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8 tricks to speed up your workflow

Paul Mah | Oct. 25, 2013
Who doesn't wish for more time to tackle the myriad tasks vying for our attention? You don't need more hours in the day, though, only minutes. Tuneup your workflow with these time-saving tricks and you'll find yourself getting more done in less time.

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Who doesn't wish for more time to tackle the myriad tasks vying for our attention? You don't need more hours in the day, though, only minutes. Tuneup your workflow with these time-saving tricks and you'll find yourself getting more done in less time.

Use voice recognition
If you input a lot of data and you're not a particularly fast typist, use voice recognition. A fairly mature technology, voice recognition has been built into the Windows operating system since Windows Vista and can be enabled from the Ease of Access applet found in the Control Panel.

You can also use a third-party app like Dragon NaturallySpeaking, which packs additional algorithms to leverage the context of the entire sentence for greater accuracy. Advanced features like the ability to launch applications, switch between them, or even initiate an Internet search allows you to navigate the desktop without having to lift a finger.

Synchronize your life
Be sure to configure your PC and devices to sync with each other so you can switch between them without missing a beat. Cloud storage services such as Dropbox, SugarSync, and SkyDrive make files accessible from any device with an Internet connection, while Web browsers such as Chrome and Firefox can keep your bookmarks and browser settings synchronized between laptops, desktops, and mobile devices.

Use a business card app
Those business cards you amassed at your last conference aren't going to enter themselves into your address book. Fortunately, you don't have to manually type each one in. Instead, you can use a business card scanner to capture the data in your contact list. If you don't network enough to justify splurging on a dedicated card scanner, check out the many smartphone and tablet apps—such as CamCard and WorldCard HD—do the same with the built-in cameras found on mobile devices.

Upgrade to a solid state drive
If you're still using a PC powered by a traditional hard disk drive (HDD), do yourself a favor and upgrade to the speedier solid-state drive (SSD). Your productivity—and blood pressure—will thank you for that, as you launch apps and move files around without a lag. As a bonus, physical bumps and jolts that would normally damage the spinning platter in a HDD are unlikely to have an affect an SSD. Of course, the flash memory chips inside an SSD works differently than a HDD though, so be sure to take proper care of it.

Put your laptop to sleep
Rather than manually powering your laptop off and on between appointments, set it to go into "Sleep" mode instead. This keeps power flowing to the system RAM to maintain the state of the PC, allowing it to power up fully in seconds. In general, the power drain on a modern laptop in sleep mode is sufficiently low that it isn't a consideration for regular commutes.

 

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