increase_efficiencyIt’s all about working smarter, not harder.  But it’s not the case in every office – you’ve got the hard worker – concentrated on his screen, hardly talking, phone off the hook to avoid distractions – cell phone firmly in its pouch, in his back pocket, ringer off – and he’s churning out sales proposals.  Next to him, somewhat more relaxed, on the phone, texting on his phone, humming to himself – but also churning out sales proposals – in fact, DOUBLE the amount than his hard working peer next to him.  The boss comes along – they see the phone, the reclined chair, the relaxed state, the multitasking, the coffee, the chatting – and then the question: “How many proposals have you sent out?” 40 is the answer.  Then comes the little pep talk to enthuse you to work more like the guy next to you – increase your output, get more done, feel better, etc – but you can’t help notice the look on his face when he moves on to give a couple of words of encouragement to the hard working guy next to you – you heard him ask how many proposals he’d sent, and you knew the answer – 18.

What’s the unfair advantage here?  Why has one person in the same position and business produced double what someone else has?

Let’s start with typing – yesterday I sent out 76 emails during the day – mainly sales emails, and on a study of 25 of them, I established that I type an average of 78 words per email.  The last time I checked my typing speed, I was typing 61 words per minute.   There are people who can type a lot faster than that – but one study I found shows that the average speed for typing is 33 words per minute – and I know people who type a lot slower than that.  So using my emails as an example, in theory, it should have taken me 98 minutes (Note to self: make sure that ties up with my timesheet).  For the average user, the same emails would have taken 180 minutes, and to a slow user – 258 minutes.

So I’m not quite double the average user.

But wait, I didn’t even type all of those 78 words per email…. how many people are using Quickparts in Outlook to insert blocks of text that they often use?  Addresses, pricelist, links to websites, personal recommendations, instructions, phone numbers, etc???  I just went through my email analysis and took out the “canned” parts of each email, leaving just the words I actually typed – my average words per email is now down to 64, down from 78.  At my typing speed of 61 words per minute – this took me 79 minutes to type up – which means that I am now producing MORE than double the average user, in the same amount of time.

But this is not the only thing I did – during the day I also made 21 entries in my timesheet – I’ve automated it with macros now and it only takes me a fraction of a second to enter the date and time, where before it took me a few seconds, plus you have to look up the time – so that’s probably 5 minutes saved a day.

I also sent out some enrolment forms for our Microsoft Office training courses, this used to take me about 4 minutes per order – I have now got it down to less than one minute per order – again, thanks to macros and automation.  I processed 9 orders yesterday, so I saved about 30 minutes in that process alone.

I really have lost track of all the shortcuts that I just do without thinking – how do you send an email?  Do you still use the mouse to click the Send button?  If I had used that method, I would have used up another 20 minutes or so yesterday.  You use the CTRL ENTER keyboard shortcut for that.

So, get this – if you use a computer a lot during the day, and you haven’t done training, you could be getting a whole heap more done – you’re wasting time.  We offer excellent online training for Microsoft Office which actually gets you to do hands-on activities – you SEE, HEAR and DO – the best way to learn.

And, if you have processes in Excel that could be automated, you need to get someone like us to have a look at them to see what can be done to streamline them – we offer Excel consultancy services as part of the thisisIT subscription.

Get smart today, sweat less, train more, get more proposals, get more sales, get more production, get more whatever, but go GET MORE!

P.S.: We don’t do typing courses, but I would recommend www.goodtyping.com

Article by Matthew Steele – LinkedIn Profile