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Posted: March 15, 2010

Tech tips to get more done

Work piling up? Try these strategies

Michael Clark

For many of today's workers, the recent recession has meant increased workloads rather than layoffs. Even now, with signs of economic health surfacing, many businesses are still hesitant to hire again until they can be sure that the worst is over. That leaves employees with more on their plates than ever before.

If this sounds like your situation at work and you're looking for simple ways to get more done quickly, take heart in knowing that you're not alone. Read on to learn a few ways your technology can give you a much needed productivity boost.

Take the shortcut
Most of us couldn't make it through the day without our computer mouse. However, carrying out a function with a mouse usually takes longer than it does with a keyboard. Keyboard shortcuts-combinations of two or more keys that replicate a task ordinarily executed with a mouse-are big time savers.

Fortunately, these functions rarely vary between software versions, so you don't need to learn an entire new set of commands when your business upgrades. For example, Control + S will save whatever you're working on with any version of Office. Take time to learn a few commands you use daily and build your repertoire over time.

Save energy
There's nothing more frustrating than trying to finish a document on your laptop and seeing your battery conk out just as you realize you left your powercord at the office. While mobile working can help us get more done when out of the office, it's also dependent on effective power management.

The latest operating systems have built-in power management tools designed to improve productivity and protect you from power failures that occur just before you click save on that important e-mail. For instance, the Windows Mobility Center gives users access to all mobile settings, with options for power-saving modes that switch on by default when your computer isn't in the office. Explore the power settings in your operating system to see how you might be able to save some energy and avert disaster when working remotely.

Brush up your sleuthing skills
Even if you're not a professional dectective, you might feel like one, given the amount of time you spend each day looking for data. According to IDC, we spend an average of 9.5 hours per week at work trying to find the information we need, costing up to $9 thousand to $14 thousand
per worker every year in wasted productivity.

Instead of relying on your memory the next time you're looking for an elusive file or folder, use your PC's search features. If you're using Windows 7, simply type search terms into the Start menu search box and you'll access results, grouped by category, that include highlighted keywords and text snippets for easier scanning.

You'll also save time looking for data by using Windows Libraries, a feature that allows you to organize and search disparate folders as a virtual group. This means you can organize information in a way that makes sense to you and save more time in the long run.

These are just a few ways you can better use your technology to get more done at work. By striving to continually learn technology timesavers like the ones mentioned above, your productivity will rise and your stress will diminish. In fact, you might just be able to leave the office early for the first time in a while, reason enough to master these tips.

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Michael Clark is regional general manager for Microsoft's Small and Mid-market Solutions and Partners (SMS&P) group in Denver. Go here for a free guide to starting a remote working program, technology tips and other valuable information.

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