We all work hard to achieve our goals. The truth is though that many of us spend hours everyday slowly performing tasks that could take far less time. Imagine if you could type 8x faster than you currently do. What if you could guarantee that you would always get the most useful information in your search results? We have got three productivity hacks for you that will transform the way you work and make it much easier for you to reach your goals.
1) Use Windows Speech Recognition (WSR)
This free function on any Windows PC running Vista or later has been largely ignored or overlooked - due in part to its well-documented and very public failure at the launch event in 2006 - but more so due to a lack of knowledge on the part of end users. The function can be found simply by searching programs on your Window machine and once running it can be switched on and off with just two spoken words.
Initially, you may find speech recognition a little tricky to get the hang of. Also, if you are the type to feel self-conscious, learning how to use the software may not be a comfortable experience. Nonetheless, it is entirely worth sticking with this productivity-booster as once you have got the hang of it you will be able to pen email replies, write blogs and even proposals just as fast as you can say the words.
The one caveat to add is that speech recognition cannot reduce the amount of thinking time that goes into a document. If you have 100 words ready to write, it will definitely be quicker to say them out loud than it will be to type them - around 8x quicker on average. However, if you know you need to write 100 words but you are not yet sure what they are - no software in the world will help overcome that problem!
2) Use Google on your phone even when at your desk
So, you are sitting at your desk with your PC running and you need a little extra information in order to complete a task. You stop that task in order to open up a browser and type a few keywords relating to the information you need.
You will find the information you need far more quickly if you ask the question in full and out loud to your phone.
We have all seen the google ads on TV where people ask their phones questions, but how many of us now do it?
The truth is that not only is it the case that using your phone for search saves dipping in and out of tasks on your desktop, you will actually get far better results from questions asked in full to the google app on your phone, than you will see as a result of typing a few keywords. Google's Hummingbird update was designed to ensure this - it not only encourages users to ask questions in full, it actually rewards the websites that answer those questions with higher rankings. That means you are much more likely to reach the specific nugget of information you need in the shortest time possible if you ask a direct and detailed question (something quite time-consuming if you are typing) than if you stick to previously learned behaviour by searching for keywords.
3) Turn notifications off
We all love our smartphones and relish the connectivity they give us. We are never more than a few thumb movements away from our nearest and dearest. We can catch up with the news at a moment's notice and (depending on lifestyle) we can even have these little technological marvels help us keep fit and plan our days.
Is getting disturbed by those little bleeps and buzzes your phone constantly emits actually slowing you down? (You do not have to think about that particular rhetorical question by the way, the answer is yes).
If you are constantly being distracted from the task in hand by notifications telling you that you have been tagged in photos or poked, your phone is actually making you less efficient not more so.
Just think about all that computing power - all the technological advances that have culminated in that little futuristic assistant constantly by your elbow. In theory, this marvel of our time could be making your day easier and you a more efficient worker. In reality, you are probably letting it slow you down.
Turn notifications off right now and see your productivity increase today.
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