By Sarah Miller
March 11th is daylight savings time. Since we lose an hour, I thought it would be fun to share with you some of the daily business life-hacks I have learned to do to save time. With a little bit of planning, you can save time and earn back the hour we're losing!
Here is my top 5 list of common business activities that can be automated or done more efficiently:
1. Master Your Keyboard Shortcuts. The most common everyday computer tasks regularly require the following commands: Select, Copy, Cut, Paste and Undo. Most people know the 'right-click' method of performing these tasks, but keyboard shortcuts are faster.
|Select All||Ctrl + A|
|Copy||Ctrl + C||Something needs to be selected before you copy.|
|Cut||Ctrl + X|
|Paste||Ctrl + V||First place your cursor where you want to paste.|
|Undo||Ctrl + Z||Based on the software, undo will either toggle between undo or redo or it will give you multiple steps of undo.|
|Redo||Ctrl + Y|
|Highlight word||Shift + Ctrl + Arrow (L or Right)||Enables you to highlight one full word. If you click again, it will highlight the next word as well and so on.|
2. Manage Email. I use my email software like a filing cabinet and I have created "folders" to organize my emails. When I have responded to and completed all items in an email, it gets moved out of my inbox into the appropriate folder. This ensures that the only items in my inbox are the items that are still pending. This saves me a considerable amount of time having to figure out what still needs to be responded to or completed. I also flag items in my inbox that are super important so I can sort by those items and move them to the top of my list. A less cluttered inbox also makes me feel less stressed and as I file emails, I have a sense of accomplishment even for small tasks.
3. Respond to Emails on a Schedule and with Templates. As I mentioned in a prior blog, I have set times in the day that I check my email rather than checking it all day long. This saves me quite a bit of time so I don't get distracted. Many emails I receive have a similar answer so the biggest time-saver for me is that I have templates that I use "as is" or that can be easily customized and sent. As soon as I send the response, I file the email so that I know it's been completed. This is a great tool for customer support, sales inquiries and more. Explore the options in your email software and look for ways you can simplify repetitive tasks.
4. Remote Meetings. In-person meetings used to consume a lot of time because of travel. With internet technology, services like GoToMeeting, join.me, Skype and a bunch of others enable you to hold a long distance meeting without having to leave the convenience of your office. Besides the travel consideration, there are additional benefits such as being able to share your screen with a group and even turn over the controls to another person in the meeting so they can share their screen if needed. Most services also support mobile devices so you can literally be in touch with clients, employees or vendors from any location.
5. Dictation. I took a typing class and I'm quick...but there is something about the freedom of just speaking your thoughts on a topic. Whether you are writing an article or need to quickly take a note on a customer, computers and mobile devices now make it super simple to convert your speech to text. I often use it to get the essentials down and then I edit the text before sending or presenting it.
What are the tasks that you do most often? Are there ways to automate your specific tasks? Find the biggest time wasters in your day and come up with a plan on how to either automate or lessen the duration of those tasks. There is a ton of software and mobile applications that can help you solve a particular need. Please share your biggest time wasting tasks with me, so we can come up with a solution and maybe share them in a future blog.
This week's companion newsletter discusses ways CorpNote can help you save time. We created CorpNote 14 years ago to solve our own business needs while we were growing our internet development business. We wanted a way to use internet technology to communicate in a way that was more memorable and creative than email while also enabling our staff to save time and be brand consistent in their communications from our company. What we realized was that it wasn't just the messages we sent that were important – finding a better, more efficient way of sending them is what lead to our success.
Since I use CorpNote every day, it has been important for myself, and for our customers, to continue to find ways to automate the most repetitive (and tedious) tasks via templates, shortcuts and technology. Let the computer do all the heavy lifting, right?
Saint Patrick's Day is Saturday 3/17 so let's go green! In this case though, I don't mean the color green, I mean go green and help our environment. We'll discuss tips for creating a "mostly" paper free office and other ways to cut waste while saving money.
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