Tag Archives: office productivity

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


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.


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


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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



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.


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.


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.


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.



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.


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.


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/

Top Job Search Apps for the Android and iPhone

As we rely more and more on smartphones and other mobile devices, more tasks—such as looking for jobs and enhancing your career—will shift to these devices.

If you own a smartphone and you are looking for a job, there are two web sites you really need to visit:  TheUnderCoverRecruiter.com and Careerrocketeer.com. Both sites have posted information and reviews for a number of job search apps for the Android and iPhone. The good news is that most of the apps are free, which means you have even greater access to a vast pool of job vacancies.

The table below is a list of the top job apps for each phone, but visit the web sites links noted above to get more in-depth information about each app. Happy hunting!

Android iPhone
LinkedIn Jobs by CareerBuilding.com
Best Resume Tips Monster.com Jobs
Job Search by Indeed.com Job Search by Indeed.com
Monster Job Search Job Search Engine by LinkUp.com
LinkUp Job Search Engine Simply Hired
Evernote SnagAJob
ResumeMaker On-the-Go Craiglist for iPhone
ResumeBear JobAware Lite
RealTweets Job Networking JobAware
Hire *a*Droid JobCompass
What Color Is Your Parachute? Job-Interview Tool
Business Card Reader
SnapDat Digital Business Cards
Picket Resume
Resume App
Monster.com Interviews
101 Great Answers to the Toughest Interview Questions
Interview Prep Questions
Interview Pro
Interview Buzz Lite
Interview Buss PRO

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.

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.

Register Now for Fall 2012 Semester!
Registration is already underway for this Fall semester at Richland College, so get a head start by signing up today! Fall classes begin Monday, August 27 and end on Thursday, December 13.

There are plenty of on-campus and online BOSS classes to choose from. Click this link to look at the BOSS lineup for Fall.

The BOSS class offerings range from classes in computer literacy basics, basic keyboarding, business math, records management, office procedures etc., to becoming proficient in the Microsoft Office applications—Excel, Word, PowerPoint, Access, and Publisher that so widely used in offices today.

Get a “leg up” and improve your employment chances by getting your Microsoft Certification in Word or Excel or Access or PowerPoint! The BOSS dedicated Microsoft Office application courses are designed to prepare you for the Microsoft Certification exams.

If you need to improve your business writing or grammar skills, consider the Business Correspondence and Communication class or Business English.

***IMPORTANT***If you plan to take on-campus classes but you did not attend the Spring 2012 semester, you must show proof of having had the meningitis vaccination. Please have your doctor fax the appropriate form to the Registrar’s office. This form must be received BEFORE you can be cleared to register. You can get more details by clicking this link.

However, if you plan to take online BOSS classes, you can secure a waiver for the meningitis vaccination by clicking this link also.

Don’t delay! Enhance your professional growth and skills by taking BOSS classes that can help you right now as well as in the future!

For more information on BOSS Fall course offerings, the BOSS degree and certificates, 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.

Let Microsoft OneNote 2010 Help You Get Organized!

Are you working on a project that involves collecting data from several applications or sources? Are you are at the stage in the project where you are just “jotting down” and collecting ideas? Let Microsoft’s OneNote 2010 help you collect and organize your thoughts.

Although OneNote has been around since the 2003 Office version, many people are still not aware of the package or its ability to help with planning and bringing information together effectively.

OneNote acts as a “one-stop” digital notebook for gathering and putting all of your material together for a project or for developing ideas.

For example, getting that 10-page feasibility report file from Word, along with some charts from the sales data in Excel, and important images from the company’s web site, and those key multimedia slides from last month’s Chicago PowerPoint presentation can now be collected, “scrap booked,” and assembled in OneNote, which is not restricted by margins or space. OneNote 2010 is fully integrated with the other Office 2010 products.  You can also sync your OneNote files with your desktop, laptop, SmartPhone app, tablet, and the cloud.

If you need to get input from others by having them contribute information/data to the project, it is very easy to collaborate with them, or perhaps you just want to hear what they have to say about the project, you know, letting them add their “2 cents worth.” You decide!

As offices move from being heavily dependent on paper to being places that are more focused on the “paperless” digital world, packages such as OneNote will become more commonplace.

For anyone interested in adding another certification accomplishment to his or her skills set and resume, OneNote has become Microsoft’s latest productivity software package to join the MOS certification group. You can get more details by visiting Microsoft’s certification partner Certiport.

Find out more about this package today by looking at one of Microsoft’s introductory free training videos on OneNote 2010.

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.

Do The Visuals In Your Presentation Really Make A Difference?

According to Dave Johnson they do!

With communicators including more and more visuals in their presentations (such as photos, SmartArt and WordArt, and other built-in PowerPoint graphics) visuals now play a bigger role in the overall success (or lack of success) of your message.

In his August 2011 article for CBS MoneyWatch, noted author Dave Johnson emphasizes the need to follow some basic design rules when developing visuals for your presentation. You need to keep two key areas in mind when planning your visuals: (1) “consistency (from slide to slide and across your text and graphics) and (2) readability (so it’s easy on the eyes no matter where in the room someone is sitting).”

When you begin preparing visuals for your next presentation, be sure that you follow Dave’s top ten design suggestions:

  1. Use thicker lines for visibility
  2. Use the same line width everywhere in presentation
  3. Use shapes instead of lines for readability and visual interest
  4. Line everything up on a grid
  5. Use size to convey importance; don’t vary box sizes just to accommodate larger text labels
  6. Don’t spam the slide with lots of different graphic styles (your visuals will take on an “amateurish” look)
  7. Don’t use more than three unique colors
  8. Use primary colors—red, green, blue
  9. Use bright backgrounds—don’t put text or graphics against grey or black
  10. Don’t use colors that are very similar—your projector probably can’t make an obvious distinction

Johnson also includes a link to a SlideShare presentation that does an excellent job of illustrating the dos and don’ts of visual design. These slides provide quick, simple examples and tips that can help you prepare a winning presentation!

Source: Dave Johnson, CBS MoneyWatch, “10 Rules for Smart-Looking Presentations”, August 3, 2011. <http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505143_162-28652078/10-rules-for-smart-looking-presentations/?tag=bnetdomain>

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.