When it comes to work and education, the biggest advantage of a computer is that it automates repetitive tasks. Doing something manually can take hours or days, while a computer does it in seconds.
We have collected ten software and tools that are essential for the management of repetitive tasks.
Table of Contents
1. Excel Spreadsheets
Spreadsheets are the best alternative to manual data processing. Whether you need to manage contacts, track your budget or make calculations, spreadsheets are the program for the job. It is an area where it can get really messy and complicated real fast, but once you know how to work with its concepts and formulas, you’ll be able to do just about anything.
2. Text editors
One of the most common tasks in programming is writing tons of code. However, you can’t just write them straight into your IDE because it won’t be manageable at all. A good text editor helps you by giving syntax highlighting and other useful features that help keep your code organized and easy to manage. If you’re working with several people on the same project, you’ll also need a good source control system to keep your code in sync.
Computers are good for a lot of things, but you can’t expect it to give you an accurate result when performing complex calculations. A calculator is a must-have when you need to make quick computations and don’t have a scientific calculator in sight.
Integrated development environments (or IDEs) simplify the life of programmers by providing everything they need in one place. You get your code editor, compiler, debugger and other tools in one click. With so many functions inside them, IDEs might feel overwhelming at first especially if you’re not an experienced programmer. However with time, you’ll get used to its features and appreciate how much easier programming becomes with this groundbreaking technology.
5. Fast Browser
Every web developer needs a browser that can handle the most common tasks such as opening multiple files and pages, searching for text and copying it. For those reasons, FireFox is the current champion if you want to use an open-source software. Google Chrome makes browsing even faster by prerendering the webpage before you click on its link — just like how Opera Mini works.
6. Revision Control
When working with other people on different workstations, one of the first things you need to do is to keep everything in sync through revision control systems. These programs allow you to track changes in your code so that no one overwrites each other’s work or gets confused about which version is newer. Git, Mercurial and Subversion are the most popular ones, with Git being on top due to its branching system that makes it easier for large projects.
This text editor is way more powerful than Windows Notepad or even WordPad. It comes with syntax highlighting, the ability to open large files plus some other features that help programmers simplify their work. One of these features is the Find in Files function where you can find a particular string in all your source code files within seconds. If you don’t have time to learn how IDEs work, Notepad++ will have everything covered including auto-completion and PHP syntax formatting.
8. Project Management Tool
When managing multiple projects on your own, you need an efficient system to keep everything in order. A project management tool will allow you to create tasks for each of your clients that can be prioritized by due date and importance. From there, every task gets its own discussion thread so that all collaborators know who’s working on what part of the project.
9. Task Manager
Task managers are tools that kill all running applications on your computer with one click of the button. Sometimes you have too many programs running at once, which can cause system lags and freezes. It’s not always obvious what processes are hogging up your CPU or memory, so closing everything down takes trial and error until you find out which automatic startup is causing the problem. You can also keep track of all your running programs to determine whether they’re slowing down your computer.
If you’re responsible for generating leads online, this program will come in handy when you need to click on different links dozens of times per second. It’s easily available online and you can find it here. You can set the number of clicks that it should perform plus the time interval between clicks so that your computer doesn’t attract too much attention.
11. Sticky Notes
Not many people know about this simple but very useful feature of Windows 7 and earlier versions. This program is like a post-it note that you can stick on your monitor or any other part of the screen. Whenever you’re looking for a quick reminder, just look at the place where your sticky note is and there it is.
12. Translation Software
This program comes in handy when you want to translate text between different languages without actually having to open up your browser. Google Translate, for example, allows users to input text and then select the language they want it translated to. The software automatically detects where the original text is located on the screen so that it can read it aloud in the target language while showing a visual translation of what’s been typed onscreen.
No matter what your profession is, it’s good to know some words and phrases used in different contexts. This application gives definitions of words plus some examples on how they can be used. In addition, you can search for specific words or phrases and even make a bookmark of them so that they show up every time you launch the program.
Staying on top of your game jargon-wise can be particularly difficult, especially if you have to proofread text written by someone else. The thesaurus feature in any word processing application will give you different words that are similar to the one you originally selected plus their definitions so that you get a clear understanding of what they mean.
If it’s your job to study new things every day, this program is for you. Flashcards allow users to create sets with all kinds of information like foreign vocabulary, project management terms or product names and logos. All sets can then be shuffled in any way until it’s time to show off your knowledge in front of anyone who cares enough to listen.