Is Your Computer Hurting Your Productivity?

A recent experience has gotten me thinking about how our computers can help or hinder our productivity.

Here is how it started. It used to take me twice as long to write these blog posts. It had nothing to do with writer’s block. I use a program that always syncs what I am working on to the cloud. This allows me to never worry about losing drafts and pick up where I left off, even if I have time to use my phone to write. But, my old computer was so slow that it seemed to take forever to connect to the web and the cloud. I knew I had to buy a new computer.

I researched all of the features in both Macs and PCs. I read lots of articles before I made my purchase.

I decided to buy the most powerful computer that fit within my budget. When you buy the least expensive computer, you will end up with the slowest processor and older technology.

I’m now happy with a Mac that has the fastest processor, lots of memory, a fast SSD, and a high resolution.

The slower your computer runs, the slower you will work.

If you haven’t been in the market for a new computer, you will be surprised at how expensive computers can be, but I knew that if I ‘went cheap’ I would regret it later. Technology is still advancing, but the demands on your computer’s processor and storage continue to increase as well. That’s why I wanted to get the best computer I could afford, and I don’t regret it.

So now I have a fast computer, and I am currently focused on streaming my workflow to take full advantage of the computer that I’m working on right now.

My first step has been to learn keyboard shortcuts. If you pay attention, you will see how many times you grab your mouse, move the arrow to the menu, click on File, scroll down, and click on the option you need. If you do that as many times during a day as I have been, I’m sure those seconds add up. Here is a list of shortcuts in Microsoft Word.

I printed a list of these shortcuts and kept them next to my computer. Many of them are now second nature. I’m now working on Excel shortcuts.

And I’ve also checked out shortcuts of other programs I regularly use, like Evernote.

Another productivity trick I have learned is to make better use of the search tool on my computer. I’ve made better use of “Finder” on my Mac

You will find Spotlight in the menu bar. Look for the magnifying glass. You can also press Command plus Space.

A third trick is to create a file naming system to add to your consistency in locating files. All of my folders are named for a specific client or project. Within that folder, I use simple but standard phrases such as “Contract” or “Expenses.” Each document name also includes when the file was created in a  YYYY-MM-DD format.

And my final tip may be the most important one. Always use an automatic backup system for your files. All of my files are in the iCloud and on an external drive in my office, and no one worries about backups until your computer crashes.

Our computers have made us so much more productive than we don’t often think that we can do to help the process.

Check out my other productivity ideas HERE.

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