Speeding up your thang.

I’ve become progressively more adept at organising my business using nothing more than a cache of simple tricks, technical tools, and incredible typing speed.In fact I recently mused that I can type as quickly as I can think, which makes me somewhat of a precognitive typist – a scribe savant, if you will – or really just exposes me as someone who should think before they speak: take this sentence, for instance.

So this week I thought I’d share my personal tech time-savers for the digital entrepreneur.

  1. Get down with RSS. “Really Simple Syndication” (or as Oprah called it, “Ready for Some Stories” woot! *pumps air with fist and then earnestly nods*) isn’t really anything new, but it does provide a way to keep track of interesting and high-value information (as it relates to your field of excellence). I wasn’t always a blog junkie, but lately I’ve really latched on to a few bloggists that boil my potatoes (intellectually), and using RSS is a fantastic way for me to keep on top of my game. The upside to all this extra reading is that I’ve become somewhat of a technological George Negus (minus the comb-over). The downside is that managing all this extra info can be a little tiresome. So I use Safari’s in-built RSS reader, which shows me the number of unread posts for each blog in my favourites. If you don’t have a mac, Safari is also now available for PC, or you could try Google Reader.
  2. A mouse with ridiculous number of buttons. For example, I run with a Logitech MX900 (with an impressive eight buttons) and I also use some fantastic Japanese Mouse Controller Software (of course over there they just call it mouse controller software) called Steermouse. With this combination (and again, sorry, with my Mac) I can use my mouse to view my desktop, see all my open windows, close a window, and in my mail program I even have specific actions mapped to my mouse buttons (e.g. delete a message, reply, send to specific folders). With mice (unlike their mammal-equivalent) more is more.
  3. Super Signatures. I’m not sure how many emails you send a day, but I usually receive about 150 a day – 100 of them in the morning. Most require a response. My all-time record for emails sent in a day? 180. Easy ladies! So I needed a way to clone my digital self, and canned signatures is the way to go. Here’s how it works: Say you often receive emails that ask the same question, all you do is copy your regular signature and create a new one, but this time add your canned response, for example: “Hi Jim, the answer to your question is eight mouse buttons, love, Ben”, then the next time that question rolls in you can choose the signature that contains the response and edit it from there. I know one organisation that has a set of signatures the whole sales department uses.
  4. Multiple Monitors. Ultimate fantasy? Me and two… er… monitors. Two heads are better than one, that’s why I roll with two monitors. I also like to split my right and left brain functions to each of the monitors. So on the right monitor I have mail, skype, and calculator (ie, super serious side), and on the left are my creative applications such as Photoshop, Dreamweaver, and Quickbooks. In short, monitor bigamy is the new fondu!
  5. Type with 10 fingers. This one’s really simple: learn to type with 10 rather than two fingers and you’re likely to be five times more efficient. In an increasing textual world the Hunt & Peck technique is as passe as the celebrity counterparts.

– Ben Prendergast