Yes, it is done automatically. My retirement comes out of each check and is deposited into my retirement acct. I also have a set amount come out from my check each month to go to my credit union savings account (vaca/gift/small emergency fund). Another set amount goes to my money market account and I use that amount to pay yearly propery taxes and auto/home insurance.
DH has the same thing: money automatically deducted for retirement and then he has 3 amounts withdrawn: one for his credit union checking (our "fun" money), one amount for our "big" emergency fund (six + months of living expenses) and a third amount that after 6 months buys certificate of deposit. He now has 5 CDs that come due at various times. As they come due, he either reinvests them or cashes them out to pay for things like our new/used truck, carpet for the basement or some medical bills and unpaid maternity leave income help. He cashed in 2 CDs last month and we paid off the Tahoe loan.
I have to have it done electronically and automatically. Otherwise I wouldn't do it and neither would DH.