Tuesday, February 1, 2000

Super productivity: it’s in the Palm of your hand


By Samuel Brandwein

I'll be the first to admit that the Palm organizer can be FUN. It's great for games (I really enjoy backgammon on my Palm device) or tracking your favorite sports teams. However, the purpose of this article isn't to tell you how to have fun with your Palm organizer. Its purpose is to help you realize the potential of what your Palm organizer is really all about -- greatly enhancing your business-related productivity.

Under this topic, I'm going to cover three sub-topics. The first will be a few tips for making your Palm organizer more useful right out of the box. Second, I'll discuss an add-on application that I've found to be a tremendous productivity-enhancing tool. And finally, for those of you who have the new Palm VII, I'll give you some tips for useful add-on PQAs (Palm Query Applications).

Shortcuts -- a great time saver

One of the great things about Palm devices is that they're so intuitively easy to use. That makes it tempting to dive right in and start using your new organizer without reading the manual. Unfortunately, in doing this, there's a good chance you'll overlook some of the more subtle tools within your Palm device.

For starters, if you didn't read the manual, you're probably not aware of the shortcuts feature. What are shortcuts? Well, let's say you have a client named Richard Cunningham. If you meet with or speak to Richard on a regular basis, you probably wish he had a shorter name every time you write that long name into your Palm device. As an alternative, wouldn't it save time if you could just write his initials (you don't even have to bother with capitalization), and Richard Cunningham would pop up on the screen?

How do you create, and then invoke, shortcuts? When you turn on your Palm device, you should see an application icon that says Prefs (short for preferences). Select Prefs and then ShortCuts from the pop-up menu at the upper-right corner of the Prefs screen. At this point, you'll see a list of a few pre-loaded shortcuts, as well as any shortcuts that you've created.

So how do you create a shortcut for Richard Cunningham? First, select New. Then, write in rc where it says ShortCut Name, and then write in Richard Cunningham where it says ShortCut Text. Then you'll tap OK. Now, whenever you need to write Richard Cunningham in your Palm device, you'll just need to write lrc (the symbol to invoke shortcuts looks like a cursive lowercase L).