What do keyboard shortcuts, the next generation of workers, and the industrial revolution have in common?
A lot, as it turns out. Most college educated professionals under 25 understand the value of knowing how to use Microsoft Office, and specifically, keyboard shortcuts. Or at least some of them. As this generation of workers enters the workforce, We'll see a continued rise of productivity that will compare in scale & significance to the industrial revolution. You think I'm crazy? Think about this:
- Most people over the age of 30 don't know how to use Microsoft Office effectively. They don't know how to quickly navigate in Outlook, especially regarding keyboard shortcuts. Did you know that CTRL+1 will take you to your email, CTRL+2 will take you to your calendar, and CTRL+3 will take you to your contacts in Outlook? How much of your day do YOU spend using Outlook? Let's say that you switch between email, calendar & contacts just 10 times total per day, but you use your mouse to do it. And it takes 1 second to switch between each. So you're spending a total of 10 seconds every day switching between these 3 things. Using keyboard shortcuts you can do it at least twice as fast, if not 70% faster. So an Office-savvy user is spending 3 to 5 seconds doing the same thing (we'll say 4 seconds on average). Which means he's saving 6 seconds per day, or 36.5 minutes per year. Doesn't seem like a lot? Well guess what, EVERY single thing you can do with a mouse, you can also do on the keyboard. Multiply those 36.5 minutes times let's say 100 commands (very conservative) you use the mouse for, that another user is using the keyboard for, and now you're talking about over 60 hours per year - that's a whole week, per person. Let's just assume that in the US, an average person's time is worth $20 per hour. That means that every person is wasing $1200 worth of time. Multiply that by 300 million people in the US, and we're taking some big money $360 BILLION dollars of lost productivity annually. All because of that harmless-looking mouse sitting next to your computer! So STOP using that mouse for everything, start using your keyboard, and go on a vacation for 1 week every year instead of letting the mouse eat your time up. You'll have earned it!
- Separate from the keyboard shortcut issue is just the general issue that people don't know how to use Office effectively. Did you know that you can easily email any document from any Windows program using this little shortcut: Take any document and say "save as". When the "save as" dialogue comes up, just right-click on the document name in the save dialog. A list of options will come up. One of those will be to send the file as an email. Presto, no longer do you need to close the application, open Outlook, open an email, mouse over to the "attach file" command (if you are going to go the long route, at least use a keyboard shortcut to save your file!). You're saving at least 30 seconds right there. Multiply THAT by the numbers above!
I hope I've made my point: If you use your computer in any work capacity, learn Office, and learn keyboard shortcuts. You're just cheating yourself out of a week each year if you don't.