Ten simple computer tips to help you stay productive

Computer Tips

Some of us want to race through our to-do list and leave the office behind, while others put in long hours to get things done. But often than not, we aren’t able to accomplish everything on our lists, and if you spend your working at a computer, those fiddly little tasks that time – hunting for files, filling in forms and dismissing endless notifications – can all mount up and make you less productive.

However, there are some simple tricks and tips that can help save time – here are some of our favourites.


If you don’t already know them, keyboard shortcuts can save valuable time when reporting or working with large amounts of data. Easily move text by selecting it all (Ctrl + A) then Ctrl + C (copy) and Ctrl + V (paste). Ctrl + Z will undo your recent action or Ctrl + Y will redo it. Ctrl + N will open a new document and you can save it with Ctrl + S. If your day is typically spent multitasking – Alt + Tab will switch between programs.

Setting up hotkeys

You can perform frequent tasks such as launching a website with the push of a single button – no address typing, browsing folders or clicking icons. A hotkey is a combination of keyboard buttons that execute a command. It sounds complicated, but it’s fairly simple to set up. Find the application or folder you want to add the shortcut to – right click and choose ‘properties’, then enter a ‘shortcut key’. Windows will automatically add a Ctrl + Alt in front. Be careful if you create too many – you might just forget them.

Pinning recent items

A jump list is a convenient way to start your apps. Instead of trawling through your files looking for the presentation you worked on yesterday – you’ll find it in your taskbar. To set this up, right-click on an application to pin to your taskbar then right-click on the icon in the taskbar to pin specific documents.

Print to PDF

Dealing with PDFs and sending people PDFs seems to be a regular workplace occurrence. It’s easy to save things straight to a PDF without having to deal with slow loading and updates from third party programs. Just right-click, print, then chose the PDF option – super simple.

Turn off notifications

When you just want to get on with your work, it’s frustrating having email notifications pop up every two minutes – some of which are probably irrelevant. To turn them off whilst you knuckle down and do your work, go to your settings and then system or notifications. From there you can set your computer to do not disturb.

Clean up your PC

Buying a new computer isn’t always possible as soon as your old one starts to slow – but there are some things you can do to make it run a little faster. Update your hardware – adding more RAM can help make things run faster and give you more space to store important files. Remove old files, scan for viruses and other malware – this could be slowing your computer down without you realising. Ask your IT provider to check for threats.

Schedule updates

How many times have you had to sit through a software update…a lot probably? Updates are necessary but sometimes they can take hours, leaving you twirling your thumbs at your desk whilst you wait for it to finish. In your system settings you can change the active hours so that updates will only happen when you are not using your PC – or scheduled at a specific time.

Manage emails

It’s a good idea to set up rules so that incoming messages move into certain folders – this way if you get an email from your employer you’ll know where to find it. If you need to backtrack to two weeks ago – it will take significantly less time to find what you’re looking for. In Microsoft Outlook there is a ‘Rules’ tab in the main menu.

Search hacks

Most of us use Google every day, but do we know how to get the most out of it? To search for an exact phrase, use quotation marks around it. Add a dash before a word to exclude a search term (useful if a word has several meanings). Search within a site, a number range and even find the missing word in a phrase. There are many more search features you can use – just google it.

Collate data

If you’re working in excel, the VLOOKUP formula can look up and retrieve data from a specific column in a table – if you’re working with inventory or need to find an employee based on an ID it’s a quick way to sift through masses of information.

These computer tips take minutes to set up and are a sure way to improve your productivity. At Aura, we can help your business with software integration and offer fully managed IT support so you can make better use of your time – don’t hesitate to contact us for a chat.