Intro

I started Practical Productivity in 2006 to provide businesses with custom task automation software mainly focused on individual worker productivity.

My goal is to help you increase worker productivity and reduce overtime by eliminating complex and repetitious tasks. I specialize in small budget projects that provide immediate results and a quick return on your investment.

Additionally, I provide automation consulting to identify areas in your business that can benifit the most.

I look forward to working with you to supercharge your business.

Sincerely,

--Ryan S. Cole


Ryan@PracticalProductivity.com * 702-723-7767 * $60/hr

Macros

The term Macro has evolved much over time. Today, it refers to a computer program that extends the functionality of other software, more or less interacting with it like person would.

Macros can conveniently send, retrieve, and process data. They often work together with other applications, databases, or websites. Some macros can emulate mouse clicks, read and enter text, and identify things on the screen. They can do many tasks a person can do on a computer making them a powerful task automation tool.

There are three main types of macros I produce; Office macros, Google Spreadsheet macros, AutoHotKey macros.

Office macros include Microsoft Word and Excel macros. Word macros are not as commonly needed, while Excel users often benefit from macros. We could include MS Access here as well, but we wont as not to upset Access programmers who dislike the term "Macro" in reference to VBA.

With Google Apps becoming a more common platform, so is the need for Google Spreadsheet macros.

I use AutoHotKey macros for most other cases. AutoHotKey macros work with most applications and web browsers. They allow interfacing into applications and websites not meant for interfacing. These macros are often started with a combination keyboard press such as ctrl + 1. Others run on a schedule, or are started by clicking an icon.

A cousin of AutoHotKey, called AutoKey, is used when similar functionality is needed in Linux.

Common uses for macros include customized letters, filling out forms, calculations, auto-formatting, sending data to websites, and importing or exporting of data. Macros can speed up most data entry tasks. Work that involves transferring information from one system to another can usually be entirely automated.


Ryan@PracticalProductivity.com * 702-723-7767 * $60/hr

Utilities

I have produced a wide variety of utilities, but most are related to the following:

  • Database interaction
  • Parsers & format conversion
  • Printing
  • Image processing & generation
  • Remote processing and build tools
  • Website updates and updates from websites
  • Systems checks and troubleshooting
  • Forecasting, graphing, and other business intelligence

I support both Windows and Linux operating systems.

Typically these utilities are developed using one or more of the following languages:

  • Lua
  • Python
  • C/C++
  • SQL
  • REBOL/Red
  • VBA
  • PHP
  • JavaScript
  • AutoHotKey




Ryan@PracticalProductivity.com * 702-723-7767 * $60/hr

Consulting

For the typical worker an extra 10 minutes a day amounts to an extra week of work a year.

IT departments are inclined to focus on operational needs, bottlenecks, and other issues pushed forth by managers and workers that seem like problems. However, complex and repetitive tasks are often not viewed as problems, but as widely accepted parts of the job.

Workers tend not to complain about complex tasks because they may prize their ability to do it, don't want to appear inadequate, or just believe simplification is not acheivable. Complex tasks, aside from being time consuming, drain mental energy, require more initial training, aren't as easily passed to other workers, and are often more prone to human error.

Repetitive tasks are often overlooked for much different reasons. Workers usually like doing them. Easy, thoughtless, and satisfying work that makes the day go by quickly.

These tasks can be identified and evaluated with a short automation consultation with the manager or worker. Given how commonly task automation can enhance productivity, I recommend automation consulting for all businesses I work with.


Ryan@PracticalProductivity.com * 702-723-7767 * $60/hr