Tuesday 20 May 2008

21 Killer Tricks to Increase Your Productivity on your Computer

Ever wonder why some people get their work done faster than others? I do. In fact, I'm amazed at the fact that of how many often get their work and projects finished in a fraction of the time it takes others to complete the same tasks. So I set off on an adventure to find the best tips to turn myself into a lean mean working machine. With a little help from the great not so ol' computer of course.
  1. Use Voice recognition - If you don't use it, I'm afraid, you're missing out on a lot of productivity. USE IT! If you don't know how then take a look at an article that tells you how. Bear in mind though that it isn't fully developed yet, but it should be in a couple of years time.
  2. Get Organized (Put files in appropriate folder and delete files you don't need) - I can't believe how much time I've saved by not searching as much for the stuff I need.
  3. Work Offline - Just because you don't have Internet on your way to work, it doesn't mean that you can still do work
  4. Use a Dual Monitor setup - Invest in another flat screen LCD monitor of a considerable size and start using two screens. This is especially useful if you are a developing, researching, writing and even playing Counter-Strike.
  5. Follow the do it now policy - don't leave anything for later. If you need to e-mail some one pictures of your vacation, do it now.
  6. Stop using youtube, digg, facebook and the like - Yes, I realize how addictive this can be, but in order to focus on the task as hand, it is impossible to check what's happening on digg and do your work properly at the same time. Close your web browser, and keep only the necessary windows open and limit the time you spend on social networking sites.
  7. Become and expert in using search engines - Once you become an expert, you will be able to find information more quickly and easily, without wasting any valuable time.
  8. Turn off IM and Quit checking your e-mail. Do it once every couple of hours at most and keep and eye on the time you spend going through your e-mail
  9. Make your computer faster - If you're using an old computer, or a computer that runs Windows, then you might be loosing a lot of time
  10. Use an organizer - Use something like WordPerfect Lightning to quickly jot down notes onto your computer
  11. Prioritize and Make sure to follow the schedule
  12. Use sticky notes - the real ones more than the ones on your computer. And once your write/type something make sure to read it once in a while too.
  13. Use RSS instead of visiting each and every single website that you'd like to read regularly
  14. Brainstorm on PAPER. Use the PC only to prepare your final draft once you're certain of what you'd like to do. You'll save much more time that way
  15. Upgrade your peripherals to suit your needs. Invest in a good chair and table if you tend to do a lot of work on your computer
  16. Speed up your Internet connection and network
  17. Proof read your document the smart way (if its small of course) - use Microsoft Word/Adobe Reader/Your Mac to read it out to you. You'll most likely find more mistakes that way.
  18. Get a small pocket size notepad to make changes on the go. Cell phones don't really do the job right. Get a portable electronic device to record voice notes if necessary. Once you have access to your computer, transfer it all to your computer.
  19. Become a e-mail ninja! Learn how to get rid of e-mail you don't really need to read.
  20. Let the computer open your applications - I usually almost always have one of these set ups running on my computer so what I do is create a separate account for each configuration and then use the start up folder trick to kind of copy Apple's Spaces in leopard. Here are the following 'spaces' I use regularly:
    1. Word processing mode - I usually have Microsoft Word, my web browser and my music player open
    2. Blogging mode - 2 web browsers, windows live writer and my speech recognition application.
  21. Tweak your software - Get a decent browser like FireFox, that is going to run faster and not crash as much. Use Macros in Microsoft Word to do the tasks that you perform regularly. Disable distracting applications and free up space on your computer. Keep only the windows that you need open.

And one final tip - Make sure you actually remember this list and stick to it.

Got a question, tip or comment? Send them to beyondteck+question@gmail.com and we'll try to answer it in a blog post!

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