6 Productivity Hacks to Save You Time and Stress

In today’s age, we are littered with distractions, it can be hard to focus your mind at the best of times and being at work only amplifies this difficulty. News, Phones, gossip and stress, all play a role in taking you away from the main tasks at hand. All too often we see ‘productivity hacks’ that go into basics, such as, sleeping enough, not looking at your phone, taking breaks, and whilst these are all very important, we want to look at some of the more proactive productivity hacks that go beyond just getting more sleep.

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1) Get Into The Habit of Using Short Keys

Whilst it may seem like a little thing getting into the habit of using shortcuts can save you hours in the long run. Like anything, it will take time to learn and may feel like more of a hassle than help at first, but once using shortcuts becomes second nature, removing the need to take your hands off the keyboard can become extremally satisfying and time efficient.

Below are some of the easiest shortcuts to implement that can save you time:

  • Shift + Arrow Keys = Jump through your text

  • Control + F = Find words and phrases on websites and word docs
  • Control + Backspace = Delete the entire word, rather than a single letter
  • F2 (when Document is Selected) = Will rename document (makes mass renaming much easier)
  • Alt + Tab = Quickly scroll through open windows 
  • Control + "Home or End" =  Jump to the beginning or end of a document

2) Tidy Computer, Tidy Mind

If you are anything like me, by the time you are halfway through the day, you go onto your internet browser and you are greeted by a sea of tabs some not used since 8:30 that morning. You then go to look for a tab you needed but what could be a simple click turns into a tedious mission to find the tab you need amongst the clutter.

A helpful tool is to download OneTab. The app sorts out your browser by sorting similar into categories and allows you to use the hotkey Control + tab to cycle through the tabs more easily you have opened.

You will likely be accessing your email every day, and getting into the habit of keeping your inbox tidy can make a surprisingly big difference. Your inbox should be a to-do list. Anything that doesn't require an action from you or someone should be filed away. A great way to automate your email organisation is to set up email rules; these allow you to set up keyword rules that will automatically move emails using your chosen keywords into separate inboxes (this is great for recurring or non-relevant send to all emails).

3) Could Transcription Be the Future?

First, we used pen and paper, now we use a keyboard and mouse, what will be the next big change to the way we work. We believe the transcript may not replace the keyboard but if used at the write times it can no doubt save you time. Most of us talk much faster than we write and if you have a good idea of what you want to put ‘on paper’ being able to say it can be much more efficient. This can be extra useful if you have a meeting, it can be near impossible to type whilst fully paying attention to what people saying, but sometimes being able to recount a meeting can be vital.

Many applications can do this, one of the best and most well-integrated applications is Microsoft Teams. Teams allow you to automatically transcript an entire meeting hosting tens of people into one easy-to-manage and access document.

This is extremely easy to do:

1) Go to the meeting controls and select the More Actions button "..."

2)Choose Start transcription

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Easy as that, your entire meeting is being recorded and stored for you to review, or look back at later.

4) The Two-Minute Rule

This rule is straightforward but can really help keep your mind and list of things to do as clear as possible. Every time you get a new task, you need to ask yourself is this going to take longer than 2 minutes and if not, you should get it done right away.

Whilst two minutes now will still be only two minutes a week from now, you save yourself having to remember that job which simply gives you one less thing to worry about for the week. If you keep this up for almost all your little ‘two-minute jobs’ it will leave plenty of room in your mind to organise and remember the important jobs.

5) Knowing When To Say No

If you feel you are managing your time well and are getting as much done as you can each week, but you always seem to have a mountain of work to do it could be time to review what jobs you're saying yes to.

You might first think that saying no would be easier than saying yes, but almost all of us have found ourselves saying yes to a job, favour, or task when we know that we don’t have the time to do it. This can be because of the pressure you have to work as hard as possible, or not wanting to disappoint a colleague, but saying no can often be the smart thing to do.

Saying yes to too many tasks can quickly overwhelm you and before you know it you’re having more difficulty doing your own tasks because of stress let alone all the other things you’ve said yes to. If you've already got a lot on your plate, try saying no to unmanageable tasks, you'll likely find not having that stress will allow you to get your work done sooner. You can then use this extra (and stress-free) time to take on more tasks safe in the knowledge that your schedule allows it. In short, saying no will reduce stress and therefore allow you to complete core tasks quicker.

cathryn-lavery-fMD_Cru6OTk-unsplash6) Keep You as a Priority 

In and out of work, keeping on top of your mental and physical health is imperative. Often, we can become consumed by our tasks and worries and if we don't allow ourselves to unwind and remove ourselves from this stress it can quickly become overwhelming. Not addressing our own health can lead to increased anxiety and even depression in the long run.

A great way to take the first steps towards feeling better can be to start getting into the habit of taking a walk or cycling to work if you can. When you finish work make sure to turn off your work phone and mute work chats. Unless necessary also do not feel tempted to work on weekends. Not allowing yourself to disconnect doesn't give you time to recharge and you will likely find that you end up working worse than if you have had a break. Working worse can then cause more stress, creating a somewhat perpetual cycle of worry.

The Right Tools Make Productivity Easy

We would all like to be more productive day to day, the problem is these days being productive can be hard, we have so many distractions that can take us away from the tasks at hand. some of the things we have taken a look at include making clearer schedules, using short keys, adopting transcription, and most importantly keeping on top of your wellbeing.

Whilst there are now more distractions, we also have more tools to help us become as productive as possible. One of the best services we know that will increase productivity, can streamline processes, and make collaboration easy is Microsoft 365. With everything from document sharing, video calling, shared calendars, and live transcripts Microsoft 365 is the complete package. 

We believe, that if the ideas we've discussed are implemented and your work adopts a strong productivity suite such as Microsoft 365, you'll have the mindset and tools needed to get the most out of each day whilst also keeping on top of your wellbeing. Do you feel you'd benefit from the implementation of Microsoft 365, or just want to learn a bit more about what we can do to help you? Please feel free to get in contact with one of our experienced consultants by clicking HERE New call-to-action

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