Advertising
Advertising

Get ‘Er Done and Increase Productivity with Google Docs

Get ‘Er Done and Increase Productivity with Google Docs


    Have you struggled with multiple workstations, laptops, mobile devices and having access to a certain document? Do you share documents and spreadsheets with teams of people? Do you ask for feedback on projects from people all over the globe?

    If you do I have solution for you that doesn’t even cost a dime to use.

    Advertising

    Google Docs

    Okay, okay, I heard the groans even across the Internet. Google Docs hasn’t enjoyed a good reputation as a replacement for Microsoft Office or even Open Office. I am not talking about using Google Docs as your word processing software. I use both MS Office and Open Office to create and edit documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. If you are a heavy user of office type applications you really have to have some sort of desktop software.

    What I am talking about is using Google Docs as a supplement to your desktop applications. Used in the right way, Google Docs can provide assess to your documents while at home, at the office, traveling, anywhere with an Internet connection. It also is a great way to collaborate with people, sharing items, getting feedback.

    There are other collaboration tools out there.  Dropbox, Syncplicity are some. They are good for techie people who understand what is expected of them. I have found when I want to share with non-techies, they run into problems with tools like these. Also they have a free and professional versions. If you are using them for anything concerning a business, you should consider paying for it so as not to run afoul of the terms and conditions.

    Advertising

    Getting Started

    Of course you need a Google account to use Google Docs. If you don’t have one already, just go to google.com and sign up. Once you have your account you can access Documents by clicking on the tab on the top of the screen. This will take you to your home screen.

    Collections

    The key to using Google Docs in understanding collections. Collections are the same as file folders in Google Docs. Each collections holds a number of other things. A collection can hold multiple documents, spreadsheets, presentations, or even other collections. A collection can hold multiple types of items, a couple documents, a spreadsheets and a few other collections. This is just like file folders in an operating system.

    I use collections to hold like items so that they are grouped together and I can share them to whoever I want. You will collections on your home Google Docs screen on the left side. There will be a listing of your collections and collections shared with you.

    Advertising

    Get ‘Er Done Easily

    I discovered that the best way to get your documents into Google Docs is to create folders on your workstation, put in the items you want access to and then upload them as collections to Google Docs. I struggled for a long time trying to upload the documents one at a time, create the collections on  Google Docs and then then put the items into the collections. Don’t do that. It is really clunky. You can do it all on your workstation in a matter of minutes, upload it and then have access to them anywhere you go.

    Sharing and Feedback

    The other cool use for Google Docs is to share things with people. You can either share collections or individual items. The easy way that I use to share is to right click on the item.  This will allow you to select Share and then click Share again. This brings up the Sharing settings box. At this point, you have a couple of choices. You can share directly with people using their email address. Just type in the address in the box “Add people”. They will get an email giving them access to the item. Another way is to use a link. At the top of the Sharing settings box, click Change to change type of access. Select anyone with the link to get access to a link that will take someone to your item. You also have the choice to give them the ability to edit the document.

    By using a link with edit permission, you can share a document on Facebook, Twitter, etc and ask for comments on whatever you are working on. What a great way to get feedback! People can use the insert comments feature to give you all the feedback you want. Just make sure you have a backup copy in case someone changes the document beyond recognition.

    Advertising

    Housekeeping

    Finally, to keep clutter down, use collections to keep individual items from clogging up your homepage in Google Docs. Select the individual items and then click More at the top. Select Don’t Show in Home to hide them from your home page. You will still find the items in the collections and it keeps your homepage much more manageable.

    Simple, Fast, Free

    Using Google Docs in the way that I have described meets my prerequisites for a top of the line productivity tool – simple, fast, and cheap (free). It is a great tool to have in your tool bag. I only see the use of Gmail and Google Docs growing.

    Why not start using it and benefit from the increased productivity?

    (Photo credit: Electonic News on the Internet via Shutterstock)

    More by this author

    How to Be Amazingly Good at Asking Questions 20 Best Inspirational Speeches from the Movies The Secret to Getting People to Do What You Want will power FBI Agent Teaches Us How to Develop Will Power Would you rather be rich or happy How These Kids Define Success Will Touch Your Heart

    Trending in Productivity

    1 Effective vs Efficient: What’s the Difference Regarding Productivity? 2 5 Powerful Decision Making Skills to Help You Make Decisions Fast 3 10 Essential Steps to Success to Actually Reach Your Dreams 4 How to Rebound from Burnout in Just 8 Hours 5 How to Create an Action Plan and Achieve Your Personal Goals

    Read Next

    Advertising
    Advertising
    Advertising

    Last Updated on September 30, 2020

    Effective vs Efficient: What’s the Difference Regarding Productivity?

    Effective vs Efficient: What’s the Difference Regarding Productivity?

    When it comes to being effective vs efficient, there are a lot of similarities, and because of this, they’re often misused and misinterpreted, both in daily use and application.

    Every business should look for new ways to improve employee effectiveness and efficiency to save time and energy in the long term. Just because a company or employee has one, however, doesn’t necessarily mean that the other is equally present.

    Utilizing both an effective and efficient methodology in nearly any capacity of work and life will yield high levels of productivity, while a lack of it will lead to a lack of positive results.

    Before we discuss the various nuances between the word effective and efficient and how they factor into productivity, let’s break things down with a definition of their terms.

    Effective vs Efficient

    Effective is defined as “producing a decided, decisive, or desired effect.” Meanwhile, the word “efficient ” is defined as “capable of producing desired results with little or no waste (as of time or materials).”[1]

    A rather simple way of explaining the differences between the two would be to consider a light bulb. Say that your porch light burned out and you decided that you wanted to replace the incandescent light bulb outside with an LED one. Either light bulb would be effective in accomplishing the goal of providing you with light at night, but the LED one would use less energy and therefore be the more efficient choice.

    Now, if you incorrectly set a timer for the light, and it was turned on throughout the entire day, then you would be wasting energy. While the bulb is still performing the task of creating light in an efficient manner, it’s on during the wrong time of day and therefore not effective.

    Advertising

    The effective way is focused on accomplishing the goal, while the efficient method is focused on the best way of accomplishing the goal.

    Whether we’re talking about a method, employee, or business, the subject in question can be either effective or efficient, or, in rare instances, they can be both.

    When it comes to effective vs efficient, the goal of achieving maximum productivity is going to be a combination where the subject is effective and as efficient as possible in doing so.

    Effectiveness in Success and Productivity

    Being effective vs efficient is all about doing something that brings about the desired intent or effect[2]. If a pest control company is hired to rid a building’s infestation, and they employ “method A” and successfully completed the job, they’ve been effective at achieving the task.

    The task was performed correctly, to the extent that the pest control company did what they were hired to do. As for how efficient “method A” was in completing the task, that’s another story.

    If the pest control company took longer than expected to complete the job and used more resources than needed, then their efficiency in completing the task wasn’t particularly good. The client may feel that even though the job was completed, the value in the service wasn’t up to par.

    When assessing the effectiveness of any business strategy, it’s wise to ask certain questions before moving forward:

    Advertising

    • Has a target solution to the problem been identified?
    • What is the ideal response time for achieving the goal?
    • Does the cost balance out with the benefit?

    Looking at these questions, a leader should ask to what extent a method, tool, or resource meets the above criteria and achieve the desired effect. If the subject in question doesn’t hit any of these marks, then productivity will likely suffer.

    Efficiency in Success and Productivity

    Efficiency is going to account for the resources and materials used in relation to the value of achieving the desired effect. Money, people, inventory, and (perhaps most importantly) time, all factor into the equation.

    When it comes to being effective vs efficient, efficiency can be measured in numerous ways[3]. In general, the business that uses fewer materials or that is able to save time is going to be more efficient and have an advantage over the competition. This is assuming that they’re also effective, of course.

    Consider a sales team for example. Let’s say that a company’s sales team is tasked with making 100 calls a week and that the members of that team are hitting their goal each week without any struggle.

    The members on the sales team are effective in hitting their goal. However, the question of efficiency comes into play when management looks at how many of those calls turn into solid connections and closed deals.

    If less than 10 percent of those calls generate a connection, the productivity is relatively low because the efficiency is not adequately balancing out with the effect. Management can either keep the same strategy or take a new approach.

    Perhaps they break up their sales team with certain members handling different parts of the sales process, or they explore a better way of connecting with their customers through a communications company.

    Advertising

    The goal is ultimately going to be finding the right balance, where they’re being efficient with the resources they have to maximize their sales goals without stretching themselves too thin. Finding this balance is often easier said than done, but it’s incredibly important for any business that is going to thrive.

    Combining Efficiency and Effectiveness to Maximize Productivity

    Being effective vs efficient works best if both are pulled together for the best results.

    If a business is ineffective in accomplishing its overall goal, and the customer doesn’t feel that the service is equated with the cost, then efficiency becomes largely irrelevant. The business may be speedy and use minimal resources, but they struggle to be effective. This may put them at risk of going under.

    It’s for this reason that it’s best to shoot for being effective first, and then work on bringing efficiency into practice.

    Improving productivity starts with taking the initiative to look at how effective a company, employee, or method is through performance reviews. Leaders should make a point to regularly examine performance at all levels on a whole, and take into account the results that are being generated.

    Businesses and employees often succumb to inefficiency because they don’t look for a better way, or they lack the proper tools to be effective in the most efficient manner possible.

    Similar to improving a manager or employee’s level of effectiveness, regularly measuring the resources needed to obtain the desired effect will ensure that efficiency is being accounted for. This involves everything from keeping track of inventory and expenses, to how communication is handled within an organization.

    Advertising

    By putting in place a baseline value for key metrics and checking them once changes have been made, a company will have a much better idea of the results they’re generating.

    It’s no doubt a step-by-step process. By making concentrated efforts, weakness can be identified and rectified sooner rather than later when the damage is already done.

    Bottom Line

    Understanding the differences between being effective vs efficient is key when it comes to maximizing productivity. It’s simply working smart so that the intended results are achieved in the best way possible. Finding the optimal balance should be the ultimate goal for employees and businesses:

    • Take the steps that result in meeting the solution.
    • Review the process and figure out how to do it better.
    • Repeat the process with what has been learned in a more efficient manner.

    And just like that, effective and efficient productivity is maximized.

    More on How to Improve Productivity

    Featured photo credit: Tim van der Kuip via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Merriam-Webster: effective and efficient
    [2] Mind Tools: Being Effective at Work
    [3] Inc.: 8 Things Really Efficient People Do

    Read Next