Category Archives: Time Management

Speaking Is Believing! Use Windows 10 Cortana to Help Your “Old School” Computer with Work Tasks!

That’s right—the tech geeks have proclaimed that you can use Microsoft’s Cortana digital assistant system found in Windows 10 with your “old school” computer to help you navigate and search the Internet, open some applications, make appointments, and remind you of to-do lists by simply plugging in a microphone.

According to Sean Hollister who reviewed Cortana for Gizmodo and who tried a number of microphone scenarios, Cortana seems to be able to recognize and perform voice-activated requests very handily. Marc Chiappetta who writes for Forbes, was impressed with the speed at which Cortana was able to perform requested tasks, although he does provide a wish list of improvements. One improvement he would like to see is for Cortana to be able to handle compound questions—Example: “What is the time and temperature in Chicago?”

 

Attention SmartPhone Users! Although Cortana has been available on Windows phones for a while, you’ll be happy to know that Cortana is coming to iPhones and Androids later this year—yeah! It will be nice to compare Cortana to Siri and Google Now—you be the judge.

 

If you want to upgrade or develop skills that can help you in today’s job market, consider enrolling in the Business Office Systems & Support program at Richland College. You will have a wide selection of courses (offered online and face-to-face) from which to choose. These courses range from basic keyboarding, computer literacy, business communications, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access (includes preparation for the Microsoft Office Specialist certification exam**), office procedures, etc. These courses can all lead you towards a college-credit certificate or a 2-year associate’s degree.

Richland College is located in northeast Dallas at 12800 Abrams Road. For more information contact Becky Jones, Associate Dean, bjones@dcccd.edu at 972-238-6215.

**Richland College is an authorized Microsoft Testing Center.

***Get a Free Copy of Microsoft Office Pro Plus 2013***If you are a student in the Dallas County Community College District, you are eligible to download a FREE version of Microsoft Office 2013 Pro Plus (or 2011 on the Mac) which includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, Outlook, Publisher, and OneNote.

 


What Students Really Need to Hear

09-15-2014-final-478293049-150x150These are not my words.  They are the words of another teacher, speaking for all teachers everywhere!  Please take 5 minutes to either read the article or watch the video by this inspiring and very dedicated teacher, Chase Mielke.

Click here to watch the Video:  What Students Really Need to Hear

or

Click here to read the Article:  What Students Really Need to Hear

When you are discouraged and feel like giving up on school, try to remember what you learned from reading or watching what this teacher had to say about his students.  _____________________________________________________________________________________
For more information on the Business Office Systems and Support department, contact Becky Jones, Associate Dean, bjones@dcccd.edu 972-238-6215.

 


Keeping Up with The Times

TimeIn order to stay in touch with what is going on in your industry, how do you keep up? In order to advance or even just stay current in your field, most of us have to read industry materials, like blogs, online articles, and magazines.

While reading one of these in an education article, I came across the following quote that had been attributed to the UCR University Honors Program in California, “While ever you are talking, you’re not listening. If you’re not listening, you’re not learning.” It encapsulated so well some of my thoughts lately.

So, how do we keep up with technology and our career field? Below are a few tips:

  1. Don’t just randomly read information. Find the blogs/websites of a few respected experts in your field. In my case, I found a few blogs of some internationally known educators. They will be constantly scanning the horizon, enabling me to digest the summaries from their blogs.
  2. Always keep a magazine or other reading materials with you. Or, make sure you have the online materials bookmarked on your phone or mobile device. If I am standing in line or sitting in a waiting room, I can be learning something related to training or technology instead of just reading whatever is available.
  3. Set aside time each week, maybe during your lunch hour or instead of watching a television show, to learn. After turning off the television more at my house, I realize how little I miss some of the shows that I thought I could not live without.

I know that these tips may not work for everyone. They are just my plan to help me learn more effectively and efficiently. I’m keeping up with new technology more, which makes me feel more confident when I’m teaching or talking with others. I hope some of these tips work for you, too!

Richland College, which is located in northeast Dallas at 12800 Abrams Road, offers both online and on-campus courses. For more information contact Becky Jones, Associate Dean, bjones@dcccd.edu 972-238-6215.

***Get a Free Copy of Microsoft Office Pro Plus 2013***If you are a student in the Dallas County Community College District, you are eligible to download a free version of Microsoft Office 2013 Pro Plus (or 2011 on the Mac) which includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, Outlook, Publisher, and OneNote


Are You Just Hearing, or Are You Listening Your Way to Success?

09-15-2014 final 478293049

Take a “working tip” from Richland College’s POFT 2312 Business Correspondence and Communication course on how to enhance your career and leadership success by developing effective listening skills.

Some people don’t realize that there is a big difference between hearing and listening. As a result, they run the risk of jeopardizing their success at work as well as in other aspects of their lives.

According to experts, hearing is one of the five human senses—vision, hearing, sight, smell, and touch; while listening is a communication technique.

Developing an effective listening technique is vital for anyone who wants to be successful in today’s workplace. The ability to demonstrate effective listening is key to your success, and to ignore important listening strategies is to invite failure.

Review the list below that was developed by authors Thill and Bovée on important listening strategies that can help you succeed in your career. These authors also look at the flip side of the coin and identify behaviors that can reduce your effectiveness and ones that may actually be harmful to your success. So don’t just “hear”; learn to “listen”!

09-15-2014 Table FinalIf you want to improve your communication skills, consider taking one or more courses in the BOSS program at Richland College.

Richland College, which is located in northeast Dallas at 12800 Abrams Road, offers both online and on-campus courses. For more information contact Becky Jones, Associate Dean, bjones@dcccd.edu 972-238-6215.

***Get a Free Copy of Microsoft Office Pro Plus 2013***If you are a student in the Dallas County Community College District, you are eligible to download a free version of Microsoft Office 2013 Pro Plus (or 2011 on the Mac) which includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, Outlook, Publisher, and OneNote.

Source: John V. Thill and Courtland L. Bovée, Excellence in Business Communication, 11th edition, Pearson, Boston, 2015, p. 49.

 

 

 

 

 


Want to Be Successful in College?

graduation-hatHow do you feel on your first day of a new semester? If it is your first semester, you are probably very apprehensive. If you are a returning college student, you may be excited or you may be anxious about meeting new people and facing new challenges. In either situation you are probably a bit nervous and full of questions. Your goal, however, is to be successful.

In an article titled, “Top Ten Tips for College Success,” Dr. Sylvia Rimm discusses the exciting and challenging experience of pursuing a college education and lists her tips for being successful in college. Click here to read her article: Top Ten Tips for College.

I especially like her very first tip: Never miss a class. If you had a job and you decided not to show up for work, how successful do you think you would be at that job? It is important to treat college as a job and assume that it is your responsibility to go to class every day!

As we begin a new semester at Richland College, take a minute to read Dr. Rimm’s tips. Then, make a deal with yourself to follow these tips. Your path to success will be easier with a set of guidelines. Write them down and review them often!


For more information on the Business Office Systems and Support department, contact Becky Jones, Associate Dean, bjones@dcccd.edu 972-238-6215.


9+ Reasons Why OneNote 2013 Can Help You Become More Successful!

08-11-2014 OneNote LogoTake a “working tip” from Richland College’s POFT 1309 Administrative Office Procedures course on how to increase your productivity and efficiency at the office.

Like so many other things these days, projects at work seem to have many moving parts—some parts need your attention right away, and other tasks come later but are equally as important.

Use the tag feature in OneNote 2013 to help you keep your priorities and tasks in order and to help make sure your project is completed successfully.

OneNote 2013 (the desktop version) comes equipped with a wealth of tags that can make creating notes and tasks, inserting images, locating important web sites, gathering contact information, etc., easy to organize, track, and search as you progress through your project.

There are nine handy OneNote tags described below; however, there are a number of other OneNote tags that can help you with your work load as well. You can also create custom tags for even more specialization.

08-11-2014 One Note Complete

Use OneNote tags to help you plan, organize, and complete those multiple tasks that are so important to the successful completion of your work projects!

If you want to improve your office productivity skills, consider taking one or more courses in the BOSS program at Richland College. Richland College, which is located in northeast Dallas at 12800 Abrams Road, offers both online and on-campus courses. For more information contact Becky Jones, Associate Dean, bjones@dcccd.edu 972-238-6215.

***Get a Free Copy of Microsoft Office Pro Plus 2013***If you are a student in the Dallas County Community College District, you are eligible to download a free version of Microsoft Office 2013 Pro Plus (or 2011 on the Mac) which includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, Outlook, Publisher, and OneNote.


Word Tip: Use the Keyboard to Create a Simple Table

11-11-2013 Word Tip--Use the Keyboard to Create a Simple Word Table Image--153454864Have you ever been typing and found that you needed to put some of your information into a table to display it more attractively? Well, Word has a neat keyboard feature that allows you to do just that.

Although Word’s ability to create tables from the Insert tab or to draw them using the Table Draw feature is wonderful and very easy, your fingers don’t have to leave the keyboard if you use the handy tip described below.

For example, if you want a 2-column table:

Optional/Step 1: Make sure your Show/Hide feature is turned on so you can follow your cursor more easily —located in Paragraph group on the Home tab.

Step 2: Make sure your cursor is at the beginning of your left margin and type the “+” key (no quotes), and then use the Space Bar to space the approximate length of where you want the first column to end and then type another “+” (no quotes).

11-11-2013 Word Tip Step 2

Step 3: Use the Space Bar again to space out the length of the second column and type another “+” and press the Enter key and Presto! You have the first row in your table.

11-11-2013 Word Tip Step 3

Step 4: Your cursor should appear in the first column, and you are now ready to begin typing your text. Just press Tab key to move to the second column and type in that text.

11-11-2013 Word Tip Step 4

Step 5: After you have typed in your text in the second column, press the Tab key again and a new row will be created automatically

Hint: If you want three or more columns, use the Space Bar and the “+” key to space out the length for the third column, etc., accordingly, but make sure all characters appear on one line.

After you have created your table and if you want make it fancier, just select the table and use one of the Word styles in Table Tools >Design.

If you need to take one or more classes to help you enhance your technology skills and productivity, consider taking one of the Microsoft Office classes or other skills/productivity development classes from the BOSS area at Richland College.

For more information on BOSS software and productivity course offerings, the BOSS degree and certificates contact Becky Jones, Associate Dean, bjones@dcccd.edu 972-238-6215.

Join us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/RLCBOSS/

 


Essential Skills That Should Be in Every Employee’s Toolkit!

10-21-2013 - Essential Skills That Should Be in Every Employee’s Toolkit!--142327423When we think about jobs and their various requirements, the tendency may be to focus on the specialized skill such as accounting, marketing, IT, nursing, HR, etc., but blogger Sharlyn Lauby suggests that there needs to be a closer look taken of  basic skills. She has put a lot of emphasis on the fact that every employee should have these skills—regardless of the job position.

The list below may sound simple and basic; but according to Lauby, employees and applicants who lack one or more of these items is the reason why job recruiters and employers are becoming more and more frustrated!

So even if you are currently employed or if you are looking for a job, take a look at this list and make sure you are proficient in all of these areas:

 

#

Skill Comment

1

Good Communication Skills Both your verbal and written skills need to be proficient. A review of grammar can help you with the spoken and written word.

2

Computer Many of the job descriptions have the expectation that you are already competent in widely-used software such as Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

3

Customer Service Companies expect their employees to know how to interact with their customers in a professional, respectful manner.

4

Diversity Awareness While this item was not a part of Lauby’s original list, the decision was made to include it because we work in environments today that are made up of people from many different backgrounds and cultures.

5

Empathy There may be a number of times throughout your career when you will need to “put yourself in the other person’s position” to understand your customers or co-workers better, and having empathy will help you tremendously in the communication process.

6

Learning This may appear to be a “no brainer,” but you should be prepared to be a lifelong learner. Whether you take formal classes or workplace training, new knowledge is the order of the day.

7

Math Unless your job requires a higher order of math, you should be familiar with business math concepts such as percentages, decimals, etc., These concepts can help you apply, interpret, and understand some of those spreadsheet functions better. Remember, most decisions are data driven today.

8

Organization Getting your work completed accurately and on time requires you to manage your time and tasks in an systematic fashion. Use time management software tools to help you organize your work life.

9

Problem-Solving When confronted with a problem, it is very important for you to (1) understand the problem, (2) develop a workable plan for solving the problem, (3) carry out the plan, and (4) evaluate the plan—did it work? Don’t expect others to solve all of your problems. You will be expected to find logical solutions to issues.

10

Research and Information Gathering If you need more information in order to get a task completed or to solve a problem, you must be ready to research the area and look for workable solutions. Employers don’t have much time for people who throw their hands up every time they are confronted with a new situation.

11

Teamwork You’ve got to be able to work with others! In today’s world most jobs require us to spend time working with others on projects—both real world and virtual. Having a respect for others, being able to communicate your thoughts effectively, and having a sense of empathy all play a part in successful, productive team outcomes.

For more information on the BOSS program and how BOSS courses can help you with your career and enhance your skills, contact Becky Jones, Associate Dean, bjones@dcccd.edu 972-238-6215.

Join us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/RLCBOSS/


7 No-Nos That Can Help You Improve Your Productivity!

09-30-2013 - Postit Notes--174361729I am sure we are all accustomed to reading about the “dos” that can help with tasks and productivity, but Jill Harness “flips the coin” in her infographic article and provides us with an excellent list of “don’ts” to keep in mind for becoming more productive.

If you want to improve your daily productivity, here are some habits you should definitely avoid, or break if you are currently guilty of any of these no-nos:

 

#

Bad Work Habit

Comment/Advice

1

Checking Your E-mail Constantly Unless you are expecting an urgent message that must be acted upon immediately, set a schedule for checking your messages during the day e.g., 9 a.m., then again just before noon, and 45 minutes before you leave for the day.

2

Keeping A Cluttered Desk Not only is this habit counterproductive, it is one that can lead to confusion, missing information, and time wasted. You will be viewed as inefficient! Remember the saying, “time is money, and money is time.” Take the time to organize your work area so all related items are filed or placed in close proximity.

3

Not Paying Attention to Ergonomics Have you ever wondered why you are prone to headaches or backaches Monday through Friday, but for some reason, they mysteriously disappear on the weekends? Take a look at your workstation. If it is too cushy, you may not be getting the proper support; but as Jill Harness cautions, don’t be tempted to go to the other extreme and have a chair that is “overly-adequate” in terms of lumbar support. You should also check other ergonomic elements such as lighting and the keyboard. Get your eyes examined at least once a year also.

4

Trying to Multitask And we thought we could be jugglers and keep several tasks in the air! While most of us can actually “walk and chew gum at the same time,” it isn’t efficient, accurate, or productive to multitask (2 or more simultaneous tasks). According to Harness, research shows we actually reduce our IQs by 10 points when we attempt to multitask.  Use your brain cells effectively.

 

5

Setting Numerous Online Notifications By setting multiple notifications to your phone, tablet, laptop, or desktop; you will almost certainly guarantee frustration, confusion, and opportunities for mistakes. Develop a workable plan and stick to it regarding how you want to reminded (due dates/times) of important items.

6

Allowing Others to Constantly Interrupt You If you are known as the person who is always ready to engage in conversation—related and nonrelated—then you’ve set yourself up for making mistakes, being nonproductive, and always running behind schedule. Remember, you are not there to socialize 24/7. Nicely, but firmly, let your coworkers know that your office is not a “drop-in” center.

7

Creating a “Mission Impossible” List of To-Dos Go ahead and create lists that require you to leap tall buildings in a single bound—dream of becoming that SuperPerson! Seriously, set realistic timeframes needed to complete tasks, and use strategies for getting the resources needed to get the job done.  To be sure, there will be those unexpected times when something does take longer; but as time goes by, your previous experience and knowledge will prove invaluable towards helping you gauge the time needed to get your tasks done successfully and efficiently.

For more information on the BOSS program and how BOSS courses can help you with your career and enhance your skills, contact Becky Jones, Associate Dean, bjones@dcccd.edu 972-238-6215.

Join us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/RLCBOSS/


10 Important Tips for Planning Effective Meetings

dv2171020Recently, I read an interesting infographic by Eva Rykrsmith on how to conduct meetings effectively and the importance of having ground rules for them. There were a number of excellent tips and facts presented in her infographic, but below are 10 that will certainly go a long way in helping you conduct meetings more effectively:

 

  1. Come prepared—if you aren’t prepared, it will be apparent to all, and your meeting will certainly be viewed negatively.
  2. Email an agenda 24 hours in advance—give participants a chance to review, collect, or gather relevant information. If participants are prepared, the chances are certainly greater for a smooth-running meeting.
  3. Arrive at least 5-10 minutes early—check to make sure the room is configured in a way that is favorable to your meeting—think about seating, distributing handouts, checking equipment (if needed), etc.
  4. Ban smartphones! I know, I know, everyone feels the need to be “wired.” However, there’s a time and place for everything, and the time and place that has been set aside for this particular meeting should be a top priority during this meeting.
  5. Share all relevant data—if you want positive next steps, then participants need to have the necessary information and knowledge in order to move forward.
  6. Challenge ideas rather than people—you should make it crystal clear that the meeting is about generating ideas or making decisions and not personal attacks.
  7. Make sure everyone participates—conversely, don’t let a few people dominate the discussion.
  8. Stay on topic—if you have developed a purpose and a goal for the meeting, you will find it easier for you and others to avoid the temptation of “wandering off” topic.
  9. Start and end on time—nothing is more frustrating than to be in a meeting that “runs over.” Have timelines firmly established for the various topics; and if an agenda item warrants more discussion, determine if it needs priority over other items on the agenda.
  10. Follow-up by email within 24 hours—a quick follow-up will give you as well as the others the sense that the meeting itself and the outcomes are important and worthy of continued attention on some level.

Click on this link to view Eva Rykrsmith’s infographic.

For more information on how BOSS classes can help you become more productive and effective or information on the BOSS degree and certificates, contact Becky Jones, Associate Dean, bjones@dcccd.edu 972-238-6215.

Join us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/RLCBOSS/