The concept of “working smarter, not harder,” has been drilled into our brains since the early ’30s when an author called Allan F. Mogensen, coined the phrase in his book “work simplification”. Here at My Tech Guys, we don’t believe “working harder” needs to be mutually exclusive of “working smarter” and we use a range of tech to help us stay on top. Here are our top 5 tech tips designed to help you with your productivity.
Workstations and Dual Screens
Working in front of a computer in a full-time capacity means that over the course of a year, you spend around 2000 hours using your workstation. Although some health and safety improvements have been commonplace such as chairs with lumbar support, wrist rests for mouse pads, and standing desks, sometimes the monitors themselves are overlooked. Screen real estate matters and in a world where everything is getting smaller, people find themselves doing most of their work on 11in Macbook screens or 10-inch iPads! The benefits of changing your monitors to a dual screen 22in monitor setup are legion. Think about a typical usage scenario: A worker may be viewing an Excel spreadsheet, while their e-mail client, Web browser, IM application, and Windows Explorer windows are running in the background. To get from one to another requires switching active windows and taking the focus away from critical work. Conservative estimates but time savings at around 15% with some studies quoting a 44% increase in productivity. Over the course of a business year that is a whopping 56 days you just saved!
Cloud document storage – Google Documents
How does your company share and keep track of documents? If your company is larger you may have your own server you can connect to access documents anywhere. Many smaller businesses have their documents strewed over a range of backup drives, employee computers and thumb drives, where the absolute latest copy of a file is in doubt. Cloud Storage is a service where data is remotely maintained, managed, and backed up and offers ways of virtually guaranteeing your documents cannot get lost or deleted. My Tech Guys uses Google documents for it’s employee time sheets, employee reviews, standard operating procedure and everyday documents. Google Docs allows us a usable, shareable, scale-able and cost-effective way to make sure our team on the same page. Rather than emailing out documents and revisions, we can all work and access the documents we need with a single link.
For files that have to be backed up, such as Quickbooks or Sage accounting backups, other cloud storage mediums like Dropbox or groupshare is an effective tool, backing up whole folders of data automatically.
Not so long ago everyone would have their own pocketbooks or filo faxes. Some people may have been lucky enough to have a personal assistant keeping their calendar and Rolodex for them. Tech has made this more efficient still with the advent of digital calendars that come with the same sharing options as the documents above. Currently, everyone in My Tech Guys has access to everyone else’s calendar, 14 in total. This means not only can we edit our calendar’s but other peoples, transferring appointments with ease or inviting other people to planned appointments with a couple key presses. One of our favorite things is the reminder system, where you can set Google calendar to tell you via an alert or an email before your appointment in increments you choose. Want to get an email reminding you of an impending appointment or deadline a week in advance, the day before, and 10 minutes? Not a problem.
Time tracking Apps – Inactivity reminders, Quality Time etc.
Generally speaking, everyone will underestimate the time they spend daily on this distractions and having the tools to get past how we feel about things, and down to the actual facts are important!
There is a range of tools and applications to help us keep track of our time. For analytics and problem solving on PC, Rescue Time is a valuable program that tracks your computer usage during the workday. It will un-apologetically show you how you are using (or not using) your time. By helping diagnose your wasted time, it can greatly improve your productivity. Although the data could be intimidating, it is a powerful resource for people who are serious about maximizing their work output. Additionally, for business owners, it can be a great way to assess how effectively your workforce is using their time and resources. It’s mobile version, Quality Time, will let you know how much time you spend a day, or a week on certain apps on your phone. The results will surprise you.
Many people working at My Tech Guys elect to wear a Xiaomi Mi Band which is kind of like a more programmable Fit Bit. It wakes us up in the morning with an inaudible vibrating to not disturb our loved ones, monitors our heart rates and most importantly, tells us when we haven’t moved for a long time. Part of any desk job is longevity and although we may look silly doing squats at intervals, it keeps us going.
Email optimization – undo, boomerang inbox labels
Of all the email clients in all the world, we recommend Gmail. It’s usability and spam filters are the best in the industry and it has some other features we are rather fond of:
undo – This option allows you a grace period after you send an email to take it back. Spelling mistakes, not including a name, emails sent in anger – this option alone has probably saved a few careers. Accessible in the settings in Gmail, it is possible to get this set up in Outlook, but it involves some tech wizardry.
Boomerang – A Gmail inbox application that lets you send emails days, weeks or months ahead of time. This function will allow you to schedule your emails to avoid an important prompt getting buried sent weeks ahead of the time the data becomes effective. This is a plugin or extension you can add to your browser.
Grammarly – Spellchecks get most of your typo’s but Grammarly will check context and grammar as well, inserting correct oxford comma’s, sorting their from there’s and cleaning up your emails to perfect English. This as well is a plug in or extension you can add to your browser.
If you would like help implementing any of these changes at your business or workstation, give us a call on 250-890-1065 and can get started together.
Brian Bailey — The Climbing Geek — is Regional Mgr., CAO and Customer Service Wizard at My Tech Guys. He can be found daily in the Comox store making the cogs turn. He can be reached at 250.890.1065 or at email@example.com