My fiancée’s mother is a consultant to high-risk schools in southeast Michigan, and her job requires many hours of computer work. Computer work did not fall within her job description back when she was still a classroom teacher, so she never became a computer expert. Like many in her generation, she can use computers when she needs to, but learning new tricks takes her a long time. For years, she had an old, gigantic HP laptop, complete with 17” monitor and a battery that lasted all of twenty minutes. She frequently lost work when her laptop power cord fell out and her battery quickly died. She always found reasons not to bring along that eight-pound behemoth when visiting schools. Every time I saw her doze off while waiting for her computer to boot up, shut down, or even open Microsoft Word, I would ask why she didn’t just buy a new one. “It’s not broken,” she’d say, “and they’re expensive.”
All told, she had literally spent hours waiting for her computer to do what she asked it to do. There is never enough time in the day, so why let precious minutes slip away waiting for technology to keep up? Every year, computers get faster, internet bandwidth gets expanded, and new technologies emerge that can help us work more efficiently. If it has been a few years since your last technology purchase, perhaps it is time to take a look around. Have you heard of Solid State Disk Drives (SSDs)? If you spend a few minutes a day waiting for your computers to boot, shutdown, and open programs or files, you may benefit from the superfast file access of these drives.
Are you still using that old minimize button? Why not invest $150 and have a large second monitor so that you can have all of your windows open at the same time? This small investment can boost your (or your front desk staff’s) productivity exponentially!
Not every productivity boost requires you to write a check. If you find yourself writing the same phrase over and over again, maybe you should investigate text expansion applications that can spit out your favorite phrases when you type a shortcut. For example, typing “drba” could automatically be expanded to “discussed the risks, benefits, and alternatives to the proposed treatment.”
It’s Friday! Think about all of the time that you spent this week waiting for technology to work for you. Where are the bottlenecks that are impacting your efficiency? See where a little investment can yield great dividends and don’t be afraid to make improvements, even if nothing is broken. It took a laptop thief to convince my future mother-in-law to upgrade; what will it take to convince you?