Debbie Mayo-Smith: Big payoff from five-minute investment


$6923.08 in salaried time and who knows how many opportunities flushed down the toilet (by lack of time).

This figure represents two individuals, one on $70k per year, the other at $50k, both spending three full working weeks splitting first and last names apart manually, one by one by one in a huge Excel spread sheet. The pity is that instead of three weeks and two staff members the entire project could have been accomplished with three clicks of a mouse, by one person. What a shame that neither had known about the simple Excel function 'Text to Columns' (or asked around).

How do I know? They told me about it during an in-house software productivity workshop I ran for their company.

This is symptomatic of the saddest thing I see as a 'technology' business speaker and trainer. The vast gulf between what the everyday business tools people have in hand can do; and how people actually use these tools. So much time is needlessly wasted doing things on their computer manually one by one by one, when it should be and could be done many at once.

I think the root of the problem is threefold.

First, computer training isn't a priority now so staff are often left to DIY (do it yourself).

However DIY doesn't occur because people at work are too busy. They don't have the time to stop. Think. Search for a quicker or smarter way to do things.

Finally the rapid change in software and technology with upgrades. Just think of the massive productivity crash that went with the changeover from Office 2003 to 2007 or 2010. It's not only Microsoft Office. From the Internet to smart phones. Propriety or industry software systems. From Skype to Social media. If you use Facebook you know it seems to change monthly.


As you know there are many training options available. In fact if you'd like to win a place in one of my two workshops (17 August, Auckland) - Using your technology tools better; and Social Media and Database Marketing. Simply click here to decide which you like, then email with your selection. The winner will be picked on Monday, August 8.

DIY -with 10 minute schmooze
Diary a few minutes once or twice a week and have a play - looking through the file menu/ribbons or asking questions to help. Microsoft has loads of how-to videos and tutorials online.

Share a tip office meetings
Make sharing a computer tip a fun part of every weekly office meeting

Tips on intranet
Have people put their top tips on the intranet to share

Ask IT Helpdesks to put together a tip
Most IT Managers and helpdesks are a fountain of knowledge, but don't have the time to comment on everyday software functions (or they think everyone will know them -which is Not the case).

• Books
Have an office library of books. I have a few

* Debbie Mayo-Smith is an International Speaker and No#1 bestselling author of 10 books. Contact Debbie on



Be in to win a seat at one of the workshops. Using your technology tools better Or Social Media and Database Marketing, click here to decide which you prefer, then email Debbie Mayo-Smith with your selection. The winner will be notified on Monday, August 8 2011.

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