These days, we have a wide range of sophisticated software tools to help us achieve our daily tasks. But, do we always get the most out of this software? Probably not.
We’re busy. We have a lot of projects and tasks competing for our precious time. So, often, we’ll jump right in and start using the software immediately after we install it, learning as we go to the best of our ability.
And, we’ll probably manage to quickly get the basics and muddle along quite well. Most of the time, we’ll learn how to get the software to do what we need it to do.
Are You Making Optimal Use of Your Software?
But, that doesn’t mean that we are using the software in the most efficient or optimal way.
Even if you have been using a software application for years, if you taught yourself in the first place, you might be missing out on a lot of the software’s functionality. This is especially true of complex applications like Word, Excel, or Photoshop.
And, it’s amazing how much more productive you can become if you take the time to learn properly.
For example, I’ve used the WordPress CMS platform for years, but, a few months back, I decided to dig a little deeper and completed an Essential Training course presented by WordPress guru Morten Rand-Hendriksen
I was quite surprised at how many little shortcuts and interface tweaks and tricks that I learned along the way. I also gained some deeper insights into the underlying nuts and bolts of the platform and this core knowledge has helped me extend the functionality of sites I build with WordPress in various ways. I’ve now incorporated these into my WordPress workflow and it really has increased my efficiency and productivity.
And, right now, I’m doing a comprehensive Adobe Photoshop course. Again, even though I’ve used Photoshop for years to prepare images for web articles and process my own photographs, I’ve already learned a lot of new ways to achieve tasks and thereby get things done faster.
Anything that saves you time, even a few seconds, can quickly add up. A couple of hours saved over a week can equate to more time to do important stuff.
Take the Time to Ramp Up Your Software Skillset
So, it’s worth spending the time to thoroughly learn how to get the best out of the software you use all the time. You’ll most likely see a return on this time outlay as you increase the efficiency of your workflows.
I’ve found the best way to achieve this goal is to do professionally presented video-based courses. There are many great learning resources available, both free and paid. Generally, these courses will take you through using the software step by step.
And, when you do a course, it’s worthwhile starting from the basics even if you use the software all the time. Often, it is among these basics, which you might think that you know pretty well already, that you pick up a lot of little time-saving tweaks and tips.
When choosing a course, opt for one that seems professionally presented, comprehensive, and is provided by a verifiable expert in the field.
For software, I find the courses provided by LinkedIn Learning (formally Linda.com) to be outstanding.
But, there are also great software courses on Udemy and a host of other course provider websites. Accessing these courses usually involves paying a fee or an ongoing subscription, but the cost is quite reasonable and it is certainly worth the price for what you get.
That said, there are plenty of good software tutorials on YouTube and elsewhere that are available for free.
Video or Text — Plenty of Choices
I think video is perfect for teaching software because you can see exactly what the tutor is doing and follow along. This hands-on method of learning is really effective.
But, if you prefer to learn via written tutorials rather than video, there are plenty available on Amazon, your local bookstore, or even your library.
If I’m learning software from a book, I usually buy a kindle version and have it loaded on my iPad. That way, I can easily switch between the tutorial and the software as I work on my computer.
So, again, even if you’ve been using an application for years, it’s worth taking the time to ensure that you are using the software as efficiently as you can.
Go through a course and see how you go. You might be quite surprised at how much you get out of it.