I don’t watch the television show Celebrity Apprentice, but I recently saw an advertisement for it that stunned me. In the commercial, show contestant and former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich is sitting at a computer attempting to type. I use the word “attempting” because it is obvious in the clip that Blagojevich has no idea where the keys are on the computer’s keyboard. A man who has held the highest elected office in his state cannot type (or at least couldn’t type at the time the video crews captured the scene). Forget his scandal, I cannot fathom how inefficient this one man made his state’s government simply because he can’t type. The hours he must have wasted just responding to e-mail!
After watching this advertisement, and then again after reading the article “80 Ways to Steal Valuable Minutes for Your Work Day,” I have been thinking about basic skills that increase productivity — skills that are so obvious and fundamental to my behavior that I don’t typically think about doing them. In fact, they’re so obvious that I really had a difficult time composing a list.
Eleven extremely obvious skills to save you time:
- Improve your typing speed.
- Improve the legibility of your handwriting.
- Write stuff down.
- Read the manuals on the software programs you use regularly.
- Read the instructions.
- Work while at work.
- Group like tasks together.
- Store items that are used most often in the most convenient places.
- When you’re finished using something, put it away.
- Learn and use people’s names.
- Use a shopping list.
I know that I’m missing even more obvious productivity skills, so please add to this list in the comments. What are the most basic of basic things each of us can do to save time?