If there’s one New Year’s resolution that can have a lasting effect on your day-to-day happiness, it’s the vow to work better, smarter, and faster. Increasing productivity and enhancing efficiency are always noble goals, but mid-January represents a great time to put that plan into action — especially if another ambitious New Year’s Resolution has fallen by the wayside.
CMIT Solutions has compiled the following 10 tips that will save time at the office, boost your ability to work on the road, and lead to an increased sense of accomplishment each and every day.
1. Get your calendar(s) under control.
There’s Outlook, Google, aCalendar, and a thousand other apps out there — not to mention good old-fashioned paper calendars, which many of us still rely on. Syncing them into one calendar accessible across all your devices is difficult, but a trusted IT provider can help. Such an effort can save hours of wasted time and allow you to pull up your schedule anytime, anywhere.
2. Take on must-finish projects first.
Of course, a fully stacked calendar can induce major stress — especially first thing in the morning. When you tackle your task list, schedule enough time to finish important projects first. Checking off the most difficult item on your to-do list before you do anything can give you a boost of productivity and carry over into the afternoon.
3. Finish up quick tasks next.
After mastering the must-finish, give yourself a break by moving straight into easier, faster jobs. You’ll clear out your to-do list quickly, which is rewarding in its own right, and give yourself the space to move on to bigger things for the rest of the day.
4. Invest in multiple monitors.
It’s hard to quantify the exact amount of time you spend clicking between different windows and programs, but suffice to say it adds up — and it can be frustrating. Investing in two full-size computer screens is incredibly beneficial, especially if, say, you’re creating an Excel spreadsheet off data included in a document or email. Larger screens also make things easier to read, which can relieve wear and tear on your eyes.
5. Rely on templates.
Don’t reinvent the wheel over and over again each day. Starting with an existing template for your next project can save valuable time and effort and help you get the job done right. Whether it’s Microsoft Word, Excel, or the dreaded PowerPoint, get a leg up on formatting and style with a previously created document.
6. Learn a few new keyboard shortcuts.
The key here is to start small — don’t try and learn 10 new shortcuts in one swoop. Instead, start with one or two easy ones, like Ctrl + S to save a document multiple times while you’re working on it, or the critical trifecta of Ctrl + C (copy), Ctrl + V (paste), and Ctrl + Z (cut), which can help you make quick work of moving data correctly and efficiently.
7. Turn off smartphone notifications.
No, you shouldn’t turn off your text messages or phone calls. But reducing the noise coming your way from social media, news, sports, and other automatic notifications can help you complete your work, especially when it comes to detail-heavy specifics. Frequent pop-ups are almost guaranteed to distract you from the task at hand, so consider taking a break from them each day to focus with greater ease.
8. Create email rules to cut through the junk.
Similarly, even glancing for a few seconds at each mass message that hits your inbox can add up to a full hour shaved from your day. Consider creating rules to move messages not sent directly to you or from contacts outside of your company to a special folder. Then, only check that folder once a day when you have a little free time.
9. Hit the Save button — often.
Auto recovery has changed the amount of importance we place on this critical task, but it’s a habit worth keeping: when you’re working on a long document or report, hit the Save button as often as possible to avoid even the possibility of having to rewrite or recreate reams of information. Click the icon or use a keyboard shortcut to get the job done, either of which only takes a second and could save lots of time in a worst-case scenario.
10. Clean up your desktop.
Beyond the aesthetic value of actually being able to see your home screen wallpaper — and being able to find that file you’re looking for — a clean desktop can also improve computing performance, too. Rearrange files into identifiable folders, move shortcuts to the task bar or home button, change the destination of downloaded files, and get that disorderly desktop under control.
Looking for further ways to boost the efficiency and productivity of your workday? Intrigued by the tips outlined here but need help putting them into action? Contact CMIT Solutions today — we worry about IT so you don’t have to.