Productivity Secrets from the Trivantis Pros: Pt.1

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Do you ever feel like the White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland, shouting, “I’m late! I’m late! For a very important date!” as you struggle to meet deadlines? Sometimes it can be hard to focus when you’re working on multiple projects—or when you’re actually a rabbit in a tuxedo jacket. Our developers and designers here at Trivantis are pros at getting stuff done (just take a look at our service pack and updates page), so I asked them to share their secrets.

Turns out, our Trivantis pros have too many productivity secrets to fit into one blog post, so today is just Part 1: General Work Productivity. Later, I’ll be revealing all their best Lectora® shortcuts and productivity secrets!   

The Trusted Trio

“Use the ‘Trusted Trio’ three-folder system to manage the constant influx of email. All of my email is either Archived or moved to a Follow Up or Hold folder (or inbox using labels if you’re using Gmail).”

-Laura Silver, Director of Product Management

Check out the details of this life-saving system on Lifehacker. And please excuse me while I go reorganize my inbox. I’d never heard of this until Laura told me about it, and I’m excited to try it out. Tweet at us @Lectora or comment on this blog if you try out the Trusted Trio system.

Ignore Everyone

“As ironic as this may be, my best productivity secret is to take a day off from emails and phone calls. When I have serious work, it requires serious concentration. I turn off the phone and don’t open my email. You would be amazed what can get done with singular focus.”

-John Blackmon, Chief Technology Officer

Okay, John didn’t actually say to ignore everyone, but he did ignore my email all day. I’m going to interpret that to mean the next update to Lectora will be extra amazing.

“Title to Title Copy”

“Not everyone knows you can bring up two different titles in Lectora Online! This is a great way to be able to get existing course content and bring it into a course you are developing. From the dashboard open the second title, copy something, and you will be able to paste it into the other title you are working on.”

-Joe Wieloch, Director of Development – Lectora Online

Tricky, tricky, right? If you have a main intro section that needs to be in every course, this is a great way to avoid re-creating it every time!

One and Done

“If you use Photoshop to create graphics for your Lectora titles, my tip is to cram as much of the title graphics as you can stand into a single Photoshop file with the layers organized into clearly-named groups and subgroups, much like the Title Explorer in Lectora. I used to create one Photoshop file per page of my title, but found that the ‘cram’ method saves me a lot of time in the end, even though opening and saving the files is slower. Sub-tip: If it’s an option for you, get the fastest machine you can and max out the RAM!”

-Wendy Miller, Lead Content Developer

I foresee a lot of purchasing departments getting computer upgrade requests in the near future…

Work from Home

Daryl tried to get away with just sending the copy and paste shortcuts (Ctrl+C/Ctrl+V) as his productivity tip. I made him give me another, and he very succinctly replied “work from home!”

-Daryl Fleary, Product Manager

This might be my favorite tip, because when I work from home, I have a great free copy editor:

SneakersProductivity1What’s your best productivity secret for focusing in the office? Share yours in the comments and stay tuned for Part 2: Lectora Productivity Tips!

  • John Mortenson

    I like Wendy’s tip- I do that myself. To build on her approach, after you make a mockup in Photoshop, you typically end up with dozens of tiny assets that you need to export as standalone graphics on a transparent background.

    What’s an easy way to do this? If the asset is on its own layer (or layer group) in Photoshop, I hold the ALT/Option key and click the eyeball for that layer in the Layers panel. This is a shortcut to HIDE/SHOW ALL OTHER LAYERS. So now your element is all alone against a transparent background.

    I then use Photoshop’s Save for Web command (Ctrl Alt SHIFT S) to save the asset as a PNG (which supports transparency). You can ALT/Option click the layer eyeball
    again to show the layers you had before. I repeat this process for each asset until
    I have created separate files for all of my standalone assets.

    The only problem now is that each asset is saved on a transparent background at the full size of the mockup (for example, 1009×662). Here’s the fun part… open the individual asset file in Photoshop. In the Image Menu, select Trim. The TRIM command automatically crops your image to cut out the pixel rows and columns
    you do not need.

    You can see from my screenshot that I added a keyboard shortcut
    for this command because I do it ALL OF The TIME! (Note: Fancy people would run this as a batch process to be faster but it’s so much fun I prefer to do it manually).

    As you can tell, I LOVE keyboard shortcuts! I have probably forgotten more keyboard shortcuts than most people will ever know. Here’s my rule of thumb… if you do the same thing 3 times in one sitting, if there’s a shortcut, LEARN it. If there isn’t one, MAKE one!

    • Gary Y

      Hey, John—

      You may already be aware of this, as you posted this six months ago…but there’s a new Photoshop 2015 feature for _automagically_ generating images from layers (pre-trimmed!) by simply adding .png, .jpg, etc. to the layer name. Check it out: https://helpx.adobe.com/photoshop/using/generate-assets-layers.html

      Thought I’d return the favor, since you helped me out after I found out about your Trivantis connection! 🙂