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TED Talks – David Pogue: 10 Top Time-Saving Tech Tips


David Pogue, the New York Times’ tech columnist, delivered an informative TED Talk earlier this year outlining 10 time-saving tips to help people with everyday technology use. These clever tips aren’t ground-breaking or revolutionary by any means, but you will definitely have an “aha moment” after hearing how they can make your daily life a little less annoying and bit more efficient.

There isn’t really a manual that is short enough (or exciting enough) to entice people to learn the many ins and outs of their fancy gadgets. As Pogue states in his presentation, “Nobody ever sits down and tells you, ‘This is how it works.’ …They just sort of give you your computer and then kick you out of the nest.” 

Here is the list of the top 10 time-saving tips to help you find your tech-savvy wings.

1. Scrolling up and down on a website – Instead of using the mouse, press the space bar to scroll one page down, and hold the shift key + space bar to scroll up a page.

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2. Filling in online forms – Rather than using the mouse to move from one box to the next, use the tab key to skip to the next box. When you are required to select a state from a drop-down list, type in the first letter of the state and keep pressing the first letter to scroll through all the options that begin with that particular letter. For instance, if you want to select “Oregon” as your state, press “O” three times to go from “Ohio,” to “Oklahoma,” and finally to “Oregon.” Same goes for countries.

3. Changing text size on a website – To increase the size of the text on the screen, hold down the “Ctrl” key and hit the “+” key simultaneously until you reach the desired text size. To decrease text size, hold down the “Ctrl” key and hit the “-” key simultaneously.

4. On a smartphone, to end a sentence – When typing on a smartphone, the easiest way to end a sentence is to hit the space bar twice. In doing so, the phone knows to automatically add a period, add the two spaces, and capitalize the first letter of the next sentence. Genius, I tell ya! 

5. Call the last number dialed – Pressing the “Call” button on your phone will automatically call the last number that you dialed so you don’t have to go back to your call list and find the number that way. I know, life-changing stuff here.

6. Skip over automated voicemail prompts – There’s a little secret gem called an “interruption key” that can be used to skip over that wonderful, lengthy, and annoying voicemail message preceding the “beep” that indicates that you can now leave a message. Here’s the tricky part: each carrier has a different interruption key, so you will need to identify the person’s carrier in order to effectively use this feature:

Verizon: “+”

AT&T and T-Mobile: “#”

Sprint: “1”

7. Google shortcuts – To define a word, simply open a Google Search page and type the word “define” before whatever word you want to look up. Google will provide the definition of the word automatically. You can also track flights quickly by entering the airline name and the flight # in the Google search box, producing the flight information you need. Need a unit conversion? You guessed it … Google does that too!

8. Selecting text – Rather than using the mouse to select, delete, or move text in a document, use these time-saving tips instead:

Highlight a word: Double-click the word.

Highlighting multiple words: Double-click and drag cursor to select in one-word increments.

Highlighting a paragraph: Triple-click to select all the text in a given paragraph.

Deleting words: Don’t delete word by word. Highlight and type over the entire text.

9. Shutter lag on a camera Press down the shutter button half-way to pre-focus, then press it down all the way to snap the picture. Now you can capture moving objects easily and successfully! Who would have thought it was that simple?

10. PowerPoint presentations – Here are some keystrokes to help keep the focus on you, the presenter, rather than the slides in the background:

Blackout a slide: Press the “B” key. To make the slide visible, press the “B” key again.

Whiteout a slide: Press the “W” key. To make the slide visible, press the “W” key again.

Companies value efficient workers with excellent time-management skills. Professionals can use all the time-saving tech tips they can get, in order to improve day-to-day job performance, impress their managers, and advance in their careers. Now that you’re a certified time-saving tech genius, what are you going to do with all this free time you have?   

Tell Us What You Think

What other time-saving tech tips do you use on a daily basis that aren’t listed here? Share your pearls of wisdom on our Twitter page or in the comments section below. Sharing is caring.

 (Photo Credit: jbudoner/Flickr)

Leah Arnold-Smeets
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