With 2019 a reality, we can expect many New Year’s Resolutions flooding our social media feeds. The usual suspects being: Losing weight, eating healthy, exercise more, etc. I can’t help you get to gym more, but I can help you save time, which in turn will give you time to go to gym or read that book.

Less is more. Calm the chaos by doing things faster – more efficient, more effective.

Let’s make some resolutions with regards to how we use our PC’s? These tips and tricks will not only declutter your world, but give you more time to think, be creative, get things done.

This is not a 5 minute read, but going to the gym for 5 minutes also won’t help you much. So invest the time in yourself, to save the time.

You’re welcome to add this page as a Tab in Teams / copy and paste some of the content into a Sway or onto a SharePoint page to assist with productivity in your company.

Physical possessions:

Have you noticed that the more ornaments, trinkets and possessions your have, the less you value them? Or maybe it’s just me?

I used to have these 6 wooden superhero figurines which I adored. They had a proud spot in my house and I would see and appreciate them daily. Then my human-hoarding side kicked in, and before I realized what was happening, I had too much. Now I no longer notice them between all the other ‘cool stuff’ I’ve collected, and it pains me as I have to dust and clean more often.

I mean, I had 5 motorcycles at some point!! Really? Only used one, and ended up replacing batteries on the others on a yearly basis.
Resolution 1: Tidy up your office, clean up, give up, throw away or sell all the extra stuff you honestly don’t need. Rather invest in experiences and memories.

Digital possessions:

The same goes for ‘digital possessions’. I have 4 hard-drives (between 500GB and 1TB) lying around in my office with files, old backups, music photos, movies etc. on them. I have a OneDrive account of which I’m only using 50GB. The only thing I ever need to access are old PST’s of email accounts (12GB) which I might as well dump in the cloud and access when I need it. The rest…. not so much.

Save more space by using Files on Demand and Storage Sync to only sync the files to your PC that you use regularly.
Resolution 2: Get rid of the files on the hard-drives / C:Drive and store the important stuff in OneDrive.

Use shortcuts:

This article states that “pc literacy training could add 33 minutes of productive time a day“. I’ll take that and raise you another 27 minutes per day with some great #Office365 productivity hacks. These are the 10 basics I think everyone should be using:

  1. Search better boolean operators etc. – see my video which shows how to bring your search results down dramatically using “+” and “-“.
  2. Use your Windows button to search for programs, files and settings on your machine – press the button, start typing – enter to open.
  3. Windows + Left and Right Arrow will split your screens (on current screen)
  4. Windows + Shift + left and right arrow – will move screens to other physical screens
  5. Windows + D – goes to Desktop
  6. Windows + E opens File Explorer
  7. Windows + L locks your machine (do not do this if you do not have a password on your machine)
  8. Use the Windows button to search for programs, right click on search result – add to task bar. This will now appear on task bar at bottom of your screen.
  9. To open search results in multiple screens (tabs) keep CTRL in while clicking on link
  10. CTRL + Shift + T reopens a tab you accidentally closed in the browser.

Save even more time by switching off the start screen in Office and setting windows to always open expanded. See below resources:

Resolution 3: Use the mouse less and use shortcuts more


We deal with way too much data to still navigate to it. Search is the new superpower Above I mentioned using the Windows button on your keyboard, as well as Boolean operators to refine search results. Another example is searching across #OneNote notebooks and using tags in #OneNote.

Resolution 4: Navigate less, search more.

Did you know that hashtags used in social media posts not only means other people can find your stuff, but also that you can find it faster. For example, I post a lot of cool articles about self-development and improvement. But believe me, it’s near impossible to find it again when I cannot remember the author or title. So when I post something, I use the hashtag #InspireMe in the post. This means at any time I can go to my profile and search for #InspireMe and I’ll find all my related posts again. You can even filter on the left to further refine your results. See below to illustrate:

Do more with your data:

We know that data has become more valuable than gold or oil, so what you do to report, analyse and pick up trends is even more important.

#Excel has some amazing features to help you get the most out of your data. Conditional formatting, charts and Ideas are some of them.

Ideas in Excel (a new feature) empowers you to understand your data through high-level visual summaries, trends, and patterns.

Don’t forget about #PowerBI. See resources below:

Resolution 5: Get better results by investigating and using the features in Excel / Power BI.

Here’s a #PowerBI infographic you can use in your company to motivate the use of the product and inform users:

Use creative tools:

I’m very creative and reckon I’ve got a good eye for design etc. So when #Microsoft started adding tools and features to help us be more creative, I wasn’t impressed, because in a way it felt like it was removing the power from my hands. BUT. Wow does it save a lot of time and now I absolutely love using them.

Design Ideas, Morph and Zoom in PowerPoint, using Sway for reporting and inserting Icons in Office are just some. See resources below:

Resolution 6: Become a creative rockstar AND save time by using above hacks.


Why on earth would you do something twice, if you only had to do it once? Especially when it comes to supporting or training people. Use the Recording feature in #PowerPoint to make short training video clips and load these on #Stream. Add resources on #MicrosoftTeams to help with knowledge sharing and support where the users need it. The news pages in #SharePoint is a great way to share new features, create awareness. See resources below.

Resolution 7: Work smarter, not harder.


Nothing irritates me like dealing with mundane tasks that could be automated. Examples of automating tasks in your life would be using Quick Steps in #Outlook and using #Flow to workflow some activities. See resources below:

Apart from automating you can also utilize that “Digital Secretary” you didn’t know you had. Using Dictation and Read Aloud in Office saves loads of time. Avoid web search fatigue by using Smart Lookup, Researcher and Insert Online Pictures.

Resolution 8: Make friends and embrace the “robot in your life”, use AI, Machine Learning & Automation Tools.

Naming Conventions:

Yup, I’m going to talk about those nested folders. You might think you’re fast at double-clicking through those hundreds of folders…. you’re just fast at being slow.

Using better naming conventions definitely helps with that navigation nightmare. In this example you’d have to navigate through 7 folders to get to the file:

By using better naming conventions, you actually only need one folder as it will sort by date > type > city etc.:

Resolution 9: Use better naming conventions for files / subjects for emails etc.

Power Pockets:

Consolidate workloads by creating power pockets, where you only focus on the same tasks for a specific time. When we do this, those tasks can be achieved in a shorter time, than distributing it in chunks during the day. Contrary to popular believe, multitasking actually makes you slower. For example:

  • Multitasking: Checking and dealing with emails 20 times per day for 10 minutes (3.5 hours)


  • Focused: Checking and dealing with emails twice a day for only an hour at a time (2 hours)

The effort to get focused again after being interrupted by other tasks or people costs a lot more than you think.
Resolution 10: More focus – less multitasking

I hope you’ll adopt some of these 10 resolutions and that it will save you time in 2019.

SharePoint Conference 2019 in Vegas: May 21 to 23

Honored to be speaking at SharePoint Conference in Vegas, May 21-23, 2019. Follow & on Twitter for more updates, and click here to register: REMEMBER to use my discount code (SCHYFF) for $50 off! See you there!

New Initiative:

Every couple of months I’m going to travel to a new country, rent a motorcycle, and travel to as many communities as possible, for 15.2 days. Purpose would be to create awareness around Digital Literacy and give users an overview of Office 365 Apps and Services and how it can transform their lives. I’ll do video and written blogs to capture and share my journey and experiences.

Feedback would be crucial, and I’ll be using Microsoft Forms & Flow to gather valuable feedback for myself and Microsoft. I will be inviting other community members to join me on my journey when I’m in their respective areas.

Of course it wouldn’t be possible without sponsorship to help support this cause. Reach out if you’re interested on getting involved in any way, here’s a link to a Microsoft Form that can be completed: https://bit.ly/2LaQBRQ

REgarding 365:

“You can also find me contributing to REgarding 365. I’m a member of a group of enthusiasts, sharing their stories, thoughts and opinions about Microsoft 365. Catch us at https://regarding365.com | @regarding365 on Twitter and regarding365 on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/regarding365

Disclaimer: I create content about Office / Microsoft 365. Content is accurate at time of publication, however updates and new additions happen daily which could change the accuracy or relevance. Please keep this in mind when