8 Tips to Increase Work Efficiency


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Jae Jun

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Time Does NOT Equal Money

How much is your time worth? $10 per hour? $20?

I know that it is worth much more than that because time does not equal money.

Money is a commodity, while time is a precious limited resource. You may be able to gain money in all sorts of ways, but you will never gain time once spent.

With such hectic lives we live, 24 hours doesn’t seem enough. But seeing how that is all that we have, here is a list ways I operate while having a full time job, running this site and investing with only a couple of hours max to spare each day.

1. Answering Short Emails on Smartphone

Phones have come a long way. I’m now using a Samsung Android phone which allows me to answer emails instantly. I can answer more emails than would be possible if I were to check everything in one go.

Emails are kept short and to the point. Other emails that I can get to later receive a star.

By answering emails while I’m in the elevator, waiting in line for a burger, waiting at the post office and other various places with 2-5 minutes to spare, I save 1 hour easily.

Be careful that you don’t overdo it though. Not at the dinner table please.

I also have a twitter application on my phone so I can quickly check whether there are any updates from people tweeting about stocks I own.

2. Writing Down Ideas on Paper

You will be shocked at how many ideas you come across in a day. The human brain is a huge ball of muscle throwing out ideas every second. A pen and paper is the only way catch it.

I’ve tried taking notes with my phone and other electronic devices, but they just don’t work like a good ol’ fashioned pen and paper.

I write down stocks I hear, read or see. Currently I have a PostIt next to me with 8 stocks I need to review.

Writing down points about a particular investments also makes it easier to organize thoughts and ideas. If I gather enough points, I can easily write an article in an hour or so, whereas it would take at least 3 hours to get everything together from scratch.

3. SpringPad App on Android

The exception to a pen and paper is an application called SpringPad on my phone. The beauty is that you create an account online and it syncs with your device.

It’s very much like other note taking applications exception SpringPad already has a list of categories which you can immediately add to.

Find a new value investing blog that you like? Add it to your SpringPad and you now have that URL on your account accessible from any computer.

4. Using Google Apps to Work From Anywhere

I’m a cloud computing nut and Google feeds it me. I use most of their services and I even go as far to pay for extra ones.

I forward all my outlook emails to a single gmail account so I do not have to worry about losing anything.

I also test a lot of spreadsheets and create draft versions on Google Docs. It’s great when you can log in from any computer and can just continue working.

With Google calendars, you can set up notifications to send to your phone or email for upcoming earnings dates and conference calls.

No more fiddling around with a desk calendar and being tied to your desk.

5. Storing Data on Cloud Services

Amazon S3 and Rackspace are both excellent ways to back up files on the cloud. I have accounts with both. If you had to choose one, go with Rackspace.

It’s faster, it’s web based and it’s easier to use.

The sign up process for Rackspace was the biggest hassle I have ever had but it is worth it in the end.

I use it to store and share pdf’s, ebooks, transcripts, annual reports and all sorts of random stuff.

6. Best Way to Backup Data Easily

SugarSync is the biggest change I’ve made in terms of operations.

It is a true cloud backup service for $5 a month which allows you to back up to 30GB of files. I have a 1TB backup drive at home, but I never use it because backing up daily or even weekly is such a hassle.

But after I experienced hard drive crashes and my laptop being stolen, this is a fantastic investment.

With the most basic account, I only receive 30GB so I do not back up photos and other media files. Those go into Rackspace.

The way SugarSync works is that after you have initially uploaded all your files, SugarSync only syncs files and folders (in the background) by detecting files that have been changed.

No more ugly backups taking up huge space and bandwidth.

Don’t regret losing years worth of work just to save $5 a month.

7. Working with Multiple Monitors

Using multiple computer monitors exponentially increases your work efficiency. I currently have 2 monitors set up. One is my laptop and the other is a 22inch widescreen LCD.

Monitors are so cheap these days. I wish I could get 4 monitors and then hook it all together neatly into a monitor mount.

Getting back to the point.

Bill Gates uses 3 monitors himself.

If you look at this office, there isn’t much paper in it. On my desk I have three screens, synchronized to form a single desktop. I can drag items from one screen to the next. Once you have that large display area, you’ll never go back, because it has a direct impact on productivity. –  Bill Gates

Same with Larry Page.

I have a weird setup in my office. I have one computer with three monitors: one flat-screen monitor and two regular ones. I have my browser on one screen, my schedule on another and my e-mail on another. I can drag things to different screens. I also have a projector. So if I’m talking with everyone in my office, I can move stuff onto a big screen. – Larry Page

If I had 3 monitors, one would have my intrinsic value spreadsheets open, the middle screen for researching and finding information, and the third monitor for the SEC website.

8. How to Download Earnings Calls

Adam from Value Uncovered has put together a neat How-To Guide for Downloading Earnings Calls.

Bruce Berkowitz says that he listened to the Bank of America conference call 8-9 times. Adam’s method makes things easier.

How do You Work Efficiently?

There are countless other methods and ideas of working efficiently. The purpose of all this is to help you save time so that when you actually sit down at your desk or computer, you get to work immediately on reading and writing investment related material. Not surfing or wasting time on social media.

So what is your tip to work efficiently?

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4 responses to “8 Tips to Increase Work Efficiency”

  1. dw says:

    Great stuff! thanks for the tips

  2. Jae,

    Great article. There are two tools you did not mention that are essential to keeping my research organized. The first is Evernote (both on my PC and my iPhone). The second is Dropbox. I highly recommend both of them and am not sure how I kept it all together before I discovered how to use both of them effectively.

    Can anyone comment on the difference between dropbox and sugarsync? I’m thinking of giving Sugarsync a 30 trial. Also, how do these tools differ from Rackspace? Why not just use dropbox or sugarsync instead of Rackspace?

    Thanks for your help!

    -GnDsville

  3. Jae Jun says:

    @ Graham and Doddsville,
    Sugarsync is very much like rackspace except you pay for storage whereas on rackspace you pay for traffic.

    For large files, rather than paying huge amounts of money for storing files you don’t use often, you just upload it to rackspace and forget about it.
    e.g. if you backup your blog, you will want to back up the DB and files somewhere safe. I can do it for about 50c a month! =)

  4. Thanks Jae – very helpful!

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