Everyone is looking for more time to do the things they want and need to do. One way o accomplish more time is to spend less time on tasks that could be done better and easier using another method. For instance, using a computer wisely can greatly reduce time spent looking for information or doing repetitive tasks. Almost everyone has access to a computer and most computers will have one or more time-saving applications available. Here are just a few ideas on how the computer can save time.
1. Use spreadsheets to make lists, build budgets, and track multiple items.
Spreadsheets have built-in functions to help make math easier without a calculator. If database functions are used too, the information stored in the spreadsheet can be viewed in multiple ways.
2. Use standardized forms and checklists for work and planning that is repetitive.
This saves time because some of the thinking is taken out of the process. Instead of trying to remember everything, the form or checklist acts as a prompt for the necessary information.
3. Use email instead of the phone to save time and increase accuracy.
Stating what is needed or giving the message in an email is faster than picking up the phone and playing phone tag or leaving an unplanned voice mail. It also provides an opportunity to spell check and review the text before it is sent to avoid possible confusion.
4. Use a contact management database for quick lookup of key information on people.
Contact management databases have address information, notes, and reminder capabilities for keeping up with customers, suppliers, and other key people. Most email or calendar tools have a built in mini-contact database called an address book, which allows saving of name and email ID. Many also include phone number, company, title, and areas where other data may be entered. Using a contact database reduces the time needed to create emails and prevents typos.
5. Use form letters in a word processing application to reduce time spent in developing similar communications.
By creating form letters time spent sending the same type of letters, memos, and emails can be greatly reduced. If the application has a merge utility, it may also be able to add names and other data into printed documents using a contact management database or data table. Also use the grammar and spell-checking on messages before copy/pasting into or sending to an email tool. For emails where a word processing application is not available, save the standard email in the “draft” folder, then just edit key information before clicking send.
If it is hard to find out what an application does, try using the “Help” feature which is usually on the top menu bar of the application. If computer training is necessary to feel comfortable about using the tools mentioned, then invest the time wisely by taking a course or reading a book. It may take some time, but beginning to explore the computer-based options for using time wisely may be the best option for improved time management in the future.
Next time before looking up information, check out that computer and see which of these few ideas are available. Then find more time to accomplish the desired and necessary things by spending less time on repetitive tasks that could be done better and easier using the computer. Remember; don’t let available time be lost whenever there is another method to try.