With more and more of us spending our entire workday behind a computer, the concept of productivity seems almost silly. What do most of us create anyway? Emails? Spreadsheets? However, there are three things we can all do that will help us be more productive people.If you're always looking to be more efficient, here are three things you can do today to improve your "tech toolbox," so to speak:
1. Learn the keyboard shortcuts for the programs you use most often.
Do you find yourself right clicking, dragging down a list of prompts, selecting copy and then paste 10-20 times per day? Guess what — you've lost approximately 20 seconds of productivity every day based on this action alone. Seems trivial, but add it up for an entire year and you've lost over 2 hours to the simple task of copying and pasting. It's easy enough to learn this command (Copy = Command + C and Paste = Command + V), since it's the same for every program.
One way to quickly learn key commands is by hovering over the toolbars within the programs. For example, in Photoshop you can hover over the toolbar with your mouse and the key command will appear if there is one available.
2. Set-up automatic hard drive backups to a cloud service. Instead of relying on finding time in your busy schedule every month to back up your hard drive, consider signing up for a service that performs this function in the background every day. Just forget about external hard drives too. They're pricey, prone to death if exposed to water, and are more cumbersome than web-based services.
There are plenty of free services that will provide up to 5 gigs of storage at no charge, such as iDrive, Google Drive and SugarSync. If you have more to store (most of us do) consider signing up for an annual plan versus a month to month plan to save money.
3. Use reputable web-based freeware whenever possible.
Are you still paying for and downloading Microsoft Office for every new computer you buy? Stop now. There are plenty of free versions of common software on the web that allow you to word process or create spreadsheets that save directly to your cloud space. Plus, you never have to worry about software updates. New updates often mean waiting for a download and full restart of your computer. Want to try a free program? Fly Suite and Google Docs are easy to use and will be familiar to people who have used Microsoft's Suite in the past.
Liz is a writer and filmmaker from Minneapolis. She was nominated for a Webby and won an Emmy for Science of Watchmen, a documentary short about the physics in the comic book movie. She’s a tech obsessive, verified nerd and total Anglophile.
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