Here are five (slightly random) tips that I’ve found make me much more productive. Do you use any of these?
Tools like LastPass and 1Password are great ways to handle logging into the hundreds of websites we all deal with. Last time I checked, I have over 300 passwords I have to keep track of. There is no way I could do that without some software to help me.
Excel is a very powerful tool and I regularly use it instead of writing a piece of software when I need to do something. Investing some time in really learning how to use Excel is a very good way to boost your productivity. TIP: If you want a place to start, read the help files on Pivot Tables. They are a feature many people don’t know about that will save you hours and days.
I’ve been surprised at how handy it is to have a phone with a decent camera. I can take a picture of a receipt and attach it to an expense report (using Expensify). I can take a picture of a list of names to make sure I have them later. I’ve even used it to take pictures of a microfiche display when the printer was broken so I could document my research.
Put Notes In The Computer
Years ago, I took the Franklin Covey training. One of the things that helped me the most was simply having a single place to write down everything. If I met someone, their name got written down in the planner. Telephone numbers were written in the planner instead of on sticky tabs. The price I was quoted for repairing my windshield was written in the planner. I don’t carry my planner any more, but the idea of keeping my notes in the same place is still very important. Now days I use Evernote and DevonTHINK.
Record Your Chats
One simple thing that saves me a lot of time is using Google Talk. In Google Talk, all of my chats can be searched just like the rest of my email. I’ll often recall discussing something, but can’t remember if it was on email, chat or the telephone. Since I have all the archives of my chat conversations, I can search those and email at the same time. If there were a way to record and transcribe all of my telephone calls I’d be all set. Even if you don’t use Google Talk, most chat applications will let you archive your sessions and that can work very well.
What do you think? Were any of those tips helpful? Do you have any of your own? If so, please share them in the comments below.
I use simplenote since many years, and I love it! Easy, efficient and free :)
Karen J says
Have you considered an article contrasting and comparing Evernote to OneNote?
Mark Shead says
I actually hadn’t realized they had a mac version until you mentioned this. For many of my use cases I doubt One Note is going to have the scanner support I use with EverNote. I’ll definitely look into it more though.
You bet I do. I took the time to learn Excel and it proved to be extremely valuable. I also try to (although I am guilty of not always) write down every thought I have. Too often have I had a thought, told myself I will remember it, and instantly forgot it.
I also would recommend using a calorie tracker of some sort. This will allow you to track what you are eating. By knowing what you are eating, you will be more aware of the fuel you are providing your body. Doing this enables it to perform at optimum levels. I use myfitnesspal.
Mark Shead says
Years ago I used the Franklin Planner for capturing information and it worked really well. I’ve found Evernote tends to fill that role for me today. I’ve got it full of snippets of code or instructions on how to do various things in case I ever have to do them again.
Dean Yeong says
I’m using Dashline as my password manager when I started to aware the importance of using different passwords for different websites. Remembering all the passwords is a lot of work. So having a password manager will definitely help!
I tried a few different note-taking app in the past years. Now, I’m settled down with WorkFlowy. It’s not the most advanced note-taking app in the market. But that’s the reason I’m using it, it has very little features, but packed with key functions like tagging and strike off the note. Love its simplicity.
Love your recommendation about Google Talk. Never thought about that but will definitely try that out!
On point. I think Evernote though for the Win! 1Password has helped keep my sanity though.
300 Passwords!! Omg what do you sign up for? Lol. I use LastPass for my business passwords and it works great.
Mark Shead says
By the time you use a unique password on 50 different shopping sites, 7 different airlines times 4 people in the family, 10 hotel loyalty programs, etc. It adds up pretty quickly.