Three Easy Ways to Take PC Productivity to the Next Level

If you’re a PC user interested in maximizing efficiency and speed—whether tackling tasks at the office or taking on projects at home—consider adding two powerful technologies to your repertoire that have advanced considerably in recent years, now allowing you to fully leverage new Windows 10.

We’ve previously unpacked a treasure trove of keyboard shortcuts that can make computing faster; you can read more about that here. In addition to expertizing your way around the keyboard, there are two other places to look for greater efficiency, less work time and a smoother PC experience: 1.) speech recognition technology and 2.) an all-in-one optimization and security solution.

Sophisticated speech recognition
Today’s speech recognition software has evolved to the point where, if you’re looking for increased productivity while expending less effort, purchasing the current generation of this software is well worth the money.

Dictation/transcription software provides you with a true digital assistant—gone are the days of dull administrative tasks like typing up reports. Regularly integrating verbally activated help into your computing routine is like having a private transcription service without the wait or cost.

For example, Dragon Professional is a popular app that lets you:

  • Dictate words right onto the page
  • Create transcriptions of lectures, speeches, interviews, podcasts and other audio
  • Compose, format, navigate and edit documents on-the-fly using only your voice
  • Customize verbal commands to take you through email composition, document formatting and other repetitive or formulaic tasks

Think of sending an email to your sales distribution list, copying senior management and printing a hard copy just by saying, “Send standard sales distribution email.” That’s five minutes of work done in five words.

Many of these apps, including Dragon, continually adapt to your voice, so over time the software gets smarter and more accurate. Look for one that also lets you add customized terms and acronyms specific to your industry or personal preferences.

Use the cloud
Many dictation apps have a subscription-based component that lets you take full advantage of today’s mobility. Dragon Professional can be combined with a service called Dragon Anywhere, which is a cloud-based mobile app to use on your iOS or Android device wherever you wish. Think, write and create on the road or in the field with newfound ease, taking productivity to heights unforeseen. Be sure to choose a mobile app that also syncs your documents and preferences across devices.

A built-in digital assistant
For Windows 10 users, the other digital assistant in the game is of course Cortana. Taking a moment to correctly set up Microsoft’s voice-activated helper can deliver superior results.

Unlike Siri or Google Now, Cortana lets you control what she knows about you, so she can better display reminders and information of interest to you. You manage this by making selections in Cortana’s Notebook or in your Contacts or Maps app. You can assign yourself a spouse among your contacts, and let Cortana know where your home and workplace are.

First, enable Cortana when you click in the Windows 10 search box. You’ll need to grant her permission to use your location, mic, contacts, email, messages and browser history—but do note that you can adjust these permissions to suit your individual preferences. With everything fully enabled, Cortana can show you local news, sports, forecasts and more, keeping you informed up to the minute and contributing to greater productivity at home and work.

Combine cleanup with security
The other essential way to keep your efficiency up and computing experience fast, safe and stutter-free is with a utility like System Mechanic Pro, a security and optimization solution all in one award-winning package. Rated best in class by PC Magazine repeatedly, System Mechanic Pro:

  • Leaves a very small footprint as it is streamlined into one security-and-cleanup product
  • Automatically removes clutter and performs crucial maintenance actions to keep your PC running fast and smooth
  • Recaptures trapped memory, tweaks processor and network settings and realigns program and data files for further increases in performance
  • Features advanced dual-engine malware detection to keep your PC safe
  • Relies on continually updated threat signatures and suspicious behavior-monitoring heuristics to detect the latest, unclassified threats
  • Safely and thoroughly scrubs hard drives clean of sensitive or unwanted data
  • Recovers accidentally deleted files

By taking time to properly set up Cortana and then investing modestly in user-friendly technologies built to enhance today’s Windows experience, you’ll enjoy speed-of-thought computing that’s easier than ever while eliminating the frustration associated with system lag.

iolo UptoSpeed

UpToSpeed™ is iolo's ongoing article series written by PC experts for everyday computer users. Each article is packed with easy tips and practical advice on the latest issues affecting computers to help you get the most out of your PC.

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Three Easy Ways to Take PC Productivity to the Next Level