6 underused productivity tools you probably already have installed

6 underused productivity tools you probably already have installed

It’s the new financial year and you’re ready to unleash the productivity goddess within. New year, new you (or so says the Fresh Start effect).

While everyone’s romanticising about the AI revolution, we’re instead going to revisit some of the tools you’ve probably been underused for years.

The best part is that they’re already right under your fingertips, which means little effort is required!

Stop manually resizing your windows

I was devastated when I transitioned to a Mac and lost the ‘snap’ feature on Windows. I’d use it to instantly bring my Word doc and Chrome browser side-by-side without manually resizing the windows.

After two years of pinching and stretching window corners, it turns out that Apple comes with the goods too. Hover your mouse over the green button in the top left of any window (the one next to the yellow and red buttons) and select ‘Tile Window to Left of Screen’ and viola!

 If you’re a Windows user and don’t know what I’m talking about, click and hold a window by its Title Bar at the top, then move it to the far right of your screen and watch it magically fill half of your screen. You’re welcome.

Organise the 100 tabs open in Google Chrome

Apparently, there are two types of people in the world: tab minimalists who have just a few tabs open at a time and tab collectors (me) who have… many more.

Chrome has way to organise your tabs for minimalists and collectors alike, using Tab Groups.

Right click an existing tab and click ‘Add tab to new group’ and give it a name. Organise by project, research topic or whatever your heart desires.

Use a Trello alternative that your company already pays for

Do away with requesting special permissions and licensing fees by creating your Kanban boards in Office365’s Planner tool. It’s perfect for task management and for sharing across teams.

I use ‘To Do’, ‘In Progress’ and ‘Done’ buckets to keep my work on track, and I break all my tasks into similar sized chunks to help with prioritisation.

Pairing this with a rule that you can’t have more than three tasks in the ‘In Progress’ bucket forces you to prioritise better. I have a final bucket called ‘To Discuss’ to maximise my meetings and reduce the number of emails I send.

The only notepad you’ll ever need

It’s my favourite tool of all: OneNote. It’s followed me even after I transitioned to the Apple ecosystem and gets a workout daily.

Here’s a few reasons why:

  • Search using keywords through the entire Notebook (including images) – even that note you made 18 months ago in that meeting that a senior manager is asking you about.
  • Record meeting audio directly into your note page. When you take notes during the recording, they’ll be linked to the audio. This way you can search your notes and find specific parts of the audio recording without having to listen to the entire thing to find a 30-second snippet.
  • Use these to mark important notes that you can then pull into a one-page summary (Windows only).

Switch easily between your iPhone and Mac

So you’ve just been multitasking by reading a riveting article on your phone while on the toilet and you’d like to finish reading it on a larger screen now that you’re sitting at your desk.

You can quickly switch between your iPhone, iPad, and Mac with Handoff. This feature will let you use the same app on different Apple devices without losing progress.

Find frequently used documents, spreadsheets and slides quickly

I remember when the ‘Open Recent’ feature was handy. That was before I’d opened 45 documents in eight hours and the one I need has fallen off the ‘recently opened’ list. Now I pin all my templates and frequently used files within each Microsoft application. 

To do this, go to File and find the Open Recent section of Word, Excel or PowerPoint. Then click the little pin icon that appears when hovering over a file. You’ll find all your important files in ‘Pinned’ section of the File menu. 

In the 7 minutes it took you to read this article, you’ve just saved yourself a significant amount of faffing around with technology. Happy productivity!

This article was written by Evelina Bereni.

She is a psychologist and Prosci Certified Change Practitioner at leading behavioural science and innovation consultancy Inventium. She has more than 15 years’ experience helping people thrive at work.