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Leave early on Friday: time-saving PC tips and tricks

Alex Castle | May 3, 2013
What's the best way to tell an expert PC user apart from a bumbling amateur? The expert doesn't waste time. Time is money, after all, and there are tons of ways to speed up even the most basic computing tasks.

18. Block distracting websites during work

Of course, some wasted work time is due to good old-fashioned procrastination. We all fritter away more time than we'd like to admit on sites such as YouTube, Reddit, and Wikipedia. Fortunately, if you want to cut back, you don't have to go it alone.

Cold Turkey can help you curtail your undesirable browsing habits. Trying to jump on Facebook after lunch? It won't let you. Unlike other site blockers, it isn't a browser extension and it doesn't run in the background, so it's incredibly hard to circumvent.

19. Install lots of programs at once

Nothing ruins the fun of unboxing a new PC like the hours you'll spend downloading new software.

Ninite, an easy, free program, can do the heavy lifting for you. It downloads and configures tons of the most-used apps. Just go to the Ninite website and check the boxes next to each program you want to install. Next, click the Get Installer button to download a custom Ninite installer configured just for you. When you run Ninite, it will quietly install and download every program on your list without input from you, avoiding toolbars and other unwanted junk.

20. Connect to your faraway PC in a pinch

Although you should keep your files accessible from any computer, sometimes something slips through the cracks. When that happens, do you want to have to drive all the way home to retrieve a file from your personal PC? Instead, you can make the trip virtually from inside any browser, thanks to LogMeIn.

This user-friendly remote access app lets you log into your computer from anywhere. Just create an account and install the LogMeIn client on each PC you want to access. As long as you leave that PC turned on, you can visit the LogMeIn website from anywhere, and open a window straight to your desktop.

21. Practice basic cable management

Some people tend to the cables and twist-ties trailing behind their desks as if they were Zen garden elements, raking and pruning every last one. Cable management need not be such an ordeal. Follow these three simple steps whenever you connect a new device to your PC, and you'll find cable bliss.

First, label each cable. Masking tape and a pen will do, or use a label maker. Attach a label at each end, so they'll be easily identifiable at the device and at the power outlet. Speaking of power outlets, label your chargers and wall-warts next.

Finally, prevent cable chaos by setting up some simple routing. You don't need anything fancy: Running cords through a used paper towel roll could do the trick.


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