Despite some people claiming they never have enough time, we all share the same 24 hours in a day. And now, more than ever perhaps, it seems like those 24 hours are just not enough. In the digital age, people feel more overwhelmed than ever and most of us would love more time – not necessarily time to do more work, but more time to do what we love. Microsoft have recognised this and made Windows 10’s most recent updates geared towards helping you reclaim the most precious of assets – time.
It’s safe to say that the proliferation of devices, along with the explosion of information, has led to an abundance of screen time in all our lives. Your information is most likely spread across multiple devices – making it increasingly harder to find where your digital stuff is located. We’ve all had that tedious experience of digging through your email or file folders for the document you know you wrote, but can’t find. Or looking for photos and videos that you know you’ve seen somewhere, but just can no longer locate. This is where Timeline comes in, it can help you get back this wasted time.
With Timeline, your Windows 10 PC lets you go back in time up to 30 days to find your stuff, whether you were working on it earlier today, last week, or a few weeks ago. What’s more, because so much of our online activity is done on the go these days, you can pick up what you were doing if signed into your Microsoft account while using Microsoft Edge or Office 365 on your iOS or Android device when you return to your Windows 10 PC. For example, you might be looking at a document on your phone during your commute and seamlessly picking it back up when you’re at your PC in the office.
These days, most of us spend between 3-6 hours – each day – in front of screens. The constant stream of distractions across our myriad of devices makes it increasingly hard to focus. You could say your attention is being hacked, pulling us into continuous feeds of information and distracting us from the things that matter most. This war on our attention is very real – in the workplace, studies have shown that the average amount of time people spend on any single event before being interrupted or switching tasks is about three minutes (outside of meetings). Since the average person needs about 23 minutes to regroup after being interrupted, it’s obvious why our productivity and creativity is being diminished.
With the most recent April 2018 Update Microsoft have introduced Focus Assist to help you stay in the zone when you need to most. At the touch of a button you can select Focus Assist whenever you want to get things done without distractions, like social media or other notifications. You can also set it to turn on automatically at certain times during the day when you want to stay on top of your game. When you finish, you receive a summary of what came through, whether notifications, emails or updates, while you were heads down. If you’re waiting on a specific call or email, you can choose people who you want to still get through to you during your time of focus.
The April update also helps you to focus while using the web with updates to Microsoft Edge. These allow you to click the audio icon to mute and unmute a tab that is playing sound. Books, PDFs and Reading View pages can go full-screen for a distraction-free reading experience. Also with the new update you can clear out clutter from your printouts by printing web pages in a cleaner format with the new clutter-free printing option. And the final new feature is that anyone needing a little help with reading can use the new Grammar Tools button to enable comprehension aids. These new Grammar Tools can break the words on the page into syllables, as well as highlight different parts of speech such as nouns, verbs, and adjectives.
More and more, software enables us to speak directly to our devices to accomplish tasks, without typing. Microsoft sees the potential for voice input to dramatically change how people interact with their devices, far beyond novelty or entertainment.
One way this has been achieved in the April 2018 Update is with Dictation. It’s now easier than ever to take a note or write a paper, using only your voice. With your cursor in any text field either in Windows 10 or in an app, simply press Win+H and start talking. The improved Dictation feature in Windows 10 will capture your thoughts quickly and accurately so that brilliant idea you just told your colleagues about or the speech you’re practicing for your best friend’s wedding isn’t lost forever.
Of course, these are just a few of the great new features in Microsoft’s April 2018 Update including simplified IT management tools for enterprise customers, new ways to create with Photos, 3D and Windows Mixed Reality, new ways to keep you safer online and enhancements to your PC gaming experience for when you are not at work.
With the Windows 10 April 2018 Update, Microsoft have really succeeded in helping to give us back, even if just a little, of our greatest currency – time. The April 2018 Update is now available as a free download so don’t delay and download it now!