8 Office Hacks That Will Save You Time
Simple office hacks can help you do things faster and streamline your day-to-day routine. It is easy to lose track of time when you are busy. Being able to manage your tasks is important but what is more important than that is being able to use your time most efficiently. Create a list of things you have problems with but left them on the back burner because you were busy with other tasks. Once you have the list started, give yourself a goal to find a new approach that will improve or fix at least one of those items on your list.
There are many things to do and details to remember when working at a medical or dental practice. To help you add back some time in your work day, consider automation in some of your processes or implement some office hacks that will help you save time when you have to do it again the next time around. Here are 8 cool office hacks that you should try next time:
1. Put a label on it
At a dental practice, there are different patient forms and documents a patient must filled out before being a patient of your practice. There is practice financial policy, patient registration form, medical and dental forms, consent forms, etc. Maybe your practice organized these forms by name or by treatment type. The key is there is some level of organization to help improve your efficiency when locating these forms. The same concept can be done with the cables plugged to the long power strip under your desk or wires connected to your desktop computer. The last time you had to unplug your monitor from your computer and also from the power strip, did you use the method of tugging on the wires to see which ones were the correct wires to unplug? Create labels using your label maker or add tapes with the wire name for easy identification. The next time you have to disconnect your mouse from the computer, you won’t need to pull the wire from your mouse and have your neck stretched under your desk to see which wire is moving.
2. Wires caught your feet
What is under your desk? The usual suspects are: a trash can, surge protector, maybe a footrest, dust and definitely wires! Install an under the desk basket or cable management tray to help organize all the wires and cables sitting on the floor by your feet. Not only will this help you from accidentally hitting the power button on your surge protector and shutting off everything on your desk, it is cleaner and more organized.
3. Too much shared documents for your own good
Create a document library to securely store files where you and co-workers can find them easily, work on them together and access them from any device at any time. Share files that are used often in your practice with the rest of your team to improve efficiency. There are online software that offers the ability for your practice to send out secure messages and have easy access to attach stored documents under the document library. A good example is to send out a secure message with your practice online dental patient forms and attaching the Notice of Privacy Practices and a document checklist of things to bring on your first appointment. Wouldn’t it be nice to have your message already created with the right documents and new patient dental forms attached and all you have to do is personalize your message by typing in your patient name?
4. Finding new meanings for the things around your desk
I cleaned my keyboard recently with a Lysol wipe. Although my keyboard was cleaned, the Lysol wipe didn’t get everything off. I saw on another practice’s social media that they used Post-it notes to get the crumbs and dust particles in between the keys. I reused the idea but using clear tape instead. I used three pieces of clear tape and it worked really well. Try it next time when you are giving your keyboard a quick spring cleaning!
5. Streamline your standard messages
There are some email messages that you use often to reply back to a patient or to send to a referring practice. With this simple tip, you will only need to type that message once and use it again the next time you need to repeat the same message but to a different recipient. For example, you often get emails from patients about their upcoming appointments. Instead of having to type the message over and over again for every email, you can use the Quick Parts in Outlook to help save you some time. For Gmail users, there is canned response that offers the same solution. Another option is to consider a secure messaging platform that offers email templates for your practice to customize and use.
6. Manage your BYOD at work
Many businesses allow their employees to BYOD (bring your own device) to work. Which means, chargers of different devices are needed around the office space. If you share a common work space, you will probably share device chargers also. To help identify which charger belongs to you, try using washi or crafting tape to personalize your charger.
7. Make it double
My favorite hack and one that I found to be very effective is having two screens for your computer workstation. This is an easy to implement office hack that will provide you with instant increase in productivity, especially when you have to move between software. Add a second work screen so you don’t have to minimize and maximize windows, especially when you have to go back and forth to see what was entered on one software and what needs to be entered in another. Save yourself time by having a dual monitor system so you can type inside your practice management software while referencing the patient health history notes under their online patient forms.
8. Deep cleaning for your computer
When was the last time you cleaned your computer? These quick simple tips will help free up some storage spaces on your computer and improve performance speed.
- Clean out your computer system’s cache – this will clean up your disk space by removing temporary files to free up some storage space on your computer.
- Empty the downloads folder of files you no longer need – most often, files downloaded from your email, Internet and other storage places online will be saved under the Download folder, unless you specify which folder those files should be saved under. It is important to check and clean up this file folder on your computer since important information, such as patients’ x-rays and health related documents, could be a downloaded to there and will create a security risk.
BONUS HACK: Control your Outlook
We will use the illustration below to help outline this Outlook hack. In your Outlook program, you will see these icons displayed on the lower left-hand corner. My inbox is listed as the first icon, followed by calendar, contacts, tasks, etc. To help you switch between these tabs, simply use the following shortcuts instead of using your mouse to switch between the different tabs.
- Ctrl+1 will take you inbox
- Ctrl+2 will display your calendar
- Ctrl+3 will list your contacts
- Ctrl+4 will list the tasks
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