10 Productivity Tools for Professionals in 2021
8 min read

10 Productivity Tools for Professionals in 2021

**This is a post we transferred over from our OG website. Original post date was January 13th, 2021.**
10 Productivity Tools for Professionals in 2021

It's been a crazy past eight months for Sweet Home Michiana! From our Instagram and blog posts, it might appear that we just run around town, meet with area business owners, and try local restaurants and cafes. However, much of our time is spent doing "businessey stuff." Being able to do more of the fun things we post about is all about efficiency and productivity on the business side of things. Fortunately, we live in an age where there seems to always be a way to improve processes through technology, and we happen to have some experts in that area at Advanced Imaging Solutions to call South Bend neighbors!

We invited Casey Colvin, a Marketing Specialist with Advanced Imaging Solutions, to provide a list of tools that'll help make your 2021 a productive one. Many of these have been helping us in our day-to-day the past few months, and we picked up a few new ones after giving this a read!

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Can you imagine a world without technology? If you are a Millennial or Gen Zer you grew up with technology and have known it the majority, if not all, of your life. With that being said, it would be difficult to imagine a world without technology and particularly, working without it.

When it comes to business, there are specific tools that will aid in your work life. As the saying goes, “You don't know what you don't know!” so, here are 10 tools to help your productivity thrive as a young professional learning to navigate the corporate environment or startup world.

1. Chat Software

Communication is imperative for an organization of any size – and fostering team engagement is the key to any successful culture. So, first you will need a simple way to communicate with your colleagues.

A software like Microsoft Teams or Slack can help streamline your communication and improve collaboration.

Don’t be afraid to break away from professional chatter and have some fun occasionally – this can be the best way to build relationships. The use of GIFs and emojis in your chats allows you to express some creativity!

2. Keyboard Shortcuts

Another great way to improve your efficiency is through the use of keyboard shortcuts. Keyboard shortcuts exist in most applications, to make them simpler to use. The best way to learn shortcuts is to recognize where you experience a delay or frustration and Google it! For example you can search “shortcut for pasting in Excel.”

As you pick up on shortcuts, your work will become a breeze. Here are two handy shortcuts:

Using Emojis

Did you know there’s a keyboard shortcut to add an emoji nearly anywhere? The shortcuts are different depending on whether your device is Windows or Mac.

Windows Users

Window + period (.) or Window + semicolon (;)

Mac Users

Command + Control + Space, or add the emoji keyboard

Moving Windows

The next keyboard shortcut is helpful if you use multiple screens, such as a laptop and a monitor. There’s a quick way to move an open window from one screen to another. Yes, you can click and drag the window, but that's tedious and let's face it, time is money.

Window + Shift + Right or Left Arrow

3. Digital Notebook

Your boss tasked you with an important to-do, so you jotted it down in one of the many notebooks that you are currently working with. It’s time to get to work on the project and here you are flipping through pages of notes trying to remember where you transcribed the details.

Simplify this process by taking your notes digitally. Never lose track with the ability to search and keep everything organized with a product like OneNote or Evernote.

4. Project Management

One of the challenges you'll face as a young professional is staying organized and on task. For this reason, a project management tool will likely be your best friend. When deciding on a management software platform, make sure it gives you the ability to:

  • Collaborate
  • Assign deadlines
  • Integrate with other software
  • Visualize tasks and assignments
  • Automate recurring tasks

There are many project management tools to choose from, such as Microsoft Planner, ClickUp, Monday, and Asana.

5. Screen Capture

You likely take plenty of screenshots on your phone, however, is your work computer capable of screen capture? The ability to capture stills and video of your screen, can be a lifesaver! There are plenty of screen capture tools, however, not all tools can capture video. Two well reviewed, free tools capable of capturing stills and video are, Free Cam for Windows users and QuickTime for Mac users.

6. Chrome Extensions:

Google Chrome has made its way to the top of the web browsers available to choose from. This is due, in part, to the abundance of helpful Chrome Extensions available to users. There are far too many beneficial extensions to list them all here, however, here are two great examples:

OneTab

Do you ever get overwhelmed with the amount of tabs you have open in your browser? If so, OneTab can help. Easily reduce tab clutter by converting them into a list on one tab. All your links will be placed into one tab and can quickly be restored one by one or all at once.

Video and Screen Recorder

Video is the way of the future. Tools such as Vidyard and Soapbox make simultaneous video and screen recording easy. Whether you’re sending a presentation, adding a personal touch to an email, or creating video for a website, these tools make communication via video readily available.

And the best part is the extensions mentioned above are free, like many of the available extensions! Explore what Google Chrome Extensions are available to help you.

7. Email Hacks

Email is a key piece of your day-to-day, but it can a beast to stay on top of and keep organized. If you use Microsoft Outlook for your email service, there are many hacks to help. Here are a few examples:

Rules

Email rules enable you to automatically file emails from an address of your choosing to a specific folder. For example, you can set up a rule to file your favorite email newsletter into a Newsletter folder. The newsletter won’t disrupt your day or clutter your inbox.

Quick Steps

Quick Steps are designed to automate common or repetitive tasks in your email. A few examples include:

  • Move to – moves a message to a specified folder and marks the message as read
  • To Manager – quickly forwards a message to your manager
  • Reply & Delete – opens a reply to the selected message and deletes the original

Each of these Quick Steps essentially becomes a shortcut, making these tasks quicker.

Color Coding

In Outlook, you can use conditional formatting to automatically color code your emails. Whether you want to specify a color for a specific sender, unread emails, or overdue emails, the options are endless.

If you use Gmail for your email service, there are plenty of hacks to help keep your inbox organized. You can find those, here.

8. LinkedIn QR Code

One of the most important parts of business is building relationships. LinkedIn is a convenient way to build a professional network. Be sure to optimize your page and put it to work.

Whether attending a networking event or meeting with other young professionals, LinkedIn is a great tool to stay connected and grow your network. And now it’s easier than ever to get connected. Quickly share your profile with others using your LinkedIn profile QR code on the mobile app.

It can be found in the top right corner of the app.

Once you click the QR button, your code will be ready to use.

9. Design Platform

A great way to build your personal brand on LinkedIn is through creative posts. A free, easy-to-use design tool, such as Canva or Piktochart can help with that. Whether you want to be more creative with your social posts, need to create a flyer, or want to jazz up your next big presentation, these design tools make anyone a designer.

10. How to use a copier

This last hack may sound silly, but you would be surprised by the number of young professionals who don’t actually know how to print, copy or scan using an office copier! With the digital world we live in, many young professionals have never had to use a copier before and this leaves them in the dark. Save yourself the embarrassment of asking a coworker how to make a copy and go in prepared.

All devices work slightly different from one another, however, here are a few pointers.

Print:

When printing a document, locate the correct print device in your print settings. If you’re in an office environment there are likely multiple print devices throughout the office. You will want to select the best device for your print job. Then, double check all your settings. Such as, color vs. B/W, paper size, paper type, duplex, and orientation.

If your organization has a print policy, ensure you adhere to the guidelines.

Copy:

If you need to make a copy of a printed document, first, decide if you will make a copy through the document feeder or on the glass.

Document Feeder

  • Most can scan both sides of a document in one pass
  • Ideal when scanning multiple pages at once
  • Better for common document sizes, such as 8.5x11 or 11x17

Glass

  • Can only scan one side of a document at a time
  • Practical when scanning irregular items such as, receipts, a page from a book, torn and tattered documents

If scanning on the glass, place the document face down. If scanning through the document feed, read the sticker on the device to know how to insert the document. Then, check your device settings. Such as, color vs. B/W, single-sided vs double sided, and number of copies. Finally, hit copy.

Scan:

Scanning is like copying; in that you must decide whether you will use the glass or the document feeder to scan the document. Once you know how you plan to scan it, then decide where to send the document.

Scan to Folder – sends the document to a specified folder on your network

Scan to Email – send the document to an email address you enter manually, or an address in the device contacts

Before hitting scan, ensure you check the settings for color vs. B/W and scan quality, determined in DPI (dots per inch).

If you have any additional questions about how to use the copier, don’t be afraid to ask for help. With these tips you will have at least a little bit of base knowledge and aren’t going in blind.

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The tools above have been very helpful to the team at Advanced Imaging Solutions, and hopefully they help set you up for success as a young professional!

Advanced Imaging Solutions is focused on business productivity, specifically helping companies implement technology to make their everyday work more efficient. For over 25 years, they've been supplying the Michiana area with copier and print technology and have expanded offerings to include IT and networking software and support.

As a Microsoft Gold Partner, Advanced Imaging Solutions can help set your team up with any of the Microsoft products mentioned above. If interested, learn more about Office 365 and contact AIS for information about subscription levels.

Stay up to date with the latest tips and tools by following Advanced Imaging Solutions on LinkedIn.

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Thank you Casey and Advanced Imaging Solutions! Check them out at their website for your business technology needs.