Monday, July 16, 2007

Two ways to boost your productivity

Recently we've found two ways to really boost our productivity. The first is using dual screens on our desktops. Our new HP desktop machines not only came with Vista but also came with dual video outputs (digital and analogue). Initially we set up the analogue since it was easier but recently we have finally gotten around to also enabling the digital output. After a little bit of fiddling and locating a suitable monitor we are proud to say that we have it all working. Boy, what a difference extra screen real estate makes. On one screen we have our Outlook open so we can see all our emails and on the other we have all our other applications like web browser, word processor and the like. We can't tell you how much easier it is to work with two documents at the same time if you can actually view them simultaneously. You can be doing research on the web while remoted into a client's machine all without having to minimize windows. Totally brilliant and we recommend it to all. We now wonder whether adding more than two monitors to our desktops would increase productivity even further?

The second method we have found of increasing our productivity is by using Microsoft OneNote. Having used OneNote before we found that it really didn't suit our needs but the new version is certainly and improvement. We have installed the OneNote data notebooks on a network drive and shared it between multiple machines. This now means we can simply cut and paste from one machine and retrieve it on another. Even better we can take ONeNote 'offline' and use it stand alone and then have it automatically resync when we return to the office. This make it particularly handy when we take our notebook PC offsite. We can pump all our client notes into it quickly and easily and then when we return to the office it is sync'ed with our other notebooks as well as being backed up. We think that it is a boon that lots of the information we used to jot down in paper notebooks can now be stored in OneNote, allowing it to be searchable.

As with any productivity improvement there is an upfront hit in getting the systems working but both duall displays and OneNote have begun to make a real impact to our productivity and we thus recommend them to all.