes with a diagram and then apply some basic metrics concerning effort. Once you see the bigger picture and the effort each step in your processes require, then you can ask if it makes sense to automate that segment of your process.
Some processes (when diagrammed) become obvious candidates for automation, but a comprehensive process diagram allows you to also classify process segments as more beneficial than others to initially tackle.
It makes little sense to try to automate everything possible in the first attempt. Rather, think about this from the Automation Golden Goose perspective. One small automation step will pay some time-dividends; Use that extra time to automate another step - rinse/repeat.