Automating My Work Environment

      3 min read          

It’s company policy to restart your computer before you leave work. Why? I imagine an effort to help protect client health records.

At first, this annoyed me because I had to reopen my apps and my stories every day. That not only took time but precious brain power to remember what the heck I was doing. It’s bad enough to pick up in the middle of a story the next day, but don’t force me to start over before my first cup of coffee.

Man throwing head back and sighing because he's out of coffee.

Like a lot of people, I hope, my first idea was to save all that information in a text file I could read each morning. That way I knew what I was doing, what I needed to do, and any important links I needed to reopen. A simple yet crude idea that got frustrating. Though that did give rise to my daily tracking system I’ll be talking about in a future post.

The first solution came when I got annoyed copying and pasting all those links every morning. I solved that by installing Firefox and the Better-OneTab extension. Now at the end of the day, I click the Better-OneTab button and my opened tabs get saved and ready to go for the next day. You can even name and sync your sets of tabs.

In my last position, I actually had a batch script I would use every day to launch everything I needed. Why I didn’t use it in this position from the very start I don’t know. Now every morning I run the batch script from my desktop and I’m up and running. Here’s a simple template to help get you going:

@ECHO OFF

REM I'm a big fan of moving to the folder before starting an app.
CD "C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\root\Office16\"

START OUTLOOK.EXE

REM Sometimes it's fine not to though.
START firefox

REM This will open in the default browser.
START "" https://www.stackoverflow.com

REM This will open in the browser you name even if the browser is already opened.
START firefox https://duckduckgo.com

Now I actually like restarting my computer at the end of the day. It resets the state of all my applications and it helps me reset my state of mind. I don’t use a batch script to close everything because I want to make sure I’ve saved what I was working on. It’s like restarting my computer is a signal to my brain that the work day is over. Now opening the applications and websites every morning help me get in the right space to focus on work.

It may not be Earth-shattering but I hope those two things will help you gain control over your day. I’ll be writing another post soon about how I use Outlook filters. They help control the overwhelming flood of emails I get in a day. Don’t worry if you don’t have Outlook they’re general enough that any email client should work.

comments powered by Disqus