Businesses are really pushing efficiency of their work force, doing everything they can to get more out of their employees. More and more of our daily tasks are becoming computer-centric and many people, young professionals included, are still wasting a lot of time on the computer using methods and processes that technically get the job done, but at a much slower pace.
While a more advanced user might be able to create macros and implement new systems that improve the efficiency of their common tasks, even the less geeky of us out there can really improve our performance by making a few small adjustments to how we think about using our computer.
Often times my co-workers are surprised at how fast I am able to complete assignments that take some people nearly twice as long to complete, and the reality is I didn’t cut corners and I’m definitely not a genius, but rather I used keyboard short-cuts to help speed up my work. Short-cuts such as holding Ctrl + C to copy text is essentially common knowledge, but when watching people work I have been surprised to see how many people continue to fall back to what they simply feel comfortable doing… they right click to bring up the menu where they can click on “copy”.
It may seem like only a difference of a few seconds at most, but I guarantee that if you learn just a handful of keyboard shortcuts and make them second nature for you, you will start saving minutes and even hours so you can get more done in the day, or at least get home a little earlier.
Below are some of the most common keyboard shortcuts that can really save you time. Select a couple and make a conscious effort to use the shortcuts instead of using your old methods. When you feel like you automatically use your new shortcuts regularly, select another 2 and continue the process of improving your speed. All of these shortcuts are meant for a Windows machine, but if you are running OSX or Linux just do a quick Google search to find their equivalent shortcuts (They are typically very similar).
Cut, Copy and Paste (Ctrl+X, Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V) – Probably the most famous bunch of them all, but also some of the biggest time savers as well. Don’t waste time retyping the same words over and over again. Ctrl+C once and go crazy with the Ctrl+Vs.
Save (Ctrl+S) – Whether you are working in Word, Excel, Photoshop or Outlook it is always good habit to hit save every so often just incase your computer freezes or you accidentally close your window. Using Ctrl+S, you can quickly save without having to take your hands away from the keyboard.
Select All (Ctrl+A) – Need to select evenything? Don’t waste time clicking across all that text or right clicking to select all, just use this shortcut to highlight all the text or images you want to select.
Switching between windows (Alt+Tab) – Another famous shortcut and an excellent one to use as well. Especially if you have to switch between the same two windows repeatedly, this shortcut will allow your work to flow much smoother without the interruption of having to click your way back and forth.
Print (Ctrl+P) – If you’re like me, I still have to print quite a bit of my work and depending on what you are doing the print button isn’t even always in the same place. Ctrl+P can be used with most programs that let you print.
Show your desktop (Windows+D) – If you are like many multi-taskers out there you may have a lot of windows open at once but might need to grab or open something that is on your desktop. Instead of navigating your way to the desktop using Explorer or minimizing all of your windows, you can just hit the key the Windows key (between the Ctrl and Alt keys) and the D key in order to see your desktop. Press the shortcut again and all your windows will reappear right where they were.
Undo (Ctrl+Z) – We all make mistakes, and unfortunately not all programs even have an undo button, but with this shortcut you’ll be able to undo things you didn’t even know you could undo!
Lock your Workstation (Windows+L) – If you work in a field where confidentiality is important, you are probably used to locking your screen every time you step away from the computer. Instead of wasting time opening windows and click everywhere, just use this shortcut to immediately get to your lock screen, allowing you to get up and leave your computer in a jiffy.