Do you get overwhelmed with all the programs, guides, and instructions you see online? We all have our favorite tech tools – ones we couldn’t live without. Some are simple, some a little more involved, but invariably they save time and frustration. We know that time = $$, right? And too much frustration can cause _________. (Fill in your own personal result.)
OK – starting out with some basics:
(1) Clean Your Computer You don’t want to lose valuable work on your computer, do you? Any day is a good day for cleaning out your computer, but the beginning of the month works for me. Take some time to do some admin on your computer: clean out unused files and programs, make some new folders for better organization, and file all those random docs, so they’re easier to find. Like most things in life, when overloaded, your PC may get sluggish and slow down.
- Turn it off and on – Yes, I know it’s frustrating to hear that when you call the “Help Desk” but there’s a reason. (Aside from the fact that they’re buying a little time to find an answer. ) Rebooting your computer will actually give it a boost – like taking a few deep breaths of oxygen – and will help if it’s sluggish and slow. (Not promising it will fix everything that’s wrong, but it’s a start.)
- Schedule an hour or so this week to tidy up:
- Delete old, junk, and spam emails. Make folders to keep it neat and file the messages you want to keep.
- Organize your files and folders on your hard drive
- Delete duplicate and/or junk files
- Delete downloads no longer needed
- Delete old files and programs not being used
- Set up a backup schedule and be sure to back up regularly
(2) Do you need to add a Buy Now Button for PayPal to your WordPress website? The easiest way is to use a FREE plugin called WordPress Simple PayPal Shopping Cart. It allows you to put an ‘Add to Cart’ button for any product or service, and it connects directly to your PayPal account. Check it out.
(3) I see a lot of questions on Facebook about converting docs to different formats, making fillable forms, editing PDFs, and more. Here are a few really helpful tools that I’ve found.
- PDF Escape – you can edit a PDF, make a fillable form, add annotations, reposition pages, and much more.
- Docs.zone – converts PDF to other formats: Word, Excel, jpg
- PDF Merge – to merge multiple pdfs
- SmallPDF – convert PDF to most other formats and can make other edits too.
(4) Tomato Timer: Say what? Need help staying on task? This program utilizes the Pomodoro technique to keep you focused on your task. You can Google “Pomodoro technique,” but basically, it works like this: You set a time for 25 minutes, work on your task until the time expires, then you take a short break – 5 minutes. Repeat this four times and then take a long break – 10 minutes. There are several websites explaining this technique if you search Google. And, there are physical timers, (I think there’s one on Amazon that actually looks like a tomato), as well as online programs implementing this technique. Try it and see if it helps you stay focused on your task.
(5) Take a Break! — You know you’re not supposed to spend hours at a time sitting at your desk, staring at your computer screen. But it’s so easy to lose track of time! How many times have you become so engrossed in a project only to realize you haven’t moved for two or three hours? Do your muscles rebel when you finally stand up? Here are two suggestions to keep yourself a little healthier and happier:
- Stretch Clock helps you feel better and be more productive. It reminds you to get up and stretch and guides you through easy exercised you can do at your desk. You set the reminders and choose the exercises. It’s free and there’s also an upgraded paid version.
- EyeCare – Protect Your Vision is a Chrome extension that notifies you to take a break. Taking breaks at regular intervals will help to ease eye strain and to protect your vision. Use the 20/20/20 rule: every 20 minutes, take your eyes off your computer and look at something 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. EyeCare will remind you to take this break in multiple ways that you can set for your preferences.
HINT: Try consolidating these suggested “breaks” for stretching, resting your eyes, with the Tomato Timer technique mentioned above. And use the breaks to remind yourself to drink your water!
(You do have to actually pay attention to the reminders, though. I’ve found myself ignoring the reminder and then regretting it an hour later with hips and knees that don’t want to bend and eyes that become watery and itchy.)
(6) If Google Chrome is your browser of choice, you may not know how helpful the Chrome extensions can be. Here are a couple that I really love and use every.single.day! (To access these extensions, click on the three little dots in the top right corner, then scroll down to “More Tools” and “Extensions.” There’s a lot of help right there!)
- Full Page Screenshot – Many programs allow you to take a screenshot so you can save the information for later. This one will take a picture of the whole page without needing extra permissions. And then you can print the web page as a PDf (Ctrl+P) or download and save it to your computer as a PDF. Try Full Page Screen Capture, ver 2.11
- Eyedropper for Chrome (Color Pick) It’s a little eyedropper that you use to pick a color from the image and the hex number pops up. Makes it so easy to stay on-brand!
- Bitly – Shortens, measures, and optimizes your links.
- LastPass – Saves your passwords and give you secure access from every computer and mobile device. A lifesaver for me!
Check out this post with more Google Chrome extensions.
(7) Elusive Keystrokes: Some keystrokes are pretty well-known – copy, paste, undo, redo, etc. Here are a few others that might be helpful but a little less familiar:
- Ctrl+Shift+T – reopens most recently closed tab
- Ctrl+Shift+R – clears your browser’s cache
- Ctrl+D – bookmarks the page
- Ctrl+T – opens a new tab
- Ctrl+J – opens your download folder
- Ctrl+H – opens your browsing history
- Ctrl+F – searches the page for text
- Alt+Tab – switches between open apps
- Ctrl+R – refreshes the active window
- Ctrl+Alt+Tab – Use the arrow keys to switch between all open apps
(8) Have you tried Microsoft One Note? Try it – it’s great for managing random “must-keep” info together. Put your to-dos, a list of frequently used links, images, etc. in OneNote so you can find them quickly. Then, put the Snipping Tool on your taskbar, so it’s easily accessed. When you see tips you like or information you need, use that snipping tool to copy and paste it into One Note. Quick. Easy. Saved!
(9) Notes from the Universe. This is a new one I’ve just discovered. They’re daily emails that will remind you of life’s magic and your own power. They’re personalized with your dreams and goals. Check out the samples like the one below. Were you inspired? If you love it, sign up here for free.
(12) If you’re working online and see an image you love, you may want to find the hex color to incorporate into your brand. As usual, there are several ways to do this.
- HTML Color Codes is a website that helps you identify the hex code. You just upload the image (or provide the URL) and hover over the image. You’ll see several shades/tints of color. Choose your favorite, and you’re given the hex number.
- Rapid Tables – will convert your hex number to an RGB number, and vice versa.
- Color Picker Web Design – easily converts hex and RGB numbers.
- And don’t forget the one mentioned above: the Chrome extension Eyedropper for Chrome (Color Pick)
(13) Unroll. Me I bet your inbox looks a lot like mine – lots of subscriptions for things you signed up for and now can’t remember why. Yes? Oh, and then the time it takes to do all that unsubscribing!! Unroll.Me compiles all those emails into a list so you can see everything and quickly unsubscribe from all of them or just the ones you don’t want anymore. And it’s FREE.
(14) Momentum – Do you like to start your day with motivation and inspiration? Momentum is a personal dashboard designed to eliminate distraction and provide inspiration, focus, and productivity. It’s a Chrome extension, (and there’s also a Safari version) that replaces the “new tab” page with a visual browser. It has stunning images!
This simple program includes:
- Daily inspirational quotes
- Beautiful scenery pictures
- To do list
- Everyday focus item
It’s a free app, but if you find you really love it, there’s an upgraded version ($2.50/month) that syncs with other task managers like Asana, Trello, ToDoist, and more. Check it out!
If you’d like a cheat sheet with all these tips (in a consolidated list) you can download it here.
Tell me in the comments below if any of these were helpful. And I’d really like to know if you have others that are your favorites.
Until next time . . . .
I’d love for you to pin the image below to Pinterest.