person using black laptop computer

These Google Search Tips Will Save You Tons of Time!

Over 2.4 million searches happen every minute on Google. It’s often the first stop people make when they go online.

We search daily for both personal and work needs, and often searching out the right information can take a lot of time if you have to sift through several irrelevant results.

One study by consulting firm, McKinsey, found that employees spend an average of 1.8 hours daily, or 9.3 hours each week, searching and gathering information. This can be a productivity sinkhole as more web results keep getting added to the internet every day.

One way you can save time on your personal and work-related searches is to learn some “secret” Google search tips. These help you narrow down your search results and improve productivity by helping you find the information you need faster.

Search a Specific Website Using “site:”

Sometimes you need to find information on a specific website. For example, you might need to locate a government statistic that you know is out there but can’t seem to bring up on a general search.

You can use Google to search keywords on a specific website by using the “site” function.

In the search bar use the following:  site:(site url) (keyword)

This will bring up search results only for that one specific URL.

Find Flight Information Without Leaving Google

When you need to access flight information, you’re often on the go. Either getting ready to head to the airport or waiting for someone to arrive. Having to load multiple site pages in your browser can take valuable time. Instead, get your flight results directly from Google.

Just type in the flight number and the name of the airlines, and you’ll get a listing of flight information without having to click to another page. You can even tab to choose flight info for that same flight on different days.

Look for Document Types Using “filetype:”

If you’ve just been tasked with coming up with a presentation on sustainable energy, it can be helpful to see what other people have done on the same subject.

Searching websites can give you a lot of details to sift through but searching for another PowerPoint presentation can provide you with even more insight into how others have distilled that information down into a presentation.

Google has a search function that allows you to search on a file type, so instead of webpages showing up in your results, files of the file type you searched will appear.

To use this function, type in the following: filetype:(type) (keyword)

In the case of wanting to find a PowerPoint on sustainable energy, you could use the following in the search bar: filetype:ppt sustainable energy.

All the results will be PPT presentations.

You can also use this function for other file types, such as:

  • DOC
  • PDF
  • XLS or XLSX
  • SVG
  • and more

Narrow Down Timeframe Using the “Tools” Link

One frustration is when you’re looking up something like a population or cybersecurity statistic and you end up with results that are too old to be relevant. You can spend valuable time paging through the search results, or you can tell Google what time frame you’d like to search.

To narrow your search results by a specific timeframe, do the following:

  • Enter your keyword and click to search.
  • Under the search bar, click the “Tools” link.
  • Click the “Any time” link.
  • Choose your timeframe.

You can choose from preset timeframes, like past hour or past year, or you can set a custom date range for your results.

Locate Similar Sites Using “related:”

When you’re researching a topic online, it’s often helpful to find similar websites to the one you are viewing. Seeing related sites can also be used if you’re trying to find a specific product or service online and want to do some comparison shopping.

Google can provide you with a list of related websites when you use the “related” function.

In your search bar, type the following: related:https://website.com

One more way that you can leverage this search tip is to look for competitors by entering your own website URL in the search.

Get Rid of Results You Don’t Want Using “-(keyword)”

Non-relevant results are one of the main timewasters of online searching. You have to page through results that have nothing to do with what you really want to find, just because they use a related keyword.

For example, say you were searching the Ruby Slipper Cafe in New Orleans. But in your search results, you keep getting pages related to the movie the Wizard of Oz. You could eliminate those irrelevant results by using the negative keyword function.

Just type: (keyword) -(keyword)

Basically, you are just putting a minus sign in front of a keyword that you want to exclude from your search. In the example above, you would type: ruby slippers -oz.

Looking for More Ways to Boost Productivity & Save Time?

IT consultants aren’t just for large projects, we can also help you boost productivity in your everyday workflow to make your life easier.


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This Article has been Republished with Permission from The Technology Press.

Microsoft OneNote

How OneNote Can Streamline Team Collaboration (And Four Tips to Make the Most of This Program)

OneNote is a digital note-taking tool that comes with plenty of benefits for users. But what you may not have realized yet is how powerful this app can be for enhancing team collaboration.  

Note-taking.

This is an essential part of day-to-day operations for many business owners, managers, and teams. After all, people can’t rely on their memory alone to recall everything that gets talked about each day. Especially when it concerns important matters. 

When it comes to note-taking, traditional methods such as pen and paper are effective but take too long. But modern-day businesses need something that allows them to work faster. That’s why they opt for digital solutions like OneNote.

OneNote is a productivity tool that leverages cloud and Microsoft technologies to make information capturing, storage, and sharing a breeze. 

Think of OneNote as a hub for all notes that allows you to organize them in many ways. It even allows pinning multimedia documents next to simple text. 

So, if you’re looking for a robust digital note-taking tool, OneNote may be the solution for you. 

Keep reading to discover the numerous ways in which this tool can be helpful for you and your business. 

Why Should You Rely on OneNote?

OneNote is not just a powerful tool for note-taking. It’s also a useful tool that allows you to perform various functions for easy information processing. 

Some of its main benefits include:

Benefit #1. Promoting Real-Time Collaboration

OneNote is part of Microsoft’s fully-cloud based Office 365 suite. This means OneNote users can share files with other team members or clients in real-time. Multiple people can view and edit their notes simultaneously, allowing for a seamless collaboration anytime. 

A great thing about real-time editing is that you can track all changes to the file. You can even restore the previous version of a document in case of accidents.

Businesses that run in multiple locations can benefit from this feature as well. It’s because people located across the country can work on the same project without affecting team collaboration. 

Simply put, there’s no need to trade emails and waste time waiting for responses – managers can have an easy time collaborating with their team instantly without ever leaving the office. 

Benefit #2. Securing Sensitive Information

Doing business online and sharing sensitive data comes with security risks. This is especially true for notebook software. Fortunately, OneNote comes with a set of security features that protect your data from being exposed to third parties. 

For example, you can lock specific sections with passwords while having all your information secured with 3DES encryption at all times. And if your password-protected documents remain inactive for a long time, the software will automatically lock them to prevent data leaks. 

Benefit #3. Integration With Other Software

Like other Office 365 suite apps, OneNote has great integration abilities. You can sync your OneNote with Outlook to send email information directly to the app and vice versa. 

What’s more, you can integrate this software with non-Microsoft apps as well. Some notable plugins include Zapier, Slack, Trello, Evernote, Dropbox, Salesforce, and many others. And all your essential apps will be synchronized, allowing your team to be more productive each day. 

Benefit #4. Project Management

OneNote has dozens of uses for general business. However, it’s especially suitable for project management. 

Project managers often deal with issues such as team member misunderstandings, communication delays, or project bottlenecks. But thanks to Microsoft’s note-taking tool, many of these issues are quickly alleviated. 

Project management can become more straightforward. It’s because OneNote makes it easy for the manager to track each team member’s achievements. They can update timelines, check off completed tasks, or assign new ones with ease. 

Take OneNote to the Next Level 

If you have never used OneNote before, you may be interested to learn about some tips to help you get the most out of the software.

Tip #1. Creating Quick Notes

Quick Note is a great feature that lets you write down a thought when you’re out having lunch or away from the office. 

Imagine being in the store and remembering you haven’t responded to an important email. You can take your phone, open the One Note app, and create a Quick Note reminding you of this task. 

The next time you open OneNote on your computer, you’ll see the message there. 

This feature is similar to Sticky Notes, as it lets you jot down any idea or thought in a matter of seconds. All your notes will be saved in the “Unfiled Notes” section of your “Quick Notes” notebook, a place where all your notes are saved by default. 

Tip #2. Searching Across All Notes

Searching for notes becomes more challenging as time passes. If you’re an active user, you can find yourself storing hundreds of notes in a matter of months. But don’t worry, as there are tons of options to organize your notes as well as search for it. 

OneNote has a built-in search option to make note finding easier. 

All you need to do is click on the magnifying glass or hit “Ctrl” (or “Command” for Mac) + “F” on your keyboard and look for a phrase or word. The software will go over all your typed, handwritten, and even picture notes. 

You can further narrow the search by selecting the drop-down arrow and choosing the desired option. You’ll see all matching results highlighted in your notes. 

As you find the note you needed, you can close the search by pressing “X” on the right-hand corner. 

Tip #3. Using Pre-Made Templates

OneNote is designed to have a blank canvas for each new note. And it’s what gives users a whole lot of flexibility. However, you can find this approach to be too basic sometimes. So, why not add some style, structure, and color to the app?

Thankfully, there are tons of pre-made templates to choose from. You can download a template with decorative backgrounds, to-do lists, planners, and more. 

Note that you can use the templates only on new OneNote files. The ones that already contain text won’t work since most designs require content to appear in a specific place on the page. 

If you need to add a template to your existing note, simply create a new one, then copy the existing text over. 

Tip #4. Scanning Documents from Your Smartphone

Do you need to take notes from a scanned document? That’s not an issue for OneNote. You can use the Microsoft Lens: PDF Scanner App (available for Android and iOS) to take high-quality scans of multiple documents using your phone and upload them to OneNote. 

Become the Master of Note-Taking

Digital note-taking tools have helped thousands of workers and managers become more productive. OneNote is one such software that seems to have it all – abundant features, flexibility, and ease of use. 

Whether you’re a business owner who wants to boost your team’s performance or a project manager that needs better tracking of the project timeline, OneNote has something in store for everyone. 

If you’d like to learn more about how this powerful tool can help you make your business better, feel free to reach out to us. We can have a 10-15-minute chat about this topic. 


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This Article has been Republished with Permission from The Technology Press.

clear hour glass on white table

Timeless Methods of Improving Your Productivity – Here are 7 Things You Can Do to Be More Productive

Low productivity can be a massive obstacle to growing your business. Luckily, there are many ways to solve this problem.

Many people struggle to finish the task at hand. No matter how long they’ve been in the business, productivity seems to evade them regularly. 

And this probably happens to you, too, even if you’re an experienced business owner. 

Your to-do list is long… but you can’t focus when you try to get down to work. 

You try to concentrate… but you can’t make any headway. 

You might have been doing something all day… but none of your tasks are finished. 

Simply put, you’ve been busy but not productive. 

Luckily, there are many methods to get out of the slump. You need to work on your productivity, and this article will provide some of the best ways to do so. 

7 Methods to Boost Productivity 

Method #1. Improve Your Focus

When you have many obligations, you can easily get overwhelmed by the sheer number. As a result, you end up sitting idle and unable to do anything. 

Instead of tackling many things at once, choose the most important task. Hone in on it, and don’t let anything else distract you. Your mission should be to complete the job to make your day successful. 

Once it’s out of the way, you’ll get a powerful sense of accomplishment that will drive you to keep going. 

Method #2. Don’t Forget the Importance of Good Sleep

One of the main reasons affecting your productivity is a potential lack of sleep. Working while feeling sleepy is counterproductive, and the only way to combat it is through this:

Get some sleep. 

Experts recommend getting at least seven hours of sleep every night to improve workplace productivity. It lets you wake up fresh and ready to take on your office assignments. 

Furthermore, avoid going to work as soon as you get out of bed. Prepare yourself mentally for about half an hour before starting your workday. 

You should also figure out your ideal bedtime. Most people go to sleep early and wake up early, but that may not be effective for you. You’ll need to determine the most suitable timing. 

Method #3. Give Intelligent Planning a Shot 

Intelligent planning teaches you how to boost productivity by enhancing your time management. Research suggests your working intervals shouldn’t last more than 1.5 hours. Rest periods should be distributed between, allowing you to recharge your batteries. 

That said, trying to leave work early might be tempting, but it’s usually counterproductive. You skip your rest time, and job quality plummets. 

To remain productive and focused throughout the day, clear your mind by doing exercises. They can improve your performance while benefiting your mental and physical health massively. 

Some of your best options include yoga and a short gym session. They help reset your brain and fill you with positive energy to help you handle the rest of your workload. 

Method #4. Get Rid of Distractions

Another great way to increase productivity is to weed out distractions, such as chatting with your team members and surfing the web. The urge might be strong, but you’ll need to resist it to enhance your workplace efficiency. 

To do so, turn off computer and smartphone notifications. You may still encounter some interruptions, but they won’t be caused by social media or other trifles. 

Method #5. Do the Most Challenging Tasks First

Most productive days start by taking care of the most difficult task first. 

You’re at your best in the morning, which is the perfect time to address the biggest problem for the day. It’s during this period where your mental energy surges and you’re more likely to produce innovative ideas to solve tough challenges. 

After tackling the most complex tasks, the rest of the day will be much easier. You’ll be left with routine activities (e.g., checking and answering emails) that require no creative efforts. 

Method #6. Don’t Work Without a Break

This might sound counterproductive, but you need to take breaks during your workday. Remember, you’re not a machine that can work non-stop and produce impressive results. And if you try to be like one, your productivity is bound to plunge. 

To avoid mental exhaustion and productivity lapses, get up from the desk and stop working for a couple of minutes. 

As previously mentioned, you can perform a few exercises to refresh your energy. Another option is to have a cup of coffee or go for a walk. You should return more focused and ready to complete your tasks. 

But don’t go overboard with your breaks. Try to limit them to about 30 minutes and avoid watching YouTube or going to entertaining websites. It can lead to further procrastination and less productivity. 

Method #7. Learn to Delegate

Everyone needs help, even the most skilled business owner. 

So, delegating your assignments should be a staple of your workday, as it helps you save time and remain productive. Best of all, it allows you to focus on complex duties that can make or break your business. 

The easiest way to delegate duties is to assign them to trustworthy team members. 

After entrusting your responsibilities, don’t supervise your workers closely. Otherwise, you may start micromanaging them, which may cripple their motivation and confidence. 

Instead, provide your employees with all resources necessary to complete the task and let them work in peace. If possible, teach them how to automate the assignment using modern technology. 

Again, this can help take your productivity to new heights by enabling you to deal with essential duties only. 

Don’t Let Your Workplace Performance Suffer 

Running a company is satisfying, but you need to perform consistently to obtain the best results. Hence, your productivity should remain high, and we’ve given you the seven best ways to increase it. 

The key takeaway is to eliminate distractions, take appropriate breaks, and tackle the most daunting tasks early. Don’t forget to allocate some of your workload to your team members and get a good night’s sleep to keep a sharp focus. 

For more tips on staying productive in your office, contact us today. Let’s arrange a 10-15 non-salesy chat to figure out the biggest productivity challenges your business faces and how to overcome them. 


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This Article has been Republished with Permission from The Technology Press.

Xerox

How Xero Improved Productivity with a Digital Communication Tool (And Five More Technologies You Can Use to Boost Office Productivity)

Higher office productivity leads to faster project completion and happier customers. With these technological solutions, you empower your people to work more efficiently.

When a company scales to the point where it has millions of customers spread over 180 countries, effective internal communication is a priority. It’s an even bigger concern when that company helps small businesses to stay on top of their finances.

That is the challenge that Xero faced.

The company, which has over 3,000 employees around the world, discovered that its internal communication systems weren’t scaling well as the company grew. For years, they’d used an internal email system to enable employees to communicate. However, they discovered that that system was breaking down, resulting in customer requests and queries getting lost.

How could Xero solve the problem?

They used an online tool that allowed the company to centralize crucial information, all while enabling more efficient communication between employees.

Xero implemented the use of Slack, which offers instant messaging and the creation of specific workflow channels to improve internal communication. The company soon created dedicated channels for all of its departments, creating an increase in office productivity that benefitted both staff and customers.

As Xero has shown us, office productivity is a key concern for any employer.

The more productive your people are, the faster they’re able to complete projects. Ultimately, having more productive people leads to higher profits and happier customers.

Xero found a way to enhance their productivity through a technological communication system. 

You can do the same, and more.

Here are five more ways you can use technology to boost productivity.

Technique #1 – Use Video Conferencing

Attending meetings can be an enormous time sink, especially when attendance requires commuting to a different office. The time spent on the road is time that you cannot spend working, which creates inefficiency.

Video conferencing technology overcomes this problem.

With it, you can attend meetings from the comfort of your own office. Furthermore, many video conferencing tools, such as Zoom, allow attendees to share their computer screens when speaking. This allows for on-the-fly demonstrations of ideas that may not be possible in traditional meetings.  The ability to record these video meetings also means that attendees can review crucial details later, eliminating the need to revisit issues.

Technique #2 – Implement Time Tracking Software

As workplaces move towards increasingly digital and remote operations, time tracking becomes a key concern. 

For example, you may have virtual assistants who do not work in your physical office. This creates a lack of oversight that some unscrupulous employees may take advantage of.

Thankfully, there are several time tracking software packages available. These tools allow you to track the activities of your remote employees using several techniques. 

Some log key presses, allowing you to determine how active the employee is. Others may take screenshots of a virtual employee’s screen at random intervals during the day, allowing you to check if they’re dedicating all of the time you’re paying them for their work. These tools allow you to confront the issue of time theft. Furthermore, they allow your HR department to save time it may otherwise have to spend on manually examining and editing time logs

Technique #3 – Upgrade Your Workstations

Many businesses avoid upgrading workstations and other hardware due to the immediate cost. Replacing hundreds of computers requires an upfront investment of thousands of dollars, leading to many businesses struggling with using outdated hardware.

Unfortunately, this creates long-term issues.

While sticking with old hardware allows a business to save money in the short term, it also slows down the workforce. The hardware won’t be capable of operating at the speed required. 

Aging systems may also not be compatible with modern software solutions, meaning employees get stuck dealing with antiquated systems that aren’t fit for purpose. This leads to hours of wasted time spent waiting for old systems to do their jobs.

Upgrades may be costly in the short term. But over the long term, they lead to time savings and more efficient employees.

Technique #4 – Implement Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Software

ERP software allows for simpler management of a wide range of business processes, including project management, accounting, and supply chain management. 

Think of it as a centralized database that provides employees with rapid access to the information needed to do their jobs. Instead of having to examine dozens of different spreadsheets to find what they’re looking for, they can use ERP to get what they need fast.

Having all relevant information stored in a single location eliminates soloing, allowing for more effective communication between departments. It also provides enhanced visibility to the management, allowing them to detect issues early and implement solutions quickly.

Tecnique #5 – Eliminate Manual File Sharing

Imagine that you need access to a file before you can complete the task you’re working on. So, you send an email to the person who has that file. 

However, they’re just gone out for lunch and won’t be back in the office for about an hour. That means you have to wait to gain access to the file, resulting in the completion of your task getting delayed.

These are the sorts of productivity problems that manual file-sharing creates. By eliminating the manual aspect of file sharing, you can improve office productivity immensely. 

Some of the techniques shared in this article can help you to do this. For example, you could use Slack, or other similar software, to pin key files to a channel so that employees also have access to them. 

However, it also helps to have a dedicated cloud-based file sharing platform, such as Dropbox or Box. Both allow you to create file systems with shared access, ensuring everybody who needs access to certain files can get them with no delays.

Technology Boosts Productivity

There is no getting around the fact that implementing new technological solutions often requires investments in terms of both time and money. You may need to buy new hardware or spend time training your employees.

However, the long-term productivity benefits far outweigh the short-term costs.

Each of the technologies discussed in this article empowers your people to work more efficiently. In doing so, they enable increases in office productivity that your company benefits from. 

If you need any help with installing these technologies or would like to determine which will be a good fit for your business, please schedule a 15-minute no-obligation conversation with a member of our team today.

 


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This Article has been Republished with Permission from The Technology Press.