Tag 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.


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.

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/

Let Excel’s Text Functions Help You “Save The Day”!

Have you ever been faced with the situation of having to import text from another source into Excel, and then to your dismay, discovered that the text did not look presentable? The text is either in all capitals or all lowercase letters–it’s not formatted in a professional manner.

Let’s say that you have imported data from a mainframe that included a large number of names of individuals, but the names appear in all lowercase letters. Your dilemma is you need to include the imported information as part of a larger report in Excel, and that the report must be formatted correctly and presented to your boss for an upcoming meeting. At this point, you are probably saying to yourself, “I will need to spend precious time re-typing so that it looks presentable, and I already have a million other things to do!” You might also be thinking to yourself, I know that I can use the Find and Replace feature, but I will have to be very careful so that no text is replaced in error.”

If you want your names to appear with the first letter of each name capitalized, simply use Excel’s PROPER function to help you.

In our example, we will use the names of individuals and their departments to illustrate how easy it is to use the PROPER function:

1.  Insert a blank column to the right of each column that you want to change. Then be sure to copy the appropriate column heading names at the top of the new columns:

2.  Type the PROPER function with the cell reference of the item to the left. In our example, we’ll use  =PROPER(A2)

3.  Copy the formula into the remaining cells where you want to see the names appear in the correct format.

4.  Repeat Steps 2 and 3 for the new Department column.

5.  When you have finished, simply right click on the Column A heading to get the shortcut menu and then select Hide Column. (IMPORTANT: Don’t delete the old column because you will lose your cell references and get error messages in your new column.) Then do the same for Column C. A screen shot of the final results appears below. There are a number of text functions that can help you. You can explore them by clicking on the Formulas tab and clicking the drop-down arrow for the Text icon in the Function Library Group.

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.