Whether you’re working from home, a college student, entrepreneur or just a good old-fashioned procrastinator these tips are for you! We cover the basics to the more obscure to save you time, impress your boss, get that raise!
Most of these tips are focused on ways to get through a workday faster, especially if you have one of those jobs that involves staring at a computer screen for long periods of time.
We hope you find something useful, and we’ll update it regularly with new and exciting productivity tips and tricks!
Table of Contents
- Use GifCap to record animated gifs for free
- Download Microsoft Power Toys for Windows
- How to Download
- Rename Many Files at One Time
- Copy Anything with Quick OCR
- Windows Color Picker Tool
- Check out Chat GPT – General Language AI Bot
- Chat GPT for Programming and Formulas
- Chat GPT for help writing Trashy Romance Novels
- Automate Recurring Tasks with Power Automate
- Use a Decent Computer
- Stay Up to Date on New Software Features
- Embrace Microsoft Planner
How to Easily Record Gif Animations for Free
If a picture is worth a thousand words, is an animated gif worth a million? One of the best ways to share an animated gif with your team is by using gifcap. It’s an online tool that’s available through your web browser, meaning that you don’t even have to download anything!
Download Microsoft Power Toys
The tools can be a bit on the nerdy side but are super useful and can be really big time savers. We’ll highlight just few of the use cases, but check it out there is so much it can do that you’ll find something to love. The tools are constantly being added to and expanded, so stay up to date by following their progress on the official Microsoft Power Toys Website
How do you download Microsoft Power Toys?
By far the easiest way to download Microsoft Power Toys is through the Microsoft store. The more difficult way is to go the Power Toys Github page and follow the install instructions.
Link to the Microsoft Store
Hard way link through Github
Power Toys – PowerRename
Ever need to rename a bajillion files in a folder at the same time? Sadly, we have too! Fortunately, PowerRename is a utility that lets you rename all of the files in a folder all at once. You can select the files and do simple renaming, or you can get super fancy and use Regular Expressions (RegEx)
RegEx is like using super find and replace but can be a bit of a beast to learn. If you’re curious to learn more, a great tool is Regex Learn – Regex Interactive Course
Power Toys – Text Extractor Utility (OCR)
Windows has a built-in Optical Character Recognition (OCR) engine. This tool allows you to press WINDOWS + SHIFT + T to copy any text that’s visible on your screen.
It works on PDF files, and as a way to copy and paste from a Virtual Machine that isn’t setup with a universally shared clipboard.
Color Picker Tool
The graphically inclined people might be excited to learn that Power Toys includes a Universal Color Picker. It lets you select any color on your screen and see the HEX, RGB, or HSL coding.
Check out Chat GPT to Boost Productivity
Chat GPT is developed by OpenAI and recently received a huge investment from Microsoft. It’s an AI Chat Bot that has been trained on massive general datasets and programming datasets.
This means that you can ask it a question like, how do I write a Dax formula in Power BI and it will give you an answer. Be careful though, it’s not always 100% correct, but it’s pretty dang impressive.
Fun Fact: You can also use Chat GPT to write paragraphs of trashy romance novels.
Example of AI Generated Trashy Romance Novel Paragraph
As the sun set over the small town of Willow Creek, Emily couldn’t shake the feeling that something was off. She had just moved back to her hometown after a decade away, and everything seemed different. But it wasn’t until she met the mysterious and alluring Jake, the local bad boy with a dark past, that she realized just how deep the secrets of Willow Creek ran. They were drawn to each other like moths to a flame, but as their passion deepened, Emily began to uncover a sinister web of lies and deception that threatened to tear them apart. Will their love be strong enough to survive the darkness that threatens to consume them, or will it be their undoing?
-Chat GPT, Open AI (Watch out Nora Roberts!)
You can access it here: ChatGPT: Optimizing Language Models for Dialogue (openai.com)
Google is currently working on a competitor to Chat GPT called Bard and will likely be released soon. Microsoft has already begun integrating Chat GPT technology into its products such as Bing! Search.
Automate Recurring Tasks with Power Automate
Power Automate is Microsoft’s Robotic Process Automation (RPA) tool. There is a cloud version and a desktop version. It allows you to automate routine tasks to save yourself a lot of time.
Complex automations can take a long time to setup, and there is a decent amount of skill involved in getting automations working. Microsoft is making it easier and easier for people to use these tools with features like Describe it to Design it where you describe a task in plain English and it suggests a pre-made workflow for you. Learn more from our in depth article here: Use Describe it to Design it to Generate Power Automate Flows (www.popautomation.com)
Use a Decent Computer and Monitor Setup
This seems like a no-brainer but many companies will offer Accountants, Analysts, and other professionals a decent salary and benefits package then give them an under-powered out of date laptop to do their work on. It’s a total productivity killer!
Note: Be wary of pay per click and affiliate marketing top 10 lists. Many websites will offer up top 10 lists that serve links for places to buy products. They often have not used the products or have minimal real world experience.
Our go-to places to buy laptops are Physical Stores with Good Return Policies. Think of places like Best Buy or Costco. Even if you have to pay a re-stocking fee, it’s less expensive than being saddled with something you don’t like and can’t return. Make sure that the laptop has a good processor, lots of memory, and a decent screen. If you’re going to be spending a decent amount of time using it, you want it to be fast to avoid becoming a drag on productivity.
Stay up to date on New Software Features
Always be on the lookout for new features coming to the software you are already using. Most software companies publish release plans and feature release dates. A lot of time is wasted if you don’t know that a feature exists or you will spend time trying to fix a problem that an upcoming update will fix.
For example, Microsoft issues a release plan for their Power Platform which includes Power BI, Power Automate, Power Apps, and Power Pages. The roadmap is frequently updated and can be found through a Google or Bing search. Microsoft Power Platform 2023 release wave 1 plan overview | Microsoft Learn
If you don’t use the Microsoft Power Platform, almost everyone uses Excel, and they’re still adding new features. Check out the Office 365 roadmap here: Microsoft 365 Roadmap | Microsoft 365
They’re always coming out with some cool new features like re-inventing old school macros with Office Scripts, improving integration with Power Automate, letting you embed pictures into cells, task tracking using @ symbols, along with a bunch of other time saving features.
Embrace Microsoft Planner or Similar Tools
There are a lot of planning and project management tools out there. Asana.com and Monday.com are two of the biggest on the market. If you spend any time on YouTube you’ll probably be exposed to their ads.
Microsoft includes a simplified version of similar software called Microsoft Planner. It’s incredibly useful for staying organized and lets you setup project plans or use cards to track various steps of a to-do list. It can be found at tasks.office.com