Productivity Today

Productivity Today

by Steve Deal on June 27, 2012

What if you could do something on  your computer just a little bit faster?   Does it make a difference?

I love the big automation projects – turn a 20 hour process into an hour.   But the little ones matter too.  If you find a new way of doing something that saves you 10 minutes a day — that’s one full working week a year!

Here’s a couple of ideas that I use every day.

Right Click – Built in Shortcuts

Sending that Word or Excel  file via email?   Exit the document, switch to Outlook, open a ‘new’ email, ‘Attach item’, and start searching for the folder/name.   Arrgh.

The easy way?  Just ‘Right Click’ the document, and ‘Send to’ ‘Mail Recipient’.

The ‘Right Click’ menu exposes lots of shortcuts, and it’s customized to the file.    So a photo may have ‘preview’ and ‘edit’, and a Word document ‘Convert to Adobe PDF’ (if you have Acrobat installed) and ‘Print’.

Right Click on your files, and see what options you have!

Macros (“Super” Shortcuts)

‘Right Click’ is a race car.   ‘Macro’ is a Rocket!

A Macro is a simple keyboard action that expands into lots of keystrokes.

My favorite:  “Ctrl-G”, which for me, takes any highlighted text, opens a browser, loads Google, and searches for that term.   I must use this a million times a day.

Highlight some words + “Ctrl-G”  (Control Key + G) ->

I also use shortcuts like these:

  • Outlook
    • F2 – Delete an email after two weeks
    • F4 – Mark a task/email as Done
  • Text Editing
    • F7 – Add a predefined string of text to the last line that has a date in it

Any repeatable series of keystrokes (and sometimes Mouse actions) can be ‘scripted’ with a Macro.

Macro Recording is not built into Windows, so this is a productivity application you have to buy as an add-on.   I use ‘Macro Express‘, about $40.


Finally, the most expensive and productivity enhancing tool of all!   Most of the programs you use every day have amazing built-in super features – that you will never user because you have never heard of them.

For example, in Word, you can

  • Select a word with ‘Double Click’
  • Select a sentence with ‘Ctrl Click’
  • Select a paragraph with ‘Triple Click’  !!

Once you learn one of these tricks (or all three, they are each pretty cool), your productivity editing documents goes up forever.

The key?   When you want to do something and don’t know how, you have to STOP and learn it NOW.

Hit the help button (F1 in almost every program on the planet now) or Google it.  Spend 5-10 minutes now, and learn something that will benefit you for years to come.

Looking for something new to learn?  Check out some of my favorites.

A Future Tomorrow

Take a few minutes this week to learn something new.  Invest in yourself today for a better tomorrow!


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