With Labor Day behind us, summer is officially over, so now’s the time to start working smarter and faster. Boosting productivity and increasing efficiency are always noble goals, but the start of September and the beginning of fall provides the perfect opportunity to put that plan into action.
Of course, it’s never easy to get back into the swing of things after a long weekend. Luckily, CMIT Solutions has put together the following 10 tips that will make office time more productive and remote work easier, boosting your sense of accomplishment today and moving forward.
1. Tackle big, must-finish projects first.
A fully stacked calendar can induce major stress — especially first thing in the morning. When you start to 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 start work on anything else can give you a boost of productivity that carries over into the afternoon.
2. Race through a few quick tasks next.
After mastering the must-finish, reward yourself by diving 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.
3. Get those calendars under control.
There’s Outlook, Google, 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 that’s accessible across all your devices is difficult, but a trusted IT provider can help. Devoting time to this crucial task can save hours of wasted time and allow you to pull up your schedule anytime, anywhere.
4. Go big with 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 ease the wear and tear that long-term computer usage inflicts on your eyes.
5. Take advantage of 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. Mute those annoying 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 you’re dealing with 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.
7. Teach yourself some 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.
8. Hit the Save button — often.
We’ll say it again: learn the aforementioned keyboard shortcut for this task (Ctrl + S)! Auto recovery has changed the amount of importance we place on this, 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. Saving often only takes a second and could spare you lots of time in a worst-case scenario.
9. Institute email rules to cut through the junk.
Just 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 some free time.
10. Clean up your desktop.
Beyond the aesthetic value of actually seeing your home screen wallpaper — and actually finding that file you’re looking for — a clean desktop can also improve computer 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 more post-Labor Day 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.