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10 Free Ways to Do Things Faster on Your PC

Paul Mah | Jan. 22, 2014
Looking to hit the ground running? These 10 tips won't cost you anything but will help you work faster and more efficiently on your PC.

Looking to work more efficiently this year, but you don't have the budget to buy new hardware? To help you along, the following tips will help you work faster and more efficiency without having to spend a single dollar.

1. Stop Sorting Your Emails
Today's office workers face with avalanche of email messages a day. The traditional approach of filing each email into a specific folder takes too long and wastes too much mental energy. Moreover, the final destination may not be apparent weeks or months later, resulting in precious time being wasted to find an old email message.

Instead, ditch your entire hierarchy of Outlook folders and keep a handful based on very broad categories. Work, Personal and "Keep In View" come to mind, with the last used as a catch-all container for messages that you can't decide whether to delete or keep.

2. Never Switch Off Your Laptop
Laptop users who are always on the move know what a hassle and productivity buster it can be to shut down a laptop, only to boot it up again a short commute later. Sure, Windows 8 and solid-state drives (SSD) can alleviate the issue, but why can't laptops have the instant-on capability inherent to tablets?

Turns out they can - if you take the time to configure your laptop to go into Sleep mode instead of powering down (as seen at left). Sleep mode keeps the content of the RAM and key subsystems powered up for a negligible amount of battery life, helping workers to pick up where they last left off.

3. Use Your Tablet as an Additional Monitor
Using multiple monitors
is an excellent way to do things faster, though it does mean investing in the requisite display hardware. If there's no room in the budget, though, one surprising solution is hook up an existing tablet with your PC to serve as an additional monitor. This works great for frequent travelers, who can fire up an application such as Air Display to use their iPad or Android tablet as a second monitor.

4. Enable Multiple Taskbars in Windows 8
For all the complaints about Windows 8, it did incorporate many enhancements and tweaks to bolster productivity. One important feature for multi-monitor user is the long-awaited native capability of a different taskbar for each monitor (as seen at right).

To modify the various settings, right-click on the Taskbar and choose Properties. On the Taskbar tab, select "Show taskbar on all displays if it's not already enabled. You can choose to have taskbar buttons show only on the taskbar where the window is, on the main taskbar or on all taskbars.


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