Here are some simple life hacks that are sure to make your day-to-day workflow a smoother affair at the office. Each of these should apply to most office jobs, and can save time, resources, sanity—or all of the above.
Multi-browser approach to Flash Player
Adobe Flash has long been a popular vector for malware. With HTML5 becoming more popular, Flash’s relevance is fading. Still, some sites still require the once-standard plugin to play video content. Disabling and enabling Flash on an as-needed basis is kind of a pain. So what to do?
Simple. Disable Flash Player in your main browser—the one you use for financial transactions and handling other sensitive data. When you need to use Flash, use another browser that has Flash enabled. It will save you steps along the way.
Clean copy-paste of oddly formatted text
Quoting text from a web page can wreck havoc on the formatting of your Word document or Powerpoint deck. There are a couple simple ways to cleanse copy you pull from a web page so it will follow your document’s formatting when you paste it.
- You can first paste the copied text into the URL bar of a web browser.
- You can first dump the copied text into Notepad.
- In Microsoft Word, use CTRL+Shift+V instead of just CTRL+V when pasting into your document.
All three of these techniques should make quoting web text neat and painless.
Always get accurate ink cartridge readings
Whenever you get the “low ink” warning, it always pays to double check before replacing the cartridge. Most cartridges have a small reset button near the circuit board. Use the end of a paperclip to engage the button and hold for a few seconds. Reinstall the cartridge and check your ink levels again—you may notice a different reading this time.
Reduce eye strain when working at night
If your office gets dark after hours but you are still working, positioning a small lamp behind your monitor greatly reduces eyestrain. This concept is called bias lighting. It works by raising ambient light levels in the viewing area without shining a light back at the viewer. It helps improve perception of contrast, cutting down on the work your eyes and brain undertake to help you see properly in the dark.
You can purchase bias lighting monitor kits, or make your own with a simple lamp and clamp. Just put a light source behind the monitor and you are all set.
Remove permanent marker from the dry erase board
Somebody took a Sharpie to the dry erase board at the office? No problem. Simply trace over the dry permanent ink with the normal dry-erase whiteboard marker. Apply the eraser and both marks will be gone. Makes you want to try it just to see if it works. It does!
Toggle airplane mode on and off for better mobile reception
Change to an ugly font for better proofreading
When reviewing a document that you have prepared, change the font to something you don’t like. For me, it’s Garamond. The idea is that you will proofread your work more critically this way. Another trick is to put your draft through a text to speech program; this is especially useful for finding words you have forgotten, places where wording could be improved and other such things that are often overlooked. If that doesn’t work, reading the document backwards may help you better spot mistakes.
Have any simple life hacks you think we should know about—let us know in the comments!