Ideas I’ve stolen
Well, not stolen exactly. Borrowed? Some of them are my own, so you can have them in exchange. All of them have become so much a part of my everyday life (well, except one, number 10) that I’ve almost forgotten what a jump forward it was when I discovered them.
1) You can share an Excel workbook, but the problem is, every so often it updates itself with the changes made by the users and then you all have to wait while it is doing so. Also there are conflicts that build up between updates and they have to be resolved. We switched to Google Drive for a big file that everyone in the office used continuously. It updates live, is always saved, it’s in the clouds so you can access it from anywhere using any device and there’s no standing time or conflict resolution problem. Plus it carries an infinite number of backups (you can easily upload any previous copy).
2) I use two screens on my office and my home computer. That way I can easily have twice as many windows/applications open and visible at the same time. If I want Excel on both of them, I open it twice rather than changing my View. If I use Teamviewer to access my office computer, I can use one screen for the office and the other for the home computer. I can copy and paste between them as if they were in the same place. Alternatively, I can use both screens at home to show both office screens.
3) Because I have two screens, it is often an advantage to see two web pages at the same time, one on each screen (for example when I’m in both the back end and the front end of our website). If you have a number of webpages open in your browser and you want to separate one out, simply left click and drag the tab away from its home and you’ll find that it comes away as a separate window. You can put it back in the opposite way.
4) There are lots of ways to go straight to your desktop without shrinking or closing your open applications. I’ve settled on holding down the Windows key and pressing M. Incidentally, if you’re Teamviewered to another computer it still works. You just have to click your mouse on the distant screen or on your local one (off the edge of the Teamviewered window) before hitting the shortcut.
5) Teamviewer is a must. Find it on http://www.teamviewer.com/
6) All of our electronic documents (including every email) are filed on our server under what we call “client docs”. The structure is that every client, supplier etc has their own folder as in Client docs/C/Clientname for example Client docs/S/Springett DP. It’s easy to find anything by opening the relevant folder then sorting by date, by name or by searching for a word. If you do this, then file your emails by dragging them from your Sent box or In box to the client folder rather than “Saving” them there. Be careful to drag the attachments separately as these could get lost if you file another email with the same title over one that had attachments. We also have a convention for intra office emails – it is the sender’s responsibility to file them. Also you’ll find it best to handle all of your emails from the office (via Teamviewer) so that you can file them into client docs directly.
7) Type up your medical history and keep it up to date. Then whenever you go to see a specialist take a copy with you and hand it in with the registration form. No need to fill in that interminable questionaire!
8) Download Waze onto your smartphone. It forewarns you of speed traps, cameras, accidents, traffic jams etc and it is kept bang up to date by yourself and other wazers.
9) Keep an Excel file on all of your desktops with your passwords, spouse’s ID, company VAT number etc. Password protect it.
10) Keep a “When I die” document on all of your desktops. In it give detailed instructions about your affairs, bank details, insurance policies, where your Will is etc. This is particularly important if, like me, your affairs are complicated. Make sure your spouse and your executor know about it. They must also know the password for the “Passwords” file.
11) Forget Search Engine Optimisation, visit http://www.google.com/adwords/ if you haven’t done so already. We spend R20 000 a month on Adwords and it is so worthwhile that I’m proposing to double this for 2014. You can start small (we started on R2 000 per month) and grow the spend as you see the results.
If you’ve got any tips, drop a comment and share them with us all. If you want help with any of mine, drop me an email. firstname.lastname@example.org
Should you wish to make an appointment, please feel free to visit Derek’s diary and book a time that suits you.