Is it possible to save time without cutting corners? I love a good time-saving tip, and with technology, there are many ways to work smarter, not harder. You might already have a favorite shortcut of your own or a tip a friend shared with you that has changed your everyday routine.
I’ve pulled together some of my favorite tips for educators, and if you’re looking to save a few minutes throughout the day, then the following list is for you.
6 Ways to Save a Little Time
1. Turn websites into icons. Bookmark favorite websites on a phone or tablet to make them easy to return to with a quick tap. This saves you time by not having to open up a web browser or type in the same website address over and over. I’ve done this on my own phone to make it easy to find Wordle every morning.
2. Manage podcast episodes. I love listening to podcasts and even host my own. But I also know that they can take up a lot of storage space on my phone, and if I miss a few episodes of a podcast, I’d rather listen to the newest episode than something posted several weeks ago. If you feel like deleting old episodes is a tedious task, set up your podcast app to show you only the latest episodes of your favorite podcast. Here’s how to go straight to new episodes if you listen to podcasts on Spotify. And here’s how to customize Apple podcasts to delete old episodes.
3. Set reminders to clean up folders. By the end of the week, my download folder is full of so many items that I will never need to look at again and a few I want to hold onto. To make sure the important things don’t get lost in the shuffle, you can set up a reminder for a weekly or bimonthly task to clean out your downloads folder, desktop, or another place that gets a bit messy.
You can set up a recurring appointment in a calendar or a recurring event in a task manager to help make this a regular habit. By taking a few minutes each week or every other week for this task, you’ll save a lot of time searching for that “must find” item when you’re in a pinch.
4. Use email snippets. Canned responses are one of my favorite time-saving tips to recommend to teachers, and I love saving time with these types of email replies. A canned response is a response to an email that you save in a file so you can customize, copy, and paste right into an email when responding to a frequently asked question. The ready-made reply could include a few sentences with a favorite resource you frequently recommend to colleagues or instructions for troubleshooting that you send out to students a couple of times a week.
To keep track of these types of responses, I use a Google Doc and headings that include a quick synopsis of the email. In Google Docs, you can create a hyperlinked table of contents with headings that make it easy to find each prewritten response.
5. Make an emoji cheat sheet. Do you use the same emojis over and over again? Whether you use emojis as part of a feedback routine in your classroom or to label documents or folders, there might be a dozen emojis in heavy rotation. Instead of hoping they pop up in the “most recent” section of your phone keyboard or making a lot of trips to an emoji website, create a virtual sticky note on your desktop with your top emojis, so it’s easy to copy and paste one wherever you need it.
6. Pin to the top. Twitter isn’t the only place you can pin something to the top of your profile. To make it easy to find a piece of content, you can pin it to the top of your screen in many tools. I’m a big fan of Google Keep, and it’s just one example of a tool that lets you pin content to the top of your screen to make it easy to find.
If you already use Google Keep or another tool with this feature, you can create a note with information you reference regularly. For example, you might have a note with phone numbers or website links that you need regular, easy access to throughout the day or week.