The No. 1 Overlooked Tip to Increasing Your Company’s Productivity

by | Jul 14, 2014 | Uncategorized

Time is our most valuable asset. And darn it, we need more of it! So many people out there spinning through their days with endless work demands; stress levels at an all-time high with unremitting task lists and furious deadlines.

These days, we’re always looking for methods to add more minutes back into our crazy days if we can. But how?

We’ve all read the many lists of tips on how to increase productivity and manage one’s time more efficiently at work. Anything from starting the day with an activity road map: check; to learning to be more decisive: you bet; to beginning your day with the hardest task first: awful, but all right. However, many overlook one of the simplest things that can put a lot of sand back into the top of the productivity hourglass.

As production artists at a busy brand-building agency, many of us have been trained to spend less time fumbling around on the screen with a mouse pointer and pull-down menus and more time using keyboard shortcuts. Some of us have been in the industry longer than others and have had the luxury of time to help lock some of those keyboard shortcuts into memory. But with a bit of practice and commitment, people can add some serious productivity time back into a business. How much time? Well, it depends.

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So, let’s think of it like this: Assume one second is saved each time a person replaces their mouse action with a keyboard command. If a person performs 100 mouse movements in a day, he or she will save almost two minutes. Yeah, big deal, right? Well, consider it a bit more holistically. Over a year’s time that person would actually save about eight days of time. Not bad. Now, if you’re a company that employs 20 people using their computers on a daily basis, then it’s possible to gain back 160 days a year of productivity. For 50? You’d gain back around 400 days – that’s 192,000 minutes! That’s enough to launch a new product line or finally engage in those long-overdue rebranding activities or those marketing efforts you’ve been putting off because there “just wasn’t enough time.”

I’ll admit, this is a bit of an oversimplification – but the point is to take advantage of something small in your daily business operations to gain a larger impact for your organization. The simple act of not needing to grab the mouse and drag a pointer across the screen to execute a simple command that can quickly be accomplished by using a keystroke saves time. A lot, if done right and with dedication.

The keyboard shortcuts I know the best are the ones owned by the programs I use on a daily basis. There are different shortcuts for every application used on your computer, and there is a comprehensive list of shortcuts for your computer’s operating system.

So, where to start? Just start … literally. Here are a couple of helpful links for quick operating system shortcuts:

For Mac users:

For PC users:

Pick a few shortcuts and start using them. Add more over time, and before you know it you’ll be spending more time on your keyboard and less time navigating a menu with your mouse to select an action to accomplish the same task. Then, who knows. Maybe you’ll finally have time to …

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Amassing two solid decades of top-notch work in production preparing layouts in a variety of formats and for a wide array of uses and environments, Dan has developed a hybrid set of skills he brings to bear each day for his clients. Dan is a power-user of industry-standard software tools with deep knowledge of printing and manufacturing requirements. His sound mechanical production sensibilities and judgment continue to produce fast, efficient, quality work for the agency and its clients.

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