Wednesday, September 19, 2001

The Optimal Way

About a month ago, I posted some thoughts on why I'm trying to learn more about MS Office. Today, someone forwarded an article to me which contained these two paragraphs:

"In this study of how non-technical people use computers, they observed that people don't read manuals. And once they figure out how to achieve something, they will not change their protocol even if doing things a different way is quicker.

"It's paradoxical because people would save time if they learned how to use computers in an optimal way. But most computer users are laboring under this paradox right now."

This is why I'm learning about MS Office. Whenever I use it, I half worry that there's a faster way, a more productive way, a more efficient way to do what I'm doing. Early on in my job, I spent time converting a report from a database program into something I can read in Excel. I executed numerous Excel menu items to make the report look good. Well, I have to do this conversion every week. Instead of doing the same steps over again, I pulled out an Excel macro to slurp up the report from a text file, auto-format and auto-filter, and save the file with a new name. Instead of spending five minutes every week, I now do this same task in ten seconds.

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