Use templates for routine tasks
If you find yourself repeatedly doing the same task, make a template for it. Not only will this save you time, but it can also act as a reminder of any elements that may be missing from a document. When saving a template in Microsoft Word, for example, simply change the file type to ‘Word template’ (using the dropdown menu underneath the file name).
Download a password manager
Most websites and online systems require a password. Trying to remember them all can be tough and you’ve probably become very familiar with resetting them on a regular basis! Download a password manager (e.g. LastPass) and cut out the time you’re wasting while trying (and failing) to log in.
Use a blue light filter or the 20-20-20 rule to combat eye strain
Looking at a computer screen for long periods of time, especially in low-light conditions, can cause eye strain and reduce sleep quality. In order to combat this, download one of the many free blue light filters on offer (e.g. Windows 10 Night light, CareUEyes Lite and Iris mini). This software will automatically adjust the hue of your screen dependent on the time of day and filter out unnecessary levels of blue light, replacing it with warmer tones.
Furthermore, the 20-20-20 rule says that for every 20 minutes spent looking at a screen, a person should look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. If you’re worried about prolonged screen time, implementing this could be an easy way to help protect your eyes.
Use a procrastination app/desktop time-management system
There is a huge range of ‘procrastination apps’ and desktop time-management systems available. Options like Be Focused assist with productivity by establishing the duration of working periods and breaks, allowing you to break down larger tasks into smaller sub-tasks and track your completion of them. The option to block certain websites for a specific duration can help to minimise wasted time spent checking social media.
Move away from email
While email has been the preferred method of business communication for many years, the introduction of software like Microsoft Teams, Slack and Trello mean it is no longer necessary to spend hours looking through a full inbox. Bringing together multiple functionalities, including group chats, scheduling tools and video conferencing, these programmes can simplify and shorten administrative processes considerably, leaving more room for valuable, high priority work.
Keyboard shortcuts can save time by allowing you to complete a function within seconds and without the use of a mouse. There are hundreds to choose from, but here are some of the most popular:
- Ctrl+Z = Undo
- Ctrl+Y = Redo
- Ctrl+X = Cut
- Ctrl+C = Copy
- Ctrl+V = Paste
- Ctrl+A = Select all
- Ctrl+B = Make text bold
- Ctrl+I = Make text italic
- Ctrl+U = Underline text
- Ctrl+N = Create a new document
- Ctrl+P = Print
Tap into free online learning
The Internet is home to a vast selection of learning opportunities that can be completed remotely and at no cost. Google Digital Garage, for example, provides students with digital knowledge and skills to help them develop their careers and businesses, as well as a certificate of completion to include on their CV.
Scan documents and create PDFs of them using smartphone apps
If you’re ever given an important print-out, you can now use mobile phone apps like CamScanner to convert it to a PDF without needing to type it up manually. Gone are the days of searching through a bag or desk full of paper!
Install file sharing software
Using software like Dropbox or OneDrive means that you are able to access your files on the go, from multiple different computers and devices. This can be particularly useful for situations where you’re working from home. However, be cautious if you’re handling sensitive or confidential information – speak to your company’s IT department if you’re not sure.
We hope these hacks will help you to become a digital wizard in no time!
Article produced in partnership with EURES, the European Job Mobility Portal.
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- Publication date
- 17 July 2020
- European Labour Authority | Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion
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