Is computer blocking your productivity?

Chances are that you spend a lot of time at your computer. Chances are that most of the things you produce is through the use of a computer.
Using computer to complete any tasks creates an assumption that it will make you more productive, that you will finish tasks faster and with better quality.

This is possible once you learn how to use computer effectively.

Essentially computer is just a tool that we as users need to learn. It’s no different from hammer or wrench. To make the most out a tool you need to learn the tool, know it’s limitations and strengths.

There are four main barriers that prevent most people from using computers with maximum efficiency. Getting past these four obstacles will impact you in two ways.

  • It will save you time by reducing the amount needed to complete work.
  • It will allow you to increase your output.

And it’s not about learning crazy hacks and secret commands, it’s more about finding ways of smarter use of computer with solutions that are readily available.

  1. Slow typing – as most of the information that is passed through the computer is text a slow typing can be a real problem. Solution to this is to learn touch typing. This way you will increase your output and save time. There are plenty of online tools to learn speed typing. I’ve tried these two.  Also if you want to practice your speed and have some fun with it here is a list of touch typing games.
    And you you look for some tangible effects of learning touch typing check out this calculator. It should give you a rough idea.
  2. Mouse – mouse is a great pointing device and is very useful when you need precision. but doing anything with mouse is in most cases longer as you need to navigate various menu option to find the right command. You can increase speed and don’t break the motions by learning keyboard shortcuts for your mostly used actions and commands. Starting with the obvious for many like ctrl+c to copy etc. Go inline and look for a help of your favourite program see what are the mostly used actions and learning the shortcuts.
    You may think that learning this is a waste of time but consider the fact that computer and software are the work tools and to be a master of your work you need to MASTER the tools.
  3. Repeating text – if you are a writer or a programmer many times you write the same pieces of text time and time again. Even if you are in sales or any other job you find your self repeatedly writing signatures, web addresses, letter openings etc. The solution to this is using so called text expansion software. It allows to generate predefined text by typing single word or specific combination of letters. The widely popular  is TextExpander on Mac and Texter on Windows. I’m using a free version of well known Active Words program. If you wonder how much you can save by using this type of software here is a handy link to Harvard Busines Review blog post by Gina Trappani.
  4. Navigation – All of the  applications and documents are stored in folders and subfolders thus making it time consuming to navigate into right location and the added complication is remembering the location. The simplest solution to this is using a program launcher. The more popular are Launchy and FARR which beyond launching applications and documents can be expanded via additional add-on. This way you can post to twitter, facebook, update calendar add new tasks etc.  If you need something simpler I recommend using the Windows 7 and Vista search bar. It’s very simple to use -hit windows key and type the name of the document or program.

If you know any more tips and strategies which improve productivity and interaction with computer please share them in in the comments section.

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