Office hacks

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* Print out interesting articles from the web so that you can read, pop-up free, at your leisure. - kojak * Print out interesting articles from the web so that you can read, pop-up free, at your leisure. - kojak
** Try saving them to a PDF file to avoid using the paper. ** Try saving them to a PDF file to avoid using the paper.
-** If you are going to use paper, use both sides. --[[User:Robert Brook|RB]] 09:50, 5 Apr 2005 (EDT)+** If you can, ask co-workers for paper printed on one side, and use the other. Instant in-office re-cycling. If you are going to use paper, use both sides. --[[User:Robert Brook|RB]] 09:50, 5 Apr 2005 (EDT)
** Check 'print preview' before committing yourself: a few border-width tweaks may save you a page or two. --[[User:Robert Brook|RB]] 10:10, 5 Apr 2005 (EDT) ** Check 'print preview' before committing yourself: a few border-width tweaks may save you a page or two. --[[User:Robert Brook|RB]] 10:10, 5 Apr 2005 (EDT)
-** If your eyes are feeling up to it, many printer drivers can be configured to squash more than one page to a side. Two pages on a sheet is usually perfectly readable, and most good printers can manage four without inducing too much eye strain. Combine this with printing on both sides, as mentioned above, and you can cut your paper usage by a factor of eight! --[[User:Rowlock|Rowlock]] 10:19, 5 Apr 2005 (EDT)+** If your eyes are feeling up to it, many printer drivers can be configured to squash more than one page to a side. Two pages on a sheet is usually perfectly readable, and most good printers can manage four without inducing too much eye strain. Combine this with printing on both sides, as mentioned above, and you can cut your paper usage by a factor of eight! --[[User:Rowlock|Rowlock]] 10:19, 5 Apr 2005 (EDT)
[[Category:Life hacks]] [[Category:Life hacks]]

Revision as of 06:59, 11 April 2005

Contents

Sorted

Papers / Piles / Folders

  • Labels in a pinch - If your labelmaker is not on hand, but you have a folder in need of a label right now, there's nothing as handy as a post-it note. Just place the sticky part where the label would go, and you're good to go. --rdonoghue 11:49, 21 Mar 2005 (EST)
  • Blue highlighter doesn't show up on photocopies. -- GH 21 Mar 05
    • Yellow highlighter doesn't either. For forms that are stored in a public place, write "File Copy, Do Not Remove" in yellow highlighter on the bottom copy. No one will take it, but you can easily make more copies from that one.
  • If you label your files, and have a printer at your desk, keep a blank sheet of Avery file labels at your desk (mine's in the front of my tickler file hanger) and create a Word file called Labels.doc on your computer desktop. Every time you need to create a label, open the Word doc, erase the text in the last label space, move the cursor down a row and type in the new file label. Put the label sheet in the printer, print out the single label, and save the Word doc with the last label position. Works much faster and is less conspicuous than having a label-maker at your desk. --Egoodwin 00:09, 25 Mar 2005 (EST)
    • Be careful, though. If the other labels on the sheet start to look like they are peeling off after a few trips through the printer, one or more can end up wrapped around the print head or laser drum, leading to no end of headaches. These are very difficult to remove and may require you to replace the laser cartridge if it decides to stick there. Avery recommends you never re-run a sheet of labels, but being aware should prevent any major issues.
      • You don't need to worry as much if you're using an inkjet printer.
    • I've found that a laser printer will tend to make the labels you haven't used darken with each pass. I've taken to using the post-it hack mentioned earlier, or just hand-writing on the folder, then covering my handwriting with the label once I print it. Put a "Print File Labels" note in your tickler.
  • In general, if you're working on a project and need to be able to tell at a glance which pile of paper is which, photocopy That pile onto cream paper and keep This pile on white stock. You'll be able to tell which is which and it won't interfere with readability at all.--J.T. Boofle 00:02, 5 Apr 2005 (EDT)
  • Know your retention schedule - have a list of the types of documents you keep, and when it is legal to throw them out, e.g. in the UK, diaries are 1 year, minutes are 1 year unless master copies, &c.) and have a "fling-out friday" once every 6 months - Sophia
  • Have a Big Office Trash Day every six months -- not just for documents that need no longer be retained, but for Everything. We bring in big recycling and trash bins and go through every drawer, every closet, every nook & cranny of the office. Everyone dresses down, pizzas are ordered, and anyone who has filled up at least one trash bin and one recycle bin gets free lunch.--J.T. Boofle 00:02, 5 Apr 2005 (EDT)

Filing

  • File Marker - Sometimes, you don't want to go through the hassle of finding a file's alphabetical location after you've taken it out to file something or for reference. Try using a different coloured folder or piece of card to mark its place. --Abizer 18:33, 21 Mar 2005 (EST)
    • Alt File Marker: I just set the folder behind the one I removed askew. --Victor 10:53, 23 Mar 2005 (EST)
  • If you use hanging folders with insert folders for reference materials, keep a stack of coloured ordner bookmark cards (or some other card that would stick out of the folder) that you can put in the hanging folder as placeholder when you take the insert with you or lend it to someone (like your accountant or someone that needs it for a delegated tasks). -- Wafel 24 Mar 05
  • Filing hack: Use only 1/3 cut file folders, with all tabs on one side (right or left). Example of use - if your folders have tabs on the left, you can create a folder with the tab on the right by reversing the folder and using the "back side". You can also re-use every folder easily by reversing it. Kevin Hayes 20:49, 4 Apr 2005 (EDT)
  • Filing hack: If you must use color-coding, keep it really simple. Otherwise you might spend too much time keeping the colors straight or find yourself missing a color when you need it. Kevin Hayes 20:49, 4 Apr 2005 (EDT)
  • Filing hack: Consider using lateral files. Benefits - you can use them while sitting in a chair (just roll over to them); you can put useful things on top the cabinet (two-drawer cabinet) such as printers, hot files, etc.; they hold a lot of files in a fairly small space. Kevin Hayes 20:49, 4 Apr 2005 (EDT)

Desk Organization and Territory

  • Do you spend your entire day inundated by visits from co-workers, whether for work purposes or social, only to find you haven't accomplished squat by the end of the day? Get a "Do Not Disturb" sign for your office door or cubicle. For one hour every morning when you first arrive (and - depending on your schedule - maybe the hour right after lunch), hang that sign up where all can see, and tend to your most pressing work. The first week or two, you will still be interrupted, but it usually works to point at the sign, while simultaneously continuing to work with your other hand. Be sure to keep your eyes on the work for proper effect - you have to maintain the "I'm really too busy with something important right now" look. When your hour is up, seek out the person, find out what they want, and tell them to approach you when the sign is not up. After about a week or two, everyone with two brain cells will get the idea and learn to leave you alone when they see the sign. Remember, though, no more than 1 hour chunks, no more than 2 times per day, and DON'T ABUSE IT to screw around or blow off people who are significantly higher in the office food chain. --TresWife 03:12, 28 Mar 2005 (EST)
    • We use flags in our office, red on one side (do not disturb unless urgent) and green on tuther. They are laminated and you write on them with a dry-wipe marker, so you can put on the reason, or when you will be free, e.g. "at Lunch", "Urgent report, come back after 3" - Sophia
    • Some phones have a "do not disturb" function, which means people get an engaged tone instead of going to voice-mail. Harsh, but can be useful. Alternatively, get a phone buddy who takes your calls and do the same for them. -- Sophia

Meetings

  • Make regular short appointments on neutral territory: this lets you keep up to date with co-workers without them feeling it's official. --RB 08:52, 28 Mar 2005 (EST)
  • When working collaboratively on hard copies, everything that's done gets a tick, initial and date - good paper trail for audit. -- Sophia
  • Use a unique colour ink (mine's turquoise and my boss's is imperial purple) - stands out from the crowd and helps make your comments stand out on circulated documents (if you use hard copies that is!) - Sophia

Office Supplies

  • If your marketing deparment ever gets those plastic promotional slinkies, snag some. You can unroll the top half, and use it as a card catcher. Just lift the top, slide a card between the coils, and drop it back down. --25 Mar 05
  • Foil those omnipresent pen thieves! Keep one or two packs of those cheapo ballpoints (Bic Stics, etc) around, and a few of them scattered on or near your desk. These are the ones you want people to "borrow", because odds are good that a "borrowed" pen will not come back. Then keep a "good" pen for yourself and guard it with your life. I actually learned this tip while waitressing (never leave your good pen with the credit card slips!). --TresWife 22:04, 25 Mar 2005 (EST)
  • Files, paper, markers? Ask the office first: there may be a store for this stuff, and it's, like, for work! --RB 16:47, 24 Mar 2005 (EST)
  • Did a CD or CD-R get scratched up and unable to be read? Crumple up a piece of paper and polish/sand the scratched surface with it. The surface will get cloudy, but once the cloudiness is smoothed and even the CD might be able to be read. --Rosso 01:25, 5 Apr 2005 (EDT)

Office Equipment

  • Use a speakerphone when you have to be on hold, so you're free to do other stuff. --MVance 14:44, 24 Mar 2005 (EST)
    • Even better, use a hands free headset. This keeps your hands free and protects your neck in calls, even when you aren't on hold. --OneEyedMan
  • If you need a shoulder cradle in a pinch, use another handset attached in reverse to the handset you hold to your ear. Tape or stap them back-to-back.
  • If you have the power, put off-white (cream, canary) paper in the fax machine. You'll be amazed at how much easier it is to find that fax that someone sent you when you're looking through the giant pile of crap covering your desk.--J.T. Boofle 00:02, 5 Apr 2005 (EDT)
  • Keep a file folder full of blank fax cover-sheets at your desk (again at the front of the tickler-file hanger). When you need to send a fax, fill in the fax-sheet by hand. It works much faster than opening up the word processor and tabbing around to the various fields since there isn't that much data that needs to go on a cover sheet. --Egoodwin 00:09, 25 Mar 2005 (EST)
    • I regularly send faxes to my boss when he works at home so have it set up as a template with two autofill prompts in Word, "number of pages" and "short message". Open up as "New...", type at the two prompts and print off. -- Sophia
  • Does your employer's time clock work by scanning a bar code? If so, keep a photocopy of the barcode in your desk to use in case you forget your time card. You'll skip the hassle of filling out a correction form for payroll. -- GH 26 Mar 05

Politics / Interpersonal Relationships

  • If you never complain about somatic problems to your coworkers, you'll get no flak when you call in sick to catch up on personal stuff. -- GH 21 Mar 05
  • Make a list of the people you call at least once a week and write them on a large A3 poster above your desk. Don't forget the name of their PA as they'll probably take the call. Stick the numbers on there and you be able to dial straight off each time without having to remember any numbers. -- Sophia
  • Team up with your coworkers to purchase sodas and snacks in bulk from Costco, then divvy them up, so you won't waste your money in the vending machines. -- GH 24 Mar 05
  • Everyone has their favourite way to communicate: e-mail, fax, letter, phone, or face-to-face. Find out which one works best for different people and use it to get your message across. (For example, mine is e-mail, because I can choose when to deal with it if it's not urgent. I don't like phone calls for non-urgent messages because they interrupt me and I have to take them and deal with them then. So you will get it done quicker if you call, but more thoroughly if you e-mail. Other people are the other way round, for example one person never reads their e-mail, always diverts their phone, but can be caught face-to-face in passing. -- Sophia

Special for personal assisstants / executive assistants

  • If you're a PA taking calls for your boss a quick rule of thumb: If they ask for your boss by name but won't give any reason and won't let you take a number for him to call back and say "I'll try and catch them later in the week" it's a cold call from a company. If you cold call me for my boss (I'm a PA), and don't give me a reason then I'm not going to put you through, if it's important you would want him to call back, and he's normally triple-booked in meetings so you won't catch him. If you want to get through, ask to speak to the PA, not the boss, explain what you're selling and ask who would be best to speak to. They can normally tell you straight out if they're not interested, and point you in the right direction if they are. -- Sophia

Printing from the web

  • Print out interesting articles from the web so that you can read, pop-up free, at your leisure. - kojak
    • Try saving them to a PDF file to avoid using the paper.
    • If you can, ask co-workers for paper printed on one side, and use the other. Instant in-office re-cycling. If you are going to use paper, use both sides. --RB 09:50, 5 Apr 2005 (EDT)
    • Check 'print preview' before committing yourself: a few border-width tweaks may save you a page or two. --RB 10:10, 5 Apr 2005 (EDT)
    • If your eyes are feeling up to it, many printer drivers can be configured to squash more than one page to a side. Two pages on a sheet is usually perfectly readable, and most good printers can manage four without inducing too much eye strain. Combine this with printing on both sides, as mentioned above, and you can cut your paper usage by a factor of eight! --Rowlock 10:19, 5 Apr 2005 (EDT)
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