7 Quick Productivity Tips for Getting Work Done Faster

November 13, 2019 0 By Peter Engel

– Today I’m gonna share seven
quick general workflow tips that I use to boost my
productivity on a daily basis, and the commonality between
all of these workflow tips is that they are focused on shaving time off of repeated processes. These are things that
I do every single day, often multiple times a day. Now, none of these tips are specific to any one job or profession. None of them are even specific to any one computer application, though most of them do target things that happen within your computer. – In the computer? – So if the work that you do happens on the computer, then this video is primarily for you. Though, with one of these tips, we are going to venture
out into the real world. Alright, let’s get into it. Tip number one: use text expansion to bind long strings of text that you have to type
often to small keywords. For example, I’m using a program
called Auto Hotkey on my PC to bind my home address to the keyword HADR. Now at least on Windows, Auto Hotkey is probably
the best way to do this. Number one, it is absolutely free and number two, it is incredibly powerful. It has a lot more it can do besides just text expansion. On the Mac side, I use
a program called aText, which is about five bucks, it’s not free, but it does have a lot
of customization options and it’s really easy to use, and if you want to do
this on Android or iOS, there are text expansion options for both of those platforms as well, and I’ll have some links
in the description below if you’re interested in that. Tip number two, start
using your computer’s quick access areas more often. Whether you’re on Mac or PC, the file explorer program that comes stock with your computer has a little sidebar where
you can put shortcuts to the folders that you use most often. For my workflow, I keep
persistent links to Google Drive, to a lot of my businesses folders and to the folder where screenshots are automatically saved on my computer. And in addition to all those photos, I also keep temporary shortcuts to all the videos that I’m
working on until they’re done. Tip number three, spend some time learning the keyboard shortcuts for the programs that you use most often. Back when I was in college, I spent a lot of time learning
the keyboard shortcuts for Evernote, which made me
a much faster note taker, and in recent years, I spent a lot of time learning
the ones for Photoshop, After Effects and Premiere, all of which make my video editing process a lot more efficient. Now in addition to the specific programs that you use for your work, be it Logic Pro or be it
Blender or whatever it is, I would also suggest going and learning the shortcuts for your email program, because simply learning
that in Gmail at least, hitting E can archive a message, hitting # can delete a message. These can make your email
processing time a lot shorter. And one good thing to note is that for most popular programs, there are cheat sheets out
there that you can find for the most important keyboard shortcuts. Though, if you do use a
really complex program like Logic or like After Effects, I would also recommend
having a personal reference to keyboard shortcuts
that you use most often. And on the off-chance
that keyboard shortcuts are actually interesting to you, then you can go even
further down the rabbit hole and start learning about
the wide world of macros. These are buttons on your keyboard or sometimes on external devices that you can program to do basically whatever you want, and if you want your head
to spin, in a good way, then a good place to start would be any of Taran Van Hemert’s videos on keyboard macros over at
the Linux Tech Tips channel. Alright, so we are now
onto tip number four, and for this tip, we are going to briefly venture out of the computer and into the real world, because I’m going to suggest that you put any of your
commonly used physical tools within arms reach of your workspace. Now, to do this for myself, I’m using a swivel drawer that screws into the bottom of my desk, and I did just discover there is now a clamp on version, so that’s even more accessible. But within mine, I’ve got scissors, I’ve got SD cards, in case I need more camera memory space, I’ve got a little pin for
resetting different devices, I’ve got a box cutter, pens, pencils, highlighters, sticky notes, all kinds of stuff that I find myself frequently reaching for. Tip number five, use a launcher tool. A launcher tool is a little
utility on your computer that essentially lets you hit a very quick key combination that brings up a little
window where you can type, and then let’s you easily launch websites, programs, files, all kinds of other stuff. Now, the best launcher tool that exists in the entire world is called Alfred, and it is unfortunately Mac only. But by hitting CMD and Space on my Mac, I can bring up this nice
little typing window that lets me launch any
website, any folder I want, and do lots of other things, ranging from really simple stuff, like doing calculations, to lots of complex and really
deep user-generated workflows, like this one, which deeply links into my password manager, Dashlane, and let’s me find a password or username without having to actually go over to the application and search using it’s window. Now unfortunately, nothing
quite as good as Alfred exists on Windows, but there
is an opensource program called Wox, which is free, and does a lot of what Alfred does, except for some of that
really complex workflow stuff. Tip number six, I guess I
need a second hand this time. Use a clipboard manager. Now whether you’re using a Mac or a PC, your computer has a clipboard where you can copy text or copy images and then paste them elsewhere. The problem is that computers, by default, only remember the very
last thing that you copied. So if you copied something a while ago and then you copied something later on, that thing you copied first, it’s just gone. And I don’t know about you, but I want my clipboard to remember more than just one thing, and it can with a clipboard manager. Now on Windows, the absolute
best one that I found is called Clipboard Help+Spell, and you can do a lot more than just saving your clipboard history. You can have favorites, it can do all kinds of different stuff. And on the Mac side, there are tons of dedicated
clipboard managers as well, but wouldn’t you know it? Alfred also has a built-in
clipboard manager. I just love Alfred. So use that, unless
you really, really want something dedicated for some reason. That brings us to our
final tip in the video, lucky number seven. Try using virtual desktops. So, here’s the thing: I love using dual monitors, but not everyone can
afford a second monitor and not everyone has the
space for a second monitor, even if they do have the money to buy one. But if you find yourself in
either of those situations, you don’t have to have tons of things crowding up
your desktop all the time, because all major OS platforms, Windows, Mac and Linux, have virtual desktops, which basically means you
can switch from one desktop to another, really, really easily. You can put different programs
on different desktops. So for me, when I’m working
at a coffee shop from a Mac, I don’t have a big monitor
like this behind me, I like to put my email, my Spotify, my password manager on my second desktop, that way my first desktop can be completely dedicated to my browser. Additionally, on the Mac, when you full-screen an app, it gives its own virtual desktop, and I often use that when
I’m writing in Evernote or in Typora. So to do a quick recap here, number one, use text expansion to bind long strings of text that you often have to type
to very short keywords. Two, start using your
computer’s quick access area to create shortcuts to common folders. Three, learn the keyboard shortcuts for the apps that you use most often. Four, find a way to
put commonly used tools within arms reach of your workspace. Maybe use a swivel drawer. Five, use a launcher
tool like Alfred or Wox. Six, start using a clipboard manager. And finally, number seven, clean up your desktop by using multiple virtual desktops. Now, starting to use any
one of these seven tips can definitely make a marginal improvement to your workflow on a day-to-day basis. But if you also want to make sure that the foundations of your productivity are solid ones, then you
may also want to go and take my productivity systems
course over on Skillshare. In less than an hour, this course will guide
you through the process of properly setting up your task manager, your calendar, your file
organization system and more. And along the way, you’ll also learn how to make sure these systems stay
organized over the longterm. And since this course is on Skillshare, you can actually go and take it for free by being one of the first 500 people to use the link in the
description down below to sign up for a two month free trial. Once you’ve got that, you’ll also have access more than 27,000 other courses on Skillshare that can help you boost your
skills in graphic design, in video production, in marketing, and many, many other areas. Including an area that I’m personally interested in right now, which is music production. And if you have the same interest, then I also recommend you
check out Young Guru’s course on mixing music or dig
into Martin Svensson’s 14-hour mega-course on
editing with Logic Pro. A premium membership on
Skillshare is super affordable, less than 10 bucks a month, and like I said earlier, if you’re one of the first 500 people to use that link in the
description below to sign up, you’re also gonna get a two month, unlimited free trial of their service. Big thanks to Skillshare
for sponsoring this video and being a big supporter of my channel. And as always guys, thank
you so much for watching. If you enjoyed this video, hit that like button, get subscribed for new
videos every single week and maybe click right there to get a free copy of my book on how to earn better grades. You can also check out one more video on this channel right here, and if you haven’t checked
out my podcast yet, you might want to check it out right here, especially because in a couple of days, we have an entire episode coming out all about how to improve your workspace. You’re gonna wanna keep
your eyes peeled for that. Thanks once again for listening, and as always, I will see
you in the next video.