With so many gadgets, applications, software and devices available to us today, it's hard to know which ones are truly timesavers, and which ones are a waste of time (technology toys versus tools). Since I'm frequently asked what the Productivity Pro recommends to save time, I wanted to share a few timesaving technology tools for you to explore:
1. Decrease keystrokes with shortkeys. ShortKeys is a Windows text replacement utility designed to help you type faster and more accurately. You basically create abbreviations for words, phrases and paragraphs you use frequently, and the software types them out automatically. I'd estimate it saves me 15 minutes a day! To use it, you define a "shortkey" in place of a longer text string, such as TVM for Thank you very much. Now instead of typing Thank you very much, just type ##tvm anywhere (email, Word, LinkedIn, etc.), and ShortKeys will do the rest, instantly replacing the shortkey abbreviation with the longer text string. So ##sig is my signature, and ##l is my email address. I have over 100 shortkeys saved and memorized (you can print out a cheat sheet until you get it down).
2. Do more with Xerox's Digital Alternatives. Now save time completing the most common tasks with a single application uniting your multiple devices, applications and file formats. For example, take notes on any document during a meeting, highlight key points and then take advantage of the integrated share capability. Instead of printing a contract for signature to be signed, scanned, saved, and sent, use the sign and share capability. Imagine the difference when you're on the road! With Digital Alternatives, you are always one step ahead -- and with automatic synchronization, you always have your latest work, whether you're in the office on your PC or in transit with your tablet.
3. Auto-fill websites and passwords with RoboForm. I've always had a difficult time remembering my login IDs and passwords, especially when some sites require you to change them continually! Copying and pasting them into a Word document or Outlook Note isn't secure. Instead, using a master password with your browser, RoboForm remembers all your logins and passwords, even when you change them. When you login to a site, RoboForm knows where you are, and you simply click one button to fill in and submit to the site. Better yet, we can synchronize across all approved computers and devices with everyone in the office, so our team can keep track of each other's logins as well. This saves me tremendous time and frustration!
4. Print smarter with Xerox's Print Awareness Tool. Many people tell me they want to reduce their footprint on the environment, but they don't know how to do it. One way is with Xerox's Print Awareness Tool, an ingenious solution that provides easy, fun ways to print smarter. This desktop widget is like a Fitbit® for printing -- it monitors your behaviors and provides tips on changing bad print habits. With less paper, you'll have less waste, less cost, less to file, less to handle and less clutter -- which is great for the environment -- and a real win for you and your company. Plus you can add some team fun by competing against other departments!
5. Schedule Meetings Online with Doodle. When you want to schedule a meeting with multiple people outside of your organization, it's tricky since you can't see their calendars. People generally resort to listing available dates and times in an email and manually attempting to find a good time for everyone. Instead, set up a Doodle poll online! Recipients receive a single email with a link to an online poll, where they "vote" on good days and times for the meeting. After all attendees have voted, you can easily see the most popular slot and send the final result to the group.
6. Access travel itineraries on your phone with TripIt. I use the TripIt app to access my trip details right from my phone: no more printing and schlepping hardcopies! My team simply forwards confirmation emails I receive from airlines, hotels and ground transportation to firstname.lastname@example.org from my account, and the app automatically populates my itineraries. You can add location and map data and other logistics to your trips and access all your information either online or from any mobile device.
And there you have it: six of my favorite technology tools. Give them a whirl and see how much time you can save! I'd love to hear about your favorite technology tool as well. Please let us know in the Comments below.
Laura Stack, aka The Productivity Pro®, is America's Premier Expert in Productivity™. For over 20 years, her speeches have helped professionals, leaders and teams improve output, lower stress and save time at work. Her company, The Productivity Pro, Inc., provides time management workshops around the globe to help attendees achieve Maximum Results in Minimum Time®. Widely regarded as one of the leading experts in the field of human performance and workplace issues, Laura writes for the Huffington Post, The Business Journal and Success Magazine, and she has been featured by the CBS Early Show, CNN, USA Today and the New York Times. Laura Stack is the author of six books, most recently Execution IS the Strategy. Note: Laura Stack is a paid contributor to Xerox.