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Digital Literacy Is The Foundation Of Productivity

If you are a knowledge worker, understanding and learning how to be more productive using your own set of tools is not an option, it's a must. At any point in time, you could have hundreds of tasks spread across dozens of projects, with each of them having its deadlines. Trying to hold all of this in your head is a ticket to the insane asylum.

I have to admit that I am a productivity junky. I constantly think and reflect about how I can do more with less, save time and increase my output when working in or on my business Supersonic Sites®.

If I were to talk to my old self, who started that journey ten years ago in the web design/marketing world, I wish I could share what I am sharing in this post today.

First, Get Literate About Your Tools

The first step to becoming more productive isn’t tools themselves but to become good at learning how to use them well. The process is called digital literacy. As Tiago Forte says it best:

Digital literacy refers to the most basic familiarity with computers, such as how to visit a webpage or create a text document.

The better you understand the fundamentals of your computer and your tools, the better you will be at everything else in the productivity space. Everybody knows how to use email. Few dedicated time to learn how to master it. For that, you need to study and learn the best practices.

Digital literacy includes things such as:

  • Basic computer usage
  • Web browsing
  • Basic email usage
  • Keyboard shortcuts
  • Digital calendars
  • Scheduling apps
  • Read Later apps
  • Inbox Zero
  • Password management
  • Speed reading
  • Time tracking
  • Text Expanders

Here are few example as to why digital fluency is core.

Password Management Can Save You Hundreds Of Hours

Nothing will suck more time out of your life than looking for your password and typing them by hand. Also, because most people are not crazy enough to keep a journal and type by hand a unique secure password everywhere they log in, they use the same low-security password everywhere. Surprise! You got hacked! Welcome to the time-sucking journey of going back and updating all your accounts' passwords. LastPass has saved me hundreds of hours and helps me have highly unique secure passwords everywhere I go. And even to this day, I am still learning new features and shortcuts that helps me be better at using it.

Text Expanders

Do you find yourself having to type in the same thing repeatedly? For example, as a web developer, I need to enter lorem ipsum everywhere there is text to move on with the layout part of my designs.

Before I used a text expander like aText, I went to a website and had to copy-paste it into my layout from loremipsum.com. Now I type “:lorem150” and get a lorem ipsum of 150 characters everywhere I need it.

Maybe you have a stock follow-up email that you type again and again…why not have a text expander that allows you to fill that right away?

Inbox Zero

Mastering your email inbox is probably the best thing you can do for your sanity and work. I spend no longer than 10 minutes a day getting to inbox zero, and I never touch an email more than once unless I get a reply. Since I learned how to master my email inbox, I am so much more at peace and I wish more people could experience the joy of inbox zero (I know it sounds geeky but it’s true).

If you are curious about my methodology, here is a great video that shows how I do it.

Digital Literacy Is Your Fundation

If I were to design a curriculum for modern knowledge workers, I would spend a lot of time on this topic. But it’s not a set-and-forget type of thing. For each tool that you decide to have in your toolset, there is a time you need to spend on becoming literate about its use, its keyboard shortcut, its unique features, etc.

Spending the time to understand and master your tools is essential and is the basis of becoming more productive.

There is a lot more to talk about

Productivity is a vast topic that goes beyond typing faster and becoming more efficient. It’s about Task Management, Workflow, Habit Formation and Behavior Change, Personal Knowledge Management, and so much more. It’s a very rewarding topic to study. Please share in the comments what type of shortcuts or tricks you’ve discovered that has increased your productivity, we are all still learning 😊.

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