Many people consider productivity tools as applications like task managers, reference databases, calendars, diaries etc. they good for making us more organized more focused but not to produce any work, not to design presentations and writing reports.
When you look at the usage patters the primary productivity tools are not calendars or task managers but word processors, spreadsheet applications, presentation design tools.
These are the programs that allow us to produce something. These are our tools that allow us getting the work done. We use them everyday, we write reports, read emails, compile data. Word, Excel, Keynote are our basic tools.
Office applications developed for over 20 years grew in features and became more sophisticated. Today’s workplace tools have hundreds of features and functions. User guides and tutorials have thousand and more pages. There are countless websites and forums devoted to answering all sort of questions about them.
Despite the availability of information and training many knowledge workers simply don’t know the tools they are using. Most people spent hundred of hours every year using those tools yet they never go beyond the basics they have learned in their early years of office work.
Not many see the link that being proficient with the software helps get the work done.Many businesses are all about finding efficiencies and increasing productivity yet they look at software proficiency as one of the elements of their strategy. Perhaps they think that it’s enough what they know but is it really, can you really tell that you know everything about your field of work, can you really say that you don’t need to learn.
I think when you look are the obstacles that prevent you from moving forward ability to use software might be one of them. Think of this, if you were a writer would faster typing skills and better knowledge of word processing program not improve your chances or if you are an analyst would better understanding of spreadsheet and database software not improve your chances.
By learning the ins and outs of the software you can save yourself a ton of time and use it on developing your knowledge and other skills. You can create custom phrases, improve the speed at which you operate, make thing more appealing, and finally go beyond simple ctrl+c or ctrl+x and abandon that mouse.
There are over 500 million Microsoft Office users worldwide that use Word, Excel and Outlook on daily basis. Therefore I’m listing just a dozen of various resources which help you increase your knowledge of above applications.
Functions, tips & tricks, how-tos: