Improving the workflow is something many of us aspire to do. We work hard every day to meet deadlines and expectations from colleagues, managers and ourselves, why shortcuts or ways to work more efficiently is a blessing. Here, we give you three ways you can improve your workflow to become more effective at work.
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Making the most of keyboard shortcuts
Keyboard shortcuts are a combination of keypresses that allow you to perform specific tasks in your software more rapidly. As such, many applications use them to help speed up workflow and increase efficiency. For example, in Microsoft Word for PC, there are many popular shortcuts. Ctrl+Enter allows the user to insert a page break, CTRL+Shift+L creates a bullet point, and CTRL+Shift+> will increase font size in a document. These are just a few examples, and the shortcuts you use will depend on the type of work. Once mastered, they are a great time saver and available in just about any software package, from Microsoft Office applications to Adobe Photoshop.
There are a couple of potential issues, however, which can make shortcuts a hassle to use. Most people only use a few, as they can be difficult to remember, and many computer workers will persist in mousing to the drop-down menus at the top of their screen to find the function they need. Ironically, keyboard shortcuts will be shown next to each function so that you can learn them easily, but this point loses any efficiency advantage.
Unless you remember them for next time.
Less acrobatics – more actual work
Another issue is the physical load that is placed on computer users.
The act of releasing your mouse to find keys on a keyboard is not just distracting from the work at hand. If you are doing repetitive work, you also need to consider the physical wear and tear on your hands and arms. 3D designers and video editors use software that commonly uses keyboard shortcuts, and this can mean hundreds of repeated movements every day, sometimes requiring impressive finger acrobatics on the keyboard. While creative types often work very fast, this repetition often leads to repetitive strain injuries.
To improve workflow and to reduce pain and strain, Contour RollerMouse has a few shortcut buttons built-in. All models have ‘Copy’ and ‘Paste’ buttons, for instance, two of the most popular keyboard shortcuts which CTRL+C or CTRL+V would otherwise access on your keyboard. In addition, a ‘Double-Click’ button is designed to make it easy to open new applications or folders on your computer. Press it once instead of twice as you would with a standard mouse. It is estimated that the average office worker makes up to 2 million clicks on a mouse every year, so the logic of potentially halving that number suddenly makes sense.
Programming is your friend
It’s also possible to introduce your favourite keyboard shortcuts to RollerMouse by installing our optional driver’s app, available free for PC & Mac. The app allows you to easily map your favourite combination keyboard presses to any button on RollerMouse. This means that you have your favourite shortcuts close to your hand, don’t need to use your keyboard as much, and will not be slowed down by being distracted from your computer screen.
A great example of using keyboard shortcuts on a PC would be to assign Alt-Tab to a button you do not use often. This will allow you to cycle through open applications with a click of a button and without the need to navigate clumsy onscreen menus to find the app you want. This is just one simple idea as RollerMouse can be re-programmed to work differently in any app you choose, making it highly flexible.
Whatever you need to do, if you’re looking to improve your workflow, take a look at using some keyboard shortcuts. There are some great examples here if you’re new to this. You’re unlikely to remember all of them, but even a handful can make a difference. If you’re using a RollerMouse, take a look at re-programming some of the button functions as well. You’ll be amazed at what you can achieve.