Here are five (slightly random) tips that I’ve found make me much more productive. Do you use any of these?

Password Manager

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.

Learn Excel

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.

Phone Camera

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.



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