One button that will boost your personal efficiency

Top Fives

I have a faint memory of reading about a statistic regarding how much men like lists (top 5 lists, top 10, etc).  At the time I remember believing it to be true because a lot of my friends and I were constantly comparing top fives of pretty much everything.

But, this statistic was probably like 78% of the statistics on the internet….. and made up.  By the way, that statistic was also made up!

Back in the day, we had top five movies, songs, albums, artists, movie quotes, movie scenes, tv shows, celebrities, babes, biscuits, chocolate – you name it, we probably had a list for it.  But one list I never thought I would think about would be top five keyboard buttons!  Do you have a top five of your favorite keyboard buttons (and I’m not referring to musical instruments here)?

touch typing tip

I don’t have a top five of keyboard buttons (I’d be surprised if anybody did), but if I was forced to come up with one, I do know one button that would definitely be included in the list.

This key is the one I use the most, especially when it comes to trying to improve my effectiveness and efficiency in how I work.


Why Do You Build Me Up?

(Given that I have just been talking about top fives, I thought I would title this section with a music reference – it’s a classic song but wouldn’t make it into any of my top fives – but the reference will make sense soon)

This blog post came about after conversations with a guy I have had the privilege to work with – Coaching Positive Performance.

He had written this blog post called 2 Fake friends whom you need to kick into touch.

The context of our conversation was regarding how we change as we grow older, we may have had good friends as children but now they may fall into one of the categories of fake friends.  It is not that they are bad or wrong, but our priorities, experiences and stages in careers and lives, etc,  change over time.

These “besties” may now be a person you experience awkward silences with, or, when you see their name show up on your phone you silence the phone and let it go to voice mail because you are not in the mood for listening to them.  It may be time to reprioritise and say goodbye to those friends or allow them to use up less of your energy.

After our conversation I started thinking about how similar his post was to some of my thoughts regarding shortcuts and favorites.

I have worked with a lot of people (previously myself included) who have been really good at adding shortcuts to files/folders and favorites folders, and we add and add to them until we build up (song reference) so many that we could probably work faster if we didn’t have the shortcut.


A list of favorites can start like this:

A list of basic favourites

and quickly grow to a list like this:

a list of favourites with none deleted


This doesn’t seem too bad, but this list can grow and grow.

If we keep building our stockpile of shortcuts, eventually we will spend longer looking through a long list of shortcuts than just browsing to the file/folder we need the old fashioned way.  But because we have a shortcut, we can easily convince ourselves that we are being more efficient.

The same can be said for emails and files – if we continuously build up our files we just have more to look through when we are looking for one in particular, this slows us down (despite what our minds trick us into thinking).  In the case of email, you may have a huge inbox, the majority of your emails being kept “just in case”.


One button that will boost your personal efficiency

So, have you guessed what one button will boost your personal efficiency, and what button will make it into my top five?

…..The Delete button!!!


Shortcuts & Favorites

As we work on different projects or in different roles, we will add to our shortcuts and favorites lists.

But instead of just adding, I would recommend also looking at what can be deleted.  What shortcuts do you no longer need, or what will you need less?  Delete them if you can.


Files, Folders & Emails

Again, if you are stockpiling unnecessary files and folders, review them and the need for them.  Can you delete them?

For those emails you are holding in your inbox “just in case”, can you delete them?  If not, can you archive them to move them out of your inbox so you don’t have to scroll up and down past them every time you look for an email?


Tasks & Actions

Have you tasks or actions in your list of things to do that do not need to be done?  Can you delete them?


Review, Review & Review Some More

I suggest continuously reviewing your tasks, files, shortcuts, emails etc, to make sure that shortcuts are still relevant and that you are not unnecessarily adding hardship for yourself.

This review can be a structured review whereby you block out time and look at what you do, or as I do, on an ongoing when you start a new project or role set up the new shortcuts, etc and when you finish a project or role look at what can be deleted.


When a Shortcut is not a Shortcut

The goal is to ensure that shortcuts remain as shortcuts.

Related post : When a shortcuts is not a shortcut



The  First S

For those of you that are familiar with 5S, you should be aware that the first “S” means “Sort” and relates to removing what is not needed.

The foundation of 5S (a workplace and flow organization methodology) looks at removing what is not needed – in an electronic version, this is a sign of the importance of Delete.

More Than One Way

The keyboard has a “Delete” button, there are keyboard combinations to delete, most applications have Delete options, the mouse’s context menu usually has Delete options – the number of ways available to Delete could be taken as a sign of its importance.


So…. Why do you build me up?

I could keep going talking about the importance of Delete, but instead I would ask you to think now about yourself.

Why do you continue to build up emails, shortcuts, favorites, etc?  Is it because you have never thought about deleting old items?  Is it because you want to keep them just in case?  Is it because you have never thought about deleting old items?

After reading this article do you see the benefit of deleting?  Do you plan on starting a review yourself?

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