Regardless of the industry you work in, you interact with technology dozens of times a day. This is even more true in the modern home. While technology has simplified tasks that used to be incredibly time consuming, it has also created new ones that didn’t exist a generation ago. Ironically, in this situation, technology has complicated life in some cases. Luckily, as with most work projects, knowledge, planning, and organization are the key ingredients to increase efficiency when working with technology. Here are five practical and easy tips to keep your interactions with technology streamlined at work and home.
1. Templates Are Your Friend
Whether you’re editing complex video projects in Adobe Premiere or organizing online qualitative research with Microsoft Excel, if you start from scratch every time you begin a new project, you’re wasting time. If you take a few minutes once to make a folder of commonly used project or report templates, you’ll save hours if not days of extra work over the course of your year. Many people are wise to this and take the intermediary step of opening the last project, file, or report that is in a similar vein to the new one they’re about to start, and then save a copy to get moving on the new one. Why not go one step further and format these items as templates and have a folder with the most common ones that you use ready to go?
2. Embrace Bluetooth Technology
Bluetooth technology is a game-changer both in the office and at home. Wirelessly connecting across a network to speakers, screens, and Smart Home devices is essentially magical. Being able to unlock your house or change its temperature from your phone is pretty incredible. So is streaming music throughout various rooms of your house. It’s also extremely slick at work. Presentation clickers allow you to advance slideshows with a flick of the wrist, or to share screens in a meeting. Set up and pair your devices to save time and effort, and to present professionally.
3. Automate What You Can
There are many scenarios wherein you need to wait until after hours to compose the perfect email. That doesn’t mean you want a coworker to receive it in the middle of their evening. It’s quite simple to schedule emails through Microsoft Outlook for the following morning. If your job involves posting on social media in any way, you can schedule posts in all major platforms. Whether you schedule a week or a day at a time, if you do it at a time of day when you know you can get to it, you’ll be able to focus on new or urgent tasks as they come up.
4. Create Shortcuts
Bookmarks save time. Set up your browser for quick access to frequently-visited websites. You can do this on most smartphones as well by creating widgets on home screens or shortcuts through your phone’s browser. A word about security, however: you should generally avoid saving passwords on a desktop or laptop computer. In fact, setting up two-factor authentication when you can is a good idea. Phones that require thumbprints or facial recognition may be better, but still proceed with caution.
5. Make a To-Do List at the END of Each Day
You probably recognize the value of having a daily to-do list. Many well-intentioned, organized people make the mistake of taking time out of their morning to make theirs. It’s much more productive to end your workday by making tomorrow’s list. Firstly, you’re still in “work mode” so the tasks for the next day are fresh in your mind. Secondly, it will help you hit the ground running when you get to the office. Do it in an app or scheduling program so you can add tasks throughout the day, just be sure to check things off as you go to recognize what you’ve accomplished.
Make sure technology works for you, rather than the other way around. These tips should help!