Category Archives: Productivity

Handy Tips to Optimize a Dual-Monitor Setup for the Best Experience

Handy Tips to Optimize a Dual-Monitor Setup for the Best Experience

Two monitors are often better than one when it comes to getting things done efficiently. A dual-monitor setup can significantly enhance your productivity. This is true whether you’re a gamer, a creative professional, or an office wiz who loves to multitask.

A study by Jon Peddie Research found that dual displays can increase productivity by 42%. But it’s not as simple as just setting up an extra screen.

It’s common for people to feel “off kilter” when trying to work from two monitors. They may even find it harder despite having more screen real estate. The cause is usually the setup. They either have the screens positioned wrong or aren’t optimizing the settings.

We’ll dive into some dual-monitor setup best practices. These should help you improve your two-screen experience and take it to the next level.

Best Practices for a Great Two-Screen Setup

1. Match Size and Resolution

Before you jump into the excitement of a dual-monitor setup do some matching. Make sure your monitors are well-matched with each other. Try to use monitors of the same size and resolution. This helps to avoid any jarring differences in image quality or screen real estate. Your eyes will thank you for the consistency!

2. Get the Right Cables

Picture this: you’ve set up your dual monitors, and you’re all excited to fire them up. But your cables don’t fit the ports! To avoid this headache, check your device outputs and inputs to ensure you have the right cables on hand. HDMI, DisplayPort, and DVI are common options. But verify which ones you need for optimal performance.

3. Positioning is Everything

Now that you’ve got your monitors ready to go, let’s talk positioning. Placing your monitors correctly can make a world of difference. This is true for both your comfort and productivity.

Ideally, arrange them side by side, keeping the top edges aligned. Adjust the angle to reduce neck strain, and make sure the distance is comfortable for your eyes. After all, you’ll be spending a lot of time in front of these screens.

4. Embrace the Extended Desktop

It’s tempting to mirror your displays and have the same content on both screens. But that’s not the full potential of a dual-monitor setup. Embrace the extended desktop feature. It allows you to have separate content on each screen.

This means you can work on a document on one screen. And browse the web or handle email on the other—double the productivity!

5. Focus on Taskbar Tweaks

A cluttered taskbar can quickly turn your dual-monitor setup into chaos. Keep things organized. Set the taskbar to display only the active applications on the screen they’re open in.

Steps:

  • Right-click on the taskbar, go to “Taskbar settings.”
  • Open “Taskbar behaviors”
  • Adjust the setting, “When using multiple displays, show my taskbar apps on.” Set it to the taskbar where the window is open.

No more hunting for the right window across two taskbars.

6. Leverage Shortcuts

Did you know that Windows has some nifty window-snapping shortcuts? Use the Windows key plus the left or right arrow to snap an application to one side of the screen. It will fill exactly half of it.

This is perfect for comparing documents. As well as writing while researching or watching a video while working. It’s a productivity boost that you won’t be able to live without once you’ve tried it!

7. Gaming in Style

If you’re a gamer, a dual-monitor setup can bring your gaming experience to a whole new level. Many modern games support dual monitors, allowing you to have an extended field of view. This is especially true in racing and flight simulation games. Just remember to adjust your graphics settings accordingly for the best performance.

8. Mastering Multitasking

Multitasking is where dual monitors truly shine. For example, you can have your design software open on one screen and your reference images on the other.

Writers can have research materials on one screen. With their writing software on the other. The possibilities are endless. It’s like having a productivity superhero at your disposal! Explore workflows that make the most of both screens.

9. Tame the Cable Chaos

Dual monitors mean double the cables. If you’re not careful, it can quickly turn into a cable jungle. To keep things tidy, invest in some cable management solutions. Such as adhesive cable clips or cable sleeves. Your setup will look cleaner. It’ll also be easier to make changes or upgrades in the future.

10. Don’t Forget the Ergonomics

As you immerse yourself in your dual-monitor world, remember to consider ergonomics. Ensure that your monitors are at eye level. And your keyboard and mouse are at a comfortable height and angle.

Good ergonomics can prevent strain and discomfort. This allows you to enjoy your setup for longer without any aches or pains.

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This Article has been Republished with Permission from The Technology Press.

9 Reasons to Use Airplane Mode Even If You’re Not Traveling

9 Reasons to Use Airplane Mode Even If You’re Not Traveling

Most people are familiar with their device’s Airplane Mode. You’ve probably used it when jetting off to exotic locations. But did you know that it’s not just for globetrotters?

That’s right! Airplane Mode isn’t only for flying; it can be a handy feature for your everyday life. Here are some top reasons why you should consider toggling it on, even if you’re not traveling.

1. Save That Precious Battery Life

Who doesn’t want their smartphone battery to last longer? Airplane Mode can be your secret weapon against those battery-draining apps. The ones that are constantly running in the background.

By switching on Airplane Mode, you effectively shut down all communication functions. This includes Wi-Fi, cellular data, and Bluetooth. This can be a lifesaver when you’re running low on battery and need your phone to last until you can find a charger.

2. Boost Your Charging Speed

We’ve all experienced those moments of panic when our phone’s battery is about to die. We desperately need to charge it ASAP. Well, here’s a neat trick: put your phone in Airplane Mode before plugging it in.

Studies show that phones charge about 4 times faster in Airplane Mode.

By doing this, your phone won’t be wasting power on syncing notifications. Or checking for updates or connecting to networks. As a result, it will charge up faster, getting you back in the game in no time.

3. A Tranquil Escape from Notifications

Life can get chaotic, and sometimes you need a break from constant pings. Turning on Airplane Mode grants you the gift of peace and tranquility, even if only for a little while. You can enjoy some quality “me” time. All without interruptions from social media alerts or work emails. It’s like creating your little digital oasis!

4. Focus Mode: Engaged!

We all struggle with staying focused from time to time. Whether it’s work, studying, or a creative project, distractions are everywhere. Airplane Mode can be your go-to tool to combat those distractions. By cutting off the internet connection, you’ll find it easier to concentrate on the task at hand. So, next time you need to get in the zone, remember to flip that Airplane Mode switch!

5. Prevent Embarrassing Moments

Picture this: You’re in an important meeting. Then suddenly your phone starts blaring an embarrassingly loud ringtone. Oops! And even if the ringer is off, phones often vibrate when getting a call or notification.

Avoid these awkward moments. Use Airplane Mode in situations where silence is golden. You can still use your phone for notetaking or accessing offline content. But without any fear of accidental disruptions.

6. Roaming Woes, Be Gone!

When you’re in an area with poor cellular reception, what happens to your phone? It might tirelessly search for a signal. This can lead to battery drain. Airplane Mode can be a lifesaver in such situations.

By turning it on, you prevent your phone from endlessly searching for a network. This saves precious battery power. It can also keep you from connecting to a dangerous network.

7. A Digital Detox

Sometimes we all need a break from the digital world. It can be to reconnect with loved ones, enjoy outdoor activities, or simply be present in the moment. Airplane Mode lets you temporarily disconnect from the online realm. But you still have access to your phone’s offline features.

8. Avoid Unwanted Radiation

The jury is still out on any health risks of mobile phone radiation. But some people prefer to err on the side of caution. Enabling Airplane Mode reduces your phone’s radiation emission. This is because it disables most of the communication features. If you’re concerned about exposure, using Airplane Mode can provide some peace of mind.

9. Save Data and Money

If you’re on a limited data plan, turning on Airplane Mode can help you manage your data usage. As well as avoiding unexpected charges. It’s a smart move. Especially when you’re nearing the end of your billing cycle and don’t want to exceed your data limit.

Remember, Airplane Mode isn’t just for frequent flyers. It’s a nifty feature that can enhance your daily life in various ways. It offers longer battery life and faster charging. As well as escaping the constant barrage of notifications, it has benefits. Airplane Mode can be your digital ally in a world that’s always connected.

So, don’t be shy to give it a try, and enjoy this underrated smartphone feature. Even when your feet are firmly on the ground!

Keep Your Smartphone Optimized & Secure

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This Article has been Republished with Permission from The Technology Press.

These Technologies Can Help You Run Your Small Business Better

These Technologies Can Help You Run Your Small Business Better

Running a small business can be challenging. But advancements in technology have opened a world of opportunities. Small business owners can use digital tools to streamline operations. As well as improve efficiency, and boost productivity.

From innovative software to cutting-edge hardware, there are a lot of tools to choose from. The right technology can help small business owners stay ahead of the competition.

But trying to navigate the options yourself can be confusing. Just buying apps because someone told you one was cool, might not be the best strategy. You need to focus on needs and target optimization.

What are the top two challenges that SMBs experience with cloud use? They are managing costs and security. The 2023 State of the Cloud Report also found that 47% of SMBs said they lacked resources and expertise.

We can help guide you to the best tech for growth and ROI. First, let’s explore some game-changing technologies. These tools can revolutionize the way you run your small business.

Game-Changing Tools for Small Business Owners

Are you looking to automate tasks, enhance communication, or optimize your customer experience? Look no further than the solutions below. They have the potential to make a significant impact on your business’s success.

Cloud Computing for Scalability and Flexibility

Cloud computing has transformed the way businesses store, access, and manage their data. Apps like Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace allow small businesses to afford more. Including, enterprise-class functions formerly enjoyed only by large companies.

Other cloud-based solution examples are Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services (AWS). Small business owners can leverage scalable and flexible computing power. With no need for expensive on-premises infrastructure.

Cloud computing provides benefits like:

  • Easy collaboration
  • Seamless data backup and recovery
  • Improved accessibility

This enables you and your team to work from anywhere, anytime. It can now power your entire office. This includes your phone system, document storage, accounting, customer management, and more. The cloud offers cost-effective solutions for all types of small businesses.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software

In today’s competitive landscape, providing exceptional customer service is paramount. That’s where CRM software comes in. CRM platforms like Salesforce and HubSpot allow you to centralize customer data. You can also easily track interactions and manage customer relationships more effectively.

Spreadsheets can only take you so far. They are also time-consuming to keep up with. Dropped balls can also easily result from manual processes. Especially those storing data in a non-collaborative environment.

CRM software can help you improve your sales process. As well as personalize marketing campaigns and provide top-notch customer support. You can gain deeper insights into your customers’ preferences and behaviors. It also enables you to tailor your offerings to meet their needs. That customization increases customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Collaboration Tools for Seamless Teamwork

Efficient collaboration is crucial for small businesses. This is especially true when employees are in different offices or working remotely. Collaboration tools like Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Google Workspace facilitate this. They provide real-time communication, file sharing, and project management solutions.

These platforms bring teams together. This allows for seamless collaboration, efficient task delegation, and streamlined workflows. The apps have features like chat, video conferencing, and document collaboration. These tools help your team stay connected and productive, no matter where they are.

E-commerce Platforms for Online Sales

The rise of e-commerce has opened new avenues for small businesses to expand their reach. More reach means more revenue opportunities. Platforms like Shopify, WooCommerce, and BigCommerce provide all-in-one solutions. They make it easy for those who are not tech-savvy to create and manage online stores.

These platforms offer customizable templates, secure payment gateways, and inventory management systems. These features allow small businesses to establish a robust online presence. They can sell products or services directly to customers everywhere.

Data Analytics for Informed Decision Making

Data is a valuable asset for any business. Leveraging data analytics tools can provide valuable insights for informed decision-making. Platforms like Google Analytics and Microsoft Power BI can help. They enable small business owners to collect, analyze, and visualize data. These business intelligence tools connect data from various sources.

By tracking website traffic, customer behavior, and sales trends, you can identify opportunities. As well as optimize marketing strategies and make data-driven decisions. Basically, data insights can help propel your business forward.

Data analytics empowers small business owners. It gives them the ability to understand their target audience. It also helps them quickly identify areas for improvement. They can then make smarter business choices.

Ask Us About Our Cloud Support to Boost Your Bottom Line

Incorporating technology into your small business operations can be a game-changer. It enables you to streamline processes, enhance customer experiences, and boost efficiency. But it can be confusing to navigate alone.

Let us help.

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This Article has been Republished with Permission from The Technology Press.

The Pros & Cons of Tracking Your Employees’ Every Digital Movement

The Pros & Cons of Tracking Your Employees’ Every Digital Movement

Since the pandemic, employers around the world have needed to change. They’ve had to shift how their employees operate. Remote work is very much here to stay. Organizations and employees can both benefit from the work-from-home and hybrid work revolution.

Cost savings is a driver for supporting remote work. Employee morale and productivity also can be higher when employers grant this flexibility.

A majority of organizations support some type of remote work. Statistics show that:

  • 16% of companies are completely remote
  • 40% support hybrid office/remote working
  • 44% don’t allow employees to work remotely

While there are benefits, there are also challenges to this new environment. Employers worry about the cybersecurity risks of remote teams. Managers can find it more challenging to make sure employees are doing what they should do.

The remote and hybrid work environment has led to the rise of employee monitoring tools. These tools have mixed reviews from employees.

What Is Employee Monitoring Software?

Employee monitoring software tracks digital movements. This can include everything from general clock-in clock-out tracking to taking screenshots of an employee’s computer several times per hour.

Tracking tools like Hubstaff and BambooHR track many activities on a person’s computer. The information is then sent in a daily or weekly report to the company.

Items that these tools can track are:

  • Time clock
  • Keyboard activity
  • Keystrokes
  • Mouse activity
  • Websites visited
  • Screenshots of the desktop
  • Apps used and how long in use

The most invasive of tools can even track the sounds and video of the employee. Tracking can be visible, so the employee knows about it or hidden from the employee. It depends on the tool used and the ethical considerations of the employer.

This type of monitoring can benefit an organization worried about “productivity theft.” But it can also alienate good employees and torpedo morale and trust. We’ll go through the pros and cons to weigh before you set up this type of system.

Pros of Activity Monitoring Tools

Helps Managers Understand How Employees Spend Their Day

One feature of many tracking tools is the ability to track time by project. This helps managers understand where employees are prioritizing their time. Knowing how much time employees spend on a project helps with ROI projections.

Reduces Non-Work Activities During Working Hours

One thing that employers worry about with remote employees is that they will waste time. A manager doesn’t want to pay someone only to find out the employee spent half their time on Facebook.

About half of monitored employees spend 3+ hours per day on non-work activities. When employees know that their boss is monitoring their app usage, they’re less likely to goof off.

Can Be an Easy Way to Track Time for Remote Workers

Smaller companies that work with fully remote teams may find tracking tools convenient. Employees or freelancers can track their time at the click of a button. Employers can put an hour-per-week cap on time. They can also manage payments automatically through the app.

Cons of Activity Monitoring Tools

Hurts Employees’ Morale & Productivity

Many employees feel they are put in a cage when monitoring is introduced. Morale can plummet, which takes productivity along with it.

Instead of focusing on work completely, various thoughts go through employees’ minds. Such as, “If I think about this problem too long, is the tracking going to give me a low productivity score?” Or “What happens when I’m on the phone with a customer and not moving my mouse around? Will the tracking make it look like I’m not working?”

Some of the feelings that employees can have when monitored are:

  • Betrayed
  • No longer trusted
  • Loss of company loyalty
  • Hurt
  • Treated like a number instead of a person

“Activity Monitoring” Doesn’t Mean Productivity

Many of these tracking tools send employees and employers “activity reports.” These reports simply look at keyboard and mouse activity during a specific time.

But what if the employee must solve a workflow issue and needs to use their brain, not the mouse? What if a salesperson is on the phone with a customer, not using their keyboard? Zoom calls bring a similar quandary. If you’re in a Zoom call, your mouse and keyboard aren’t being actively used as they would if you are typing.

Yet, the activity report doesn’t include this information. It will simply give a score of x% based on keyboard and mouse activity. This could make an employer think a worker was goofing off when they were actually working hard.

Costs Organizations Good Employees

Nearly half (47%) of surveyed tech employees stated they would quit if their boss tracked them. Employers implementing monitoring can alienate good employees and make them feel untrusted. They can also feel unappreciated.

When you relegate everyone to a number of keyboard strokes, you constrain creativity. Good employees often stay with companies where they feel appreciated and can grow. Once that’s gone, they’re likely to leave.

Finding a Balance

A few things to think about when finding the right balance between tracking too much or too little are:

  • What do you really need to track?
  • Should you treat all employees the same?
  • What do your employees think about monitoring?
  • Are you trying to solve a problem that doesn’t exist?
  • What features are unnecessary that you can turn off?
  • Is the tool giving you accurate data related to productivity?

Get Expert Advice on the Best Tools for Your Business

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This Article has been Republished with Permission from The Technology Press.

These Google Search Tips Will Save You Tons of Time!

These Google Search Tips Will Save You Tons of Time!

Over 2.4 million searches happen every minute on Google. It’s often the first stop people make when they go online.

We search daily for both personal and work needs, and often searching out the right information can take a lot of time if you have to sift through several irrelevant results.

One study by consulting firm, McKinsey, found that employees spend an average of 1.8 hours daily, or 9.3 hours each week, searching and gathering information. This can be a productivity sinkhole as more web results keep getting added to the internet every day.

One way you can save time on your personal and work-related searches is to learn some “secret” Google search tips. These help you narrow down your search results and improve productivity by helping you find the information you need faster.

Search a Specific Website Using “site:”

Sometimes you need to find information on a specific website. For example, you might need to locate a government statistic that you know is out there but can’t seem to bring up on a general search.

You can use Google to search keywords on a specific website by using the “site” function.

In the search bar use the following:  site:(site url) (keyword)

This will bring up search results only for that one specific URL.

Find Flight Information Without Leaving Google

When you need to access flight information, you’re often on the go. Either getting ready to head to the airport or waiting for someone to arrive. Having to load multiple site pages in your browser can take valuable time. Instead, get your flight results directly from Google.

Just type in the flight number and the name of the airlines, and you’ll get a listing of flight information without having to click to another page. You can even tab to choose flight info for that same flight on different days.

Look for Document Types Using “filetype:”

If you’ve just been tasked with coming up with a presentation on sustainable energy, it can be helpful to see what other people have done on the same subject.

Searching websites can give you a lot of details to sift through but searching for another PowerPoint presentation can provide you with even more insight into how others have distilled that information down into a presentation.

Google has a search function that allows you to search on a file type, so instead of webpages showing up in your results, files of the file type you searched will appear.

To use this function, type in the following: filetype:(type) (keyword)

In the case of wanting to find a PowerPoint on sustainable energy, you could use the following in the search bar: filetype:ppt sustainable energy.

All the results will be PPT presentations.

You can also use this function for other file types, such as:

  • DOC
  • PDF
  • XLS or XLSX
  • SVG
  • and more

Narrow Down Timeframe Using the “Tools” Link

One frustration is when you’re looking up something like a population or cybersecurity statistic and you end up with results that are too old to be relevant. You can spend valuable time paging through the search results, or you can tell Google what time frame you’d like to search.

To narrow your search results by a specific timeframe, do the following:

  • Enter your keyword and click to search.
  • Under the search bar, click the “Tools” link.
  • Click the “Any time” link.
  • Choose your timeframe.

You can choose from preset timeframes, like past hour or past year, or you can set a custom date range for your results.

Locate Similar Sites Using “related:”

When you’re researching a topic online, it’s often helpful to find similar websites to the one you are viewing. Seeing related sites can also be used if you’re trying to find a specific product or service online and want to do some comparison shopping.

Google can provide you with a list of related websites when you use the “related” function.

In your search bar, type the following: related:https://website.com

One more way that you can leverage this search tip is to look for competitors by entering your own website URL in the search.

Get Rid of Results You Don’t Want Using “-(keyword)”

Non-relevant results are one of the main timewasters of online searching. You have to page through results that have nothing to do with what you really want to find, just because they use a related keyword.

For example, say you were searching the Ruby Slipper Cafe in New Orleans. But in your search results, you keep getting pages related to the movie the Wizard of Oz. You could eliminate those irrelevant results by using the negative keyword function.

Just type: (keyword) -(keyword)

Basically, you are just putting a minus sign in front of a keyword that you want to exclude from your search. In the example above, you would type: ruby slippers -oz.

Looking for More Ways to Boost Productivity & Save Time?

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This Article has been Republished with Permission from The Technology Press.