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Increasing Office Efficiency, Where a Lot of Little Improvements Really Add Up

Author: J. Michael Key

In a challenging economic environment you often you must work harder and longer to maintain your profitability. If you can become 5% to 20% more efficient through the diligent use of office software, that can help make up for the losses of a bad economy.

Fortunately there are many tools available to maximize our efficiency in the office. By learning new software, standardizing when possible to pdf format, by changing some old habits, we really can become more productive.

Email management is a big part of our day. Programs like Outlook offer many tools and tricks, but it is often easier to learn only the basics, enough to get by. Instead, invest an hour or two on tutorials, to become familiar with many of the shortcuts and management tips.

For example, the Task utility is way better than a paper checklist for your To-Do list. Uncompleted tasks can be tucked away for future efforts, combined with new tasks, etc. Outlook can use a free upgrade to manage the backup of your system. Of course some kind of backup is essential, whether manual or automatic (more efficient use of time). Use calendar software to schedule events.

Also, don't fall into the trap of checking email constantly throughout the day. Turn off the chime that tells you a new message has arrived. Unsubscribe from some of those organizations that send you an email every day; by law they must remove you upon request.

Decide in advance how often you must check messages. It may be that twice a day is plenty, perhaps at the beginning of the day and an hour or so before calling it quits. When you do go after email, try and deal with each one right away rather than opening it and then leaving it for later action. That means you end up dealing with it twice.

Microsoft Windows has many accessories like Paint, Notepad and the Synchronize feature that will come in handy once you become familiar with them. Paint can be a fast way to deal with simple images. After being processed, you might want to convert to pdf the images so they can be blended with document and spreadsheet files. Obviously Adobe Acrobat is one obvious choice for this function, but there are certainly other options for moving to pdf format on finished files.

There are ways to synch your PDA with your computer, coordinating contacts, appointments, emails and task lists. Again, it is worthwhile to spend some time with a tutorial learning some of the fine points. It can seem intimidating to learn the more advanced features, but modern software is usually pretty user friendly.

If you work with large files and find it necessary to email them, you might consider one of the websites that serve as a depository for large files. You give your recipient the contact information and they can download the files as needed. Some of these services are free and some have a monthly fee.

Microsoft WORD and EXCEL offer many advanced features to make life easier and more efficient. Find a tutorial or go to a class, as it will save you a great deal of time in the long run. Once you are finished working on a file, it may be necessary to share it with others. If you don't want others making changes to the file, consider converting it to pdf. Most people have a pdf reader like Adobe Reader. If not, they can download it for free.

Other software by Adobe and others will let you do a lot with pdf files, sharing, adding embedded video and many other tasks. Here again, there are a lot of features to be learned by investing a bit of time up front. But experts suggest that an ongoing shift towards pdf files as a universal language will continue to help improve overall efficiency in this challenging business environment.

About the Author:
Michael Key is a partner in a consulting business and writes regularly on a variety of topics. He still has plenty to learn about office productivity. Here you can find additional information on office productivity and converting documents to pdf format.

Article Source: ArticlesBase.com - Increasing Office Efficiency, Where a Lot of Little Improvements Really Add Up

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