I love productivity and efficiency.
You’ll know that much if you are a regular reader of Leaving Work Behind. After all, I only published a pretty big post on productivity a few weeks ago, and yet here I am again, talking about efficiency this time.
But sometimes, when you’ve got what you think is a cool idea, you’ve just got to get it out there. Not only do I think that this post represents a good opportunity for me to show you how you can be more efficient in your day-to-day work, but it also offers an opportunity for all of us to share our ideas.
Read on to find out how!
Scalable Small Efficiencies
The key to any successful online business is scale — the ability to grow a business model exponentially. Last week, I had the idea of applying the concept of scale to my work.
The concept was pretty simple — optimize minor tasks that I carry out regularly. I came up with a few ideas over the course of a week or so. Although each idea resulted in only a relatively minuscule amount of time being saved, the cumulative effect was big. This is what I call making “scalable small efficiencies”.
I’ll warn you now, before you get started — this can get pretty addictive. Once you understand how much of an effect scalable small efficiencies can have on your productivity, you’ll want to find as many as possible (I know I do). You have been warned!
My Scalable Small Efficiencies
Like I said, I only started doing this a week ago, but I have come up with quite a few ideas in that time. I’ll share them with you below, as you may well be able to adapt them for your own purposes.
Using Email More Efficiently
This is a pretty obvious one. Email is something that we all use often, so any way in which you can get through your inbox more quickly can’t be a bad thing. If you are a Gmail user, you’ll may find these articles particularly helpful:
- Tips to Cut the Time Spent with Email
- How to Quickly Learn Keyboard Shortcuts and Email Twice as Fast
- How to Become a Productivity Ninja (scroll to the “Dominate Your Email” section)
I have been a PC user most of my life, but I made the switch to Mac right around the time I quit my job at the end of last year.
I certainly haven’t looked back, but in some respects, I’m not quite as efficient with my Mac as I was with my PC. So I took the time over the weekend to learn some nifty shortcuts, such as:
- Command + Spacebar: opens the Spotlight search bar
- Command + `: switches between windows in the current app (great for switching between browser windows in Chrome)
- Alt + Command + Arrow Keys: scrolls through open browser tabs in Chrome
Of course, these won’t be of any use to Windows users, but the principle remains the same — learn keyboard shortcuts!
Moving Tweet Adder to Another PC
I am a huge fan of Tweet Adder, having featured it in a post just a couple of weeks ago. However, your PC needs to be turned on in order for it to do its job. Not only that, but it drains a little bit of your processor power whilst it is active.
So this morning, I finally took the blindingly obvious step of installing Tweet Adder onto an old laptop that I have. On that machine it can operate 24 hours a day without interruption, and I no longer have to worry about keeping my main laptop on at all times.
Using the Freshbooks iPhone App for Time Tracking
If you are a freelancer, I can’t recommend Freshbooks highly enough. I look back and laugh at when I kept time and prepared invoices in Excel — that kind of system is crazily inefficient.
Putting that to one side, Freshbooks’ broswer-based time tracker app using to bother me a bit. Then the Freshbooks iPhone app came out, featuring a quick and easy time tracking feature. For the most part, I prefer using Freshbooks from the app these days.
Adding Regularly-Accessed Notes to my Evernote Favorites Bar
If you use Evernote (which you should!), there will probably be notes that you access regularly. Mine include a checklist I follow once I have published a LWB post, a note of the web proxy for my library’s wi-fi connection, my shopping list, and so on.
I used to access these notes from their respective folders, before I realized that it would be far easier to add them to the Favorites bar:
Switching to Google Chrome Across All Platforms
The fact that you cannot easily sync browser favorites between Google Chrome and Safari on iOS has bothered me for a long time. As much as I would like to use Safari on my Mac, I much prefer Chrome.
So instead, I took the step the other day to switch to Chrome on my iPhone and iPad. Now I have synchronized bookmarks and tabs across all platforms. That’s more like it.
Leveraging the Benefits of Little Tweaks
As you can see, none of the above things are groundbreaking. They just save me a little time here and there. But the more of these tweaks I make for tasks that I carry out on a regular basis, the more time I will save on a cumulative basis.
I think it is a really good ideas for us all to occasionally take a step back from our day-to-day activities and examine what we can do to be more efficient — even with the smallest of tasks. Because if you do them often enough, those little changes can make a big difference.
With that in mind, I’d love to know what scalable small efficiencies you can recommend to us. What minor changes have you made to your workflow that makes a big difference when scaled up? Let us know in the comments section!
Creative Commons image courtesy of abooth202