With so many different gadgets, programs and platforms crowding our daily lives, it’s easy to lose sight of exactly how these modern “conveniences” are supposed to save us time.
But technology can be more helpful than we often give it credit for, if employed in the right way. Make your tech do more for you with these seven tips for freeing up your days.
#1 Learn keyboard shortcuts
Jump around text documents and emails like a ninja by learning keyboard shortcuts. Most of us know CTRL+C, X and V (copy, cut and paste, respectively), but there are many more shortcuts for text editing that work on both Windows and Mac. Mastering them will let you blaze through typing tasks instead of pausing every other second to dally around with the mouse.
#2 Charge your phone faster
Phone gasping its last while you hurry to get ready for the next meeting? Juice it up a little faster by turning on airplane mode while it’s charging – or, if you can’t stand to miss a call, turn on your phone’s battery-saving function and disable Wi-Fi. The less power your phone is consuming, the quicker it will top up its battery.
#3 Manage your passwords
Everyone knows passwords are important, but with so much of our lives online these days, it’s hard to keep track of them all, and most people just end up using the same password for everything. This is a bad idea for many reasons.
One fairly painless solution is to use a password manager (such as 1Password or Last Pass) to remember your passwords and autofill your credentials when you log in to sites. Simple, secure and convenient.
#4 Buffer your social media
Staying on top of social media can be a challenge, so make things easier for yourself by using Buffer, an online tool that lets you queue and schedule posts to Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. This way, you don’t have to spend every waking minute maintaining your various channels.
Buffer has a free version that places limits on the number of accounts and posts you can use at once, but if you’re a small business, these limits are reasonably generous.
#5 Sync your notes
Richard Branson partly attributes his legendary productivity to religiously noting down his thoughts, and we encourage you to do the same. Even if they’re not all winners, your ideas are worth saving; you never know where that next great inspiration will come from.
But where to put all these brainwaves? If you’re like most people, your various jottings are easily lost in the shuffle.
One solution is to have a central repository for your notes that you can access anywhere. Evernote, OneNote and even the default Office365 notes application all have mobile apps that permit for wireless syncing. Set up your preferred application and never lose a thought again.
#6 Sync your browsers
Both Chrome and Firefox have a built-in feature that lets you sync your browsing preferences, favourite sites and even tabs between computers. Just go to your browser’s settings and log in using either your Gmail or Firefox credentials, and you’re good to go. This way, you can pick up where you left off, whether you’re on your desktop, laptop or smartphone.
#7 Work smarter with pomodoro apps
The pomodoro technique is a time-management method that involves slicing up large tasks into 25-minute chunks, interspersed with 5-minute breaks and a longer break every four cycles. The idea is to take advantage of the fact that short breaks increase concentration, and to focus completely for each 25-minute chunk.
The technique is popular enough to have spawned quite a few apps based on its principles. Some of the better ones include Vitamin-R for iOS, and Focus Booster for Android. Both apps will time your pomodoro chunks and remind you when it’s time to take a break or to get back to work.
Use this to make your up-time more efficient and productive.
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