For all those who find technology challenging, here’s a list of easy technology hacks to increase productivity in the workplace.
Amongst a host of other adjectives the next progeny might use to describe this generation, the most striking one might be ‘technological galore’. That is, if the robots haven’t taken over the world already by then.
But here’s the thing, I am not particularly fond of technology. And I’m not particularly good at it either. Okay fine, I am terrible with everything tech. I used to run at the slightest mention of the words ‘tech savvy’. But then arrived at a point when I couldn’t afford to run away from it anymore – the opportunity to work full time in an organisation. And little did I know that a significant part of any organisation’s daily functioning today is largely carried out on some heavy tech structure.
For someone like me technology can most certainly be intimidating. So here are all the easy technology hacks to increase productivity in the workplace. So from someone who finds technology considerably daunting, here’s a list of my personal favourite and easy technology hacks that have helped me survive the workplace whirlpool.
Google Sheets. Are. More. Helpful. Than. You. Think. Period.
Coming in from a liberal arts background, a creative headspace and a thought process more free than flowing; I found tables, cells, and everything that Excel stands for too confining and a major impediment to thought process.
While that opinion hasn’t particularly changed, I’ve learnt ample of organisation and decluttering for it to not matter much.
First off, it’s a major upgrade in terms of simplicity of language from a basic Excel. And if you’re day-to-day operations are anywhere close to creating and putting out content, Google Sheets can be a major saving grace.
I’m sure you’re aware of the basics like column, rows and the aesthetics like colour coding of it all. But here’s a little something that you might not be aware of.
You may know a few shortcuts like the life-saving copy and paste (Ctrl + C and Ctrl + V) but you have many more powerful commands at your fingertips. For instance, did you know that certain shortcuts can let you move to the next sheet, change date formats and do heavy calculations across the sheet. Wondering how to memorise those hefty task-shortcuts?
Just click on ‘Help’ and Voila! You have yourself the whole array (whadupp technology pun) of shortcuts possibly known to the computer mind.
Lethargic teammates? Coworkers you’d much rather not interact with at all? But the completion of your task is dependent on them finishing theirs’? What if we told you there was a way to assign tasks to others without having to interact with them at all!
You see that tiny “+” sign on the Menu bar?
Just click on the cell you need your coworker to chip in and add a comment. Use the ‘@’ sign to add their names and the task is officially theirs! On record too.
Once a task has been assigned, and done, there’s even the option of marking it ‘Done’. Just to, you know, keep the workplace communication on record. And organised.
Filters can be a major help to get a targeted view on massive spreadsheets. This feature is particularly useful for spreadsheets with a lot of data. Instead of having to wade through the spreadsheet to find patters, you can simply use a filter to quickly group and segment different content together based on the frequency of occurrence of a particular value.
Just click the ‘Filter’ button on the top right hand menu and create a filter view for each of your columns in seconds.
Sorting through your biggest evil: The email
There is so much discourse on the futility of ceaseless email threads out there that it’s almost a shame how the whole discussion isn’t an email thread itself.
With the data science reigning supreme in a manner that the world has never seen before, it’s no surprise that our mailboxes are spammed by countless online retail stores, the myriad of productivity apps we thought we’ll use but never do and the infinite updates from websites and newsletters we’ve lost track of.
Not to mention your actual work emails. And all the important emails you missed because of the aforementioned junk. So here are a few devices – not apps (God knows we don’t need any more of those), but devices that can help solve your email troubles.
I can think of very few things out there that are as annoying as receiving waves after waves of subscription emails. But we have here your junk email saviour: unroll.me.
This is a chrome extension that gets rid of all your junk. It starts by identifying everything you’ve subscribed to and lists them out. And with the magic of just one tap, you can banish all those unwanted subscriptions from your inbox. This extension also has the option of saving the ones you do want to stay subscribed to by giving you a single weekly/monthly reminder for all your subscriptions.
We might all agree (or disagree) with the intrusion and the lack of privacy that Whatsapp offers. But if there’s one thing that WhatsApp is an expert at, is the ability to uncover truth via its ‘read receipt’ magic. Many a fights might have ensued, many a relationships may have broken but the ‘left on read’ bitter truth will always be a coveted poison. So what if I told you there’s a chrome extension that does precisely this for your emails?
Waiting for an official response can be excruciating. Did your boss receive the mail? Should you follow up? Or are they simply too busy to respond? MailTrack is your answer!
After you install the email-tracking Chrome extension, a green checkmark lights up next to every sent message. Then, when the recipient opens the message, the second checkmark also turns green. If you hover your mouse above the green checks, MailTrack shows you exactly how many times (and even on which devices) the email was checked. This tool is especially useful when you’re cold-emailing contacts and want to decide whether to follow up with someone.
For all the freelancers out there, here’s making cold emailing less painful for you!
The perfect way to get things done without being distracted by the constant torrent of mail messages.
With Inbox Pause, a ‘pause’ button is added to your Gmail. Whenever you click on it, your inbox will completely halt incoming messages. You have the option of sending a personalised message to people who email you during this time. Once you click the ‘unpause’ button, all new messages will at once appear in your inbox.
Talk about escaping reality (or just work), in real time (virtually tbh)!
Hacks you didn’t know your phone had!
We’re absolutely wired! Technological advancement has taken over our lives and at this point there’s practically nothing bogging us down but our phones, our laptops, our phone chargers, our laptop chargers, out air pods/Bluetooth, their chargers… you get the drill. Not to mention the digital clutter that comes with all of these wires tying us down.
So how about we use this impediment and make it into a productivity hack instead?
A massive apology to android users, but this one’s for iPhones only. And for all those IOS users who haven’t clocked out yet, remember that little ‘Notes’ icon that I’m sure you use on a daily basis, you can scan documents and save important papers through it.
It’s no different than actually clicking a picture and it saves itself as PDF document – without you having to go through the rigour of converting a word file into a PDF on your laptop. Talk about easy technology hacks to increase your productivity!
Customise your notification/control centre
Back in college when I was on an intensive outdoor research interview-heavy project, I needed the voice-recording app by the second. Another friend who works as a PR and marketing personnel needs to access her office-operations Google sheet every other minute. Yet another works in a terrible workplace and sadly needs the ‘Calm’ app significantly a lot through her workday.
We all had our needs but the connecting thread here is we all have our fair share of retrospectively-hilarious anecdotes where we couldn’t locate the app on our phone in moments we needed them the most. But here’s a cure that I’ve found –customising your control centre.
And that is how you can customise your control centre.
So these were all my personal favourite technology hacks to increase productivity, coming from someone who isn’t particularly fond of technology herself!