Category Archives: Time Management

Let Excel’s Workspace Feature Help Save You Time!

Do you need to work with several workbooks (files) at one time in a particular arrangement on the screen? If so, did you know that you can group them so they can be opened in one step by creating what is known as a workspace?

A workspace is a file that groups all of the workbooks in your group and opens them all at once in the desired arrangement. The workspace feature creates a file that has an .xlw file extension. You save time because you don’t have to open each file individually and then re-size. This feature comes in handy if you are working with three or four files at a time.

To create workspace, just complete the following steps:

  1. Open all of the workbooks that you want to reside in the workspace.
  2. Size and position them as would like them to appear on the screen.
  3. Click the View tab and click the Save Workspace button in the Windows group.
  4. Type a name for your workspace file and navigate to the file location where you want your workspace file stored.

IMPORTANT:

The workspace file does not contain the workbooks themselves, so you will still need to save any changes you make to your workbooks to the actual workbooks. Hint: You can add the Save All and Close All icons to your QUICK ACCESS TOOLBAR to help you quickly save and close all of the files.

Remember, if you need to work at another computer, you need to have the workspace file as well as all of the workbook files—so it’s a good idea to save all of the files in one handy folder.

Source: Microsoft Excel 2010 Illustrated Series: Complete by Elizabeth Eisner Reding and Lynn Wermers, Course Technology/Cengage Learning, Boston: 2011, p. 145.

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.


7 Handy Internet Search Tips

How many times have you searched the Internet and had the feeling of “this is almost of what I want, but not quite”? Well, Shankar Ganesh, who is a guest writer for How-To Geek, provides us with list of seven helpful ways (something for everyone) to search various platforms and apps.

1.  Use Google’s AROUND(n) for a proximity search. You may be familiar with the AND, NOT, OR search operators, but this Google operator allows you to specify the distance between two search terms. For example, I was interested in finding information on the MOS certification and Richland College. I simply entered the following search command at Google: MOS certification AROUND (3) Richland College. I received the most relevant results which were followed by related results.

2.  Use Stars with Gmail. If you have a Gmail account, you can enable the Superstars labs addons by clicking on the gears icon, then selecting Settings, scrolling to the Stars area, making your star selection(s), and then clicking Save Changes at the bottom of the screen. You can then color code your messages. The other neat advantage of color coding is that you can search for your messages via the color coded system. Ganesh provides many of the search operators, but here are three filter codes that are based on the color starred system:

i. has:yellow-star

ii. has:blue-star

iii. has:orange-star

3.  Consider using CloudMagic if you are an avid Gmail user.  Using the CloudMagic addon will definitely speed up your email searches. According to Ganesh, CloudMagic is especially helpful if you have a lot of archived messages that need searching also.

4.  Use wallpaper to spruce up your desktop/laptop screen. If you are looking for wallpaper, Google certainly has tons of images, but Bing certainly has a lot to offer as well. Bing will show images that match your screen resolution, and you don’t need to specifically indicate the resolution. Just go to bing.com/images and then type in your search term.

5.  Make your Evernote app even more efficient. Let’s say that you use Evernote with your SmartPhone or tablet to work with a variety of applications, but you need to search your notes from one particular source. In Ganesh’s example the search is for notes that were created in any mobile client or information pasted from a Microsoft application such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc. You just need to type source:mobile.* or source:ms.app.* He provides a link at this site that offers a number of advanced Evernote search parameters as well.

6.  Keep those shared links on Twitter manageable by using Delicious. Simply go to your Twitter account and make sure your settings allow your links to be collected from your tweets and retweets. The nice thing is that Delicious ignores any duplicate links.

7.  Limit your searches to folders, not files! If you are like a lot of us, you probably have some folders and some files on your hard drive, flash drive, etc.—rather cluttered. Have you ever just wanted to look for your folders that contain the word PowerPoint (you know they’re on your hard drive/flash drive—somewhere!). Well, Windows has a great search operator known as the “in-built kind: operator. So if you are looking for these that are tucked away in folder, you just need to type the following command in the search area: powerpoint kind:folder and presto! Only folders containing this word in their names, no files, will appear.

For more information on the BOSS program and how it can help you prepare for a successful career, contact Becky Jones, Associate Dean, bjones@dcccd.edu 972-238-6215.


Are You A Team Player???
The question, “Are you a team player?” has certainly gained in importance over the past few years as we rely more and more on networking from remote locations in the world of work. What used to hold us in awe—someone working with a colleague who lived thousands of miles away in another country—is now seen as the routine. Employers expect their employees to be able to work together, even though the workers involved in a project may be many miles apart.
What does it take to be a contributing, responsible team member today?
Jeff Butterfield offers some insight and tips in his textbook entitled Teamwork and Team Building: Soft Skills for a Digital Workplace (Course Technology, Cengage Learning, 2011):
1.  Understand the role of teams in the world of business—recognize that the formation of teams may be necessary because:
  • Teams can serve to represent and implement the goals of a company.
  • The project may be too large for a single individual.
  • Teams can create a broad range of solutions.
  • Teams can serve as motivational tools.
  • Teams can serve to build a sense of commitment to a project—stakeholders.
  • Recognize the various types of teams—basic workgroups, committees, project teams, task force teams, self-managed teams, and special-purpose teams.
2.  Teams may have a shared sense of their purpose, while groups may be comprised of people who work on similar tasks or who follow the same procedures—there is a big difference.
3.  Be aware of the fact that team members should need to develop a sense of ownership or vested interest, share the same objectives, have a sense of contributing to the overall purpose, develop a sense of trust among members, and feel as though the team can make meaningful decisions. Get to know your other team members.
4.  Have a healthy respect for varying opinions—avoid falling into the trap of looking only the familiar and allow new ideas to be explored. However, be sure your “netiquette” (your cyber manners) is incorporated—egos and unhealthy conflict can send a team into a downward, nonproductive spiral very quickly.
5.  Respect deadlines—team members need to be committed to getting goals accomplished by the projected deadline dates; however, if there are extenuating circumstances, adjust the schedule accordingly, but be realistic and stay committed.
6.  Have a team leader (or coordinator) who is responsible for coordinating and contacting members to ensure the goals of the team are being met.
7.  Stay on target while continually examining the team’s purpose, expectations, and any roadblocks/barriers.
8.  Make sure the ability to make decisions, access to resources, and the ability to take meaningful actions are in place—teams need to have a sense of empowerment.
9.  Make sure the efforts of the team are recognized and rewarded. We all want to feel appreciated.
10. Be aware of differences (and perhaps difficulties) between communication and coordination and plan accordingly.
11.  Take advantage of and use appropriate technologies. Today we have mobile devices that include laptops, tablets, social networking, Smartphones along with teleconferencing. If used effectively, these tools that can be of immense help in getting tasks and projects completed. You don’t have to use every “bell and whistle,” but do use technology to help overcome time wasters and redundancy.

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


Is Your Computer Being Cranky?

Hold on–don’t be so quick to reboot your Windows PC. Rebooting is the go-to solution when a program won’t shut down or the system starts dragging or acting unstable.  There is, however, another way. The Windows Task Manager is a powerful tool for troubleshooting and resolving issues in Windows.

Task Manager shows you the programs, processes, and services that are currently running on your computer. You can use Task Manager to monitor your computer’s performance or to close a program that is not responding.

What is the fastest way to get to Windows Task Manager?  Many of you probably use the shortcut key combination Ctrl + Alt + Delete.  Did you know that there is an even faster way to launch Windows Task Manager that will bypass the Ctrl + Alt + Delete menu?

The next time your computer is being cantankerous try this shortcut key combination: Ctrl + Shift + Esc.  Your computer will load Windows Task Manager and allow you to instantly use the troubleshooting tools available in Task Manager.  After all, Windows Task Manager is about resolving your Windows issues and getting you back to the task at hand!

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


Find it Fast with ZUULA!

Does it bother you that the results from search engine to search engine can be very different?  As I sometimes do, you probably run an important search in various search engines just to make certain you did not miss anything important.  Take a minute and experiment with Zuula!

Zuula is really one part metasearch engine and one part time-saver! It searches other engines and brings you individual lists that you can compare and contrast without running multiple searches or opening multiple windows. 

Zuula’s real power is not as much in its search but in its functionality and customization.  Run a search in Zuula and you will get a series of results tabs.  Each tab is a results list from a different search engine.  Simply click the tabs to compare and contrast the results. 

Want to specify which engines are being searched and in which order?  No problem!  Zuula can be customized to poll only the search engines you trust and in an order ranked by you.  You can even set your preferences by type of content (web, images, video, blogs, etc.) being searched. 

Visit www.zuula.com and give it a try!

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


Make Sure “Time Is On Your Side” By Using Office Timeline 2010!

Have you ever had the need to explain an upcoming event or project and to show the underlying project phases/goals to your boss, other colleagues, or clients?

I’m sure you will agree that the biggest challenge is in presenting this information so that everyone easily sees “the big picture.”

Use PowerPoint 2010 and the free Office Timeline 2010 add-in to help you create timelines easily and quickly. Use the Timeline 2010 add-in to assist you in getting the important points across concerning events/projects to your audience as you intended. The good news is (1) Office Timeline 2010 has several time saving built-in wizards, and (2) Timeline 2010 works with either PowerPoint 2010 or PowerPoint 2007!

Click this link to visit the website and watch the demo to see how you can use the Office Timeline 2010 wizard to create timelines. When you’ve finished watching the demo, you can then download the free version of the add-in.

See what Timeline 2010 can do to help you “spruce up” your presentations even more!

For more information on BOSS software offerings, the BOSS degree and certificates, and to see how the BOSS program can help you with your career, contact Becky Jones, Associate Dean, bjones@dcccd.edu 972-238-6215.


My Phone is Missing . . .

Have you ever misplaced your cell phone? Most of us have–at least once–and probably a lot more often. Today’s cell phones are small and lightweight; misplacing them is a common happening.

The easiest way to locate a missing phone is to have someone call your phone. But what do you do when there is no one around?

If you have access to the Internet, there is an easy solution. Simply go to www.icantfindmyphone.com and enter your cell phone number. At no charge, the site will call your phone so that you can hear it ringing and track it down.

It’s a quick solution to a very annoying problem!

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Questions about our Business Office Systems and Support schedule? Contact Becky Jones, Associate Dean, at bjones@dcccd.edu or 972-238-6215


Can Apps Help You With Your Work Productivity?

As we have moved farther down this road called “technology,” more and more devices have appeared on the scene both in our personal and work lives. A few years ago a cell phone was used for one purpose—to make phone calls, and a tablet was something we took with a glass of water!

Today, mobile devices—smartphones and tablets–have evolved to include features that not only help us communicate with others, but also help us navigate the ways in which we do business and complete daily tasks. These features and applications (also called “apps”) will have a lasting change of the world of work.

If you haven’t done so already, explore the possibilities of whether or not a smartphone or a tablet can help you with your work productivity.

Click the links below to review what technology gurus and users are saying about the efficiency of apps on smartphones and tablets:

Is Smartphone Productivity A Myth?

Are Smartphones A Productivity Tool?

Do Smartphones Increase Productivity?

How Can Tablets (iPad, Tab, Xoom, etc.) Change, Affect or Enhance Your Productivity? At Work, Home, or Both?

How Tablets Are Actually Great Productivity Tools

How Are Tablets Being Used in the Business World?

Worker Productivity and the App

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


Are You Managing Your Time…Or Is It Managing You?

We’ve all heard the old saying, “time is money and money is time,” and this saying is even more important today to businesses and employees because of increased competition both domestically and globally.

If you want to improve your professional competitive edge, identify those areas that may be “time wasters” and turn them into “time savers.”

Some time wasters have been identified below along with the ways they can impact you negatively and some tips on overcoming them.

Effects of Poorly Written Communications

  • Written messages that are confusing or vague and that may actually lead to costly mistakes for your organization.
  • Unhappy employees and customers or lost business opportunities.
  • Unnecessary or repetitive messages.
  • Improper use of written communications such as forwarding jokes or other inappropriate material.

Solutions to Improve Written Communications

  • Consider taking courses that can help improve your writing skills.
  • Attend company sponsored writing seminars.
  • Attend writing seminars sponsored by professional organizations.

Effects of Ineffective Verbal Communications

  • Receiving personal phone calls during business hours.
  • Not getting complete information from a caller such as name, phone number, and reason for call.

Solutions to Improve Verbal Communications

  • Limit or eliminate personal phone calls.
  • Repeat the caller’s information and get important details of the call.
  • Always provide the complete number for calls that must be transferred.

Effects of Improper Planning

  • Important details may be missed.
  • Important deadlines may not be met.
  • Key personnel or key elements may be mistakenly omitted.

Solutions to Help You Improve Planning

  • Use electronic calendar and planning tools to help you plan and anticipate your task completion.
  • Analyze and identify the “who, what, and when” of tasks to help you cover key elements for completing tasks.

Effects of Having a “Cluttered, Unorganized” Work Area

  • Important information may be lost or overlooked.
  • Precious time may be wasted because materials must be searched repeatedly for important data.
  • Requests from others for information may be delayed or not completed at all.

Solutions to Help You Streamline and Manage Your Work Area

  • Make good use of filing supplies and guides for hardcopy documents.
  • Use filenames that clearly distinguish your electronic files.
  • Make good use of electronic folders to keep your files in order logically and efficiently.
  • Develop a plan to archive important files.
  • Review your files on a planned periodic basis to see what needs to be kept current, what needs to be archived, and what needs to be deleted (destroyed).
  • Backup your electronic files on a regular, planned basis.
  • Simplify repetitive tasks.
  • Handle paper once.

Effects of Waiting Until the Last Minute

  • All tasks in a project may not be completed.
  • Because you are now rushed, the outcome quality may be poor.
  • Deadlines may be missed and business opportunities lost.
  • You may experience feelings of frustration and irritability.
  • These results may lead to tension and resentment among other coworkers, especially those who depend on your tasks in order to get their work completed.

Solutions to Help You Become A More Effective Planner

  • Use electronic planning and calendar tools to help you plan ahead. Tools such as Outlook, Google Calendar, Windows Calendar Live, or calendar apps on Smartphones can help you tremendously.
  • Follow through on your “to do” lists and enjoy the sense of completion when you can check off tasks as “done”!
  • Establish good exercise, nutrition, and sleep habits.

Incorrect or Insufficient Use of Technology Tools.

  • Low productivity results in more time required to complete tasks, which can equal lost revenue.
  • Not being competitive can equal lost business opportunities.
  • Errors in data and information may go undetected.

Solutions to Help You Master Technology and Become More Software Savvy

  • Consider taking classes that can help you learn certain software applications.
  • Consider getting certified in specific software applications such as Word, Excel, Outlook, etc.  Certification awards can also help you in your current position as well as with future employers.
  • Attend company workshops and seminars on software updates and features.
  • Incorporate mobile devices and their apps into your tasks wherever feasible.

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


Outlook 2010 Calendar

In Outlook 2010, along with the new email features, so many other things in the Outlook Calendar have been added and updated. Let’s look at some of those.

Do you want your calendar shared with a team member but do not need to give that person full access? One new update to Outlook 2010 that I will really use is the ability to email a calendar snapshot.  You can edit the snapshot before sending to change the font or bold a certain appointment.  The snapshot will appear in the body of the email.

To send a calendar snapshot via email, just go to the Home tab and click on “E-mail Calendar”.  Choose the calendar you would like to send, the date range and time period to show, and click OK.  There are other options that you can choose, too, such as the detail level on appointments that you would like the recipient to see.

Another amazing feature is the ability to drag a document onto your calendar so that it will be readily available when you need it for an appointment. If you would like to attach a Word file that you are working on to an appointment, open up your Outlook calendar to the date where you want the file to go, right-click on the Word icon on the taskbar and drag the file onto the calendar page to the time of the appointment.

If you already have an appointment setup in Outlook, you can open that Appointment and drag the file there, as well.  If you do not have an appointment setup already, then it will open up a new appointment window and add the document as an attachment.

Enjoy these tips and tricks for the Outlook 2010 calendar!

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