If you're a small business owner, you're short on time - and your to-do list never ends. So how do you carve out extra time each day for important things like marketing, staffing, and inventory? Or spending time with your family? “Saving is the name of the game,” according to business expert Deep Patel. Sure, there’s a smidgen of truth to the old mantra of doing something yourself if you want it done right. But Patel insists the best approach is to automate many of your business functions so that nobody has to dedicate their days to doing them. “Your time is valuable,” he writes in Entrepreneur. “Certain processes are cheaper, more efficient and effective when automated.” The fact is, your tasks and goals remain the same when you integrate automation into your business. You simply save time and money by letting technology tackle many of your day-to-day tasks. For example, Patel recommends Deluxe for your payroll, as it can eliminate errors and improve your financial security. If the thought of simplifying something as tedious as payroll doesn’t make you smile, what does? When it comes to mileage tracking and expense reporting, a tool like Quickbooks can do the heavy lifting and keep your ducks in a row. It’s an automated hero that handles much of your accounting efforts and can be shared with your accountant to aid in collaboration. Same goes for Quip and Doodle, which streamline your workflow, improve team collaboration, and make sure everyone is on the same page. Of course, automation shouldn’t just be relegated to unsexy aspects of business like expense reports and payroll. According to Forbes, “marketing is one area ripe for automation.” Consider MailChimp, which many small businesses use to simplify their email initiatives. On the social side, tools like Buffer and Hootsuite let you combine all your social media in one place, simplifying tasks in a major way. Another great option is Hubspot, which is an easy-to-use platform for your social and email marketing. It drives engagement with cohesive initiatives across diverse channels and can actually manage tens of thousands of contacts and leads. If the broad range of automated options seems overwhelming, start by focusing on one aspect of your business. It can be a powerful way of becoming more efficient and profitable in 2018.