13 super-useful time-saving tech tips for less stressful working and living

It's excellent when technology makes your life easier, right?  With this in mind, we've put together 13 time saving tips together to make it easier for you to use your devices, including tips on text-to-speech and speech-to-text options. These are game changers!

how to use your tech to save time1.  Let your virtual assistant, such as Siri/ Google do all the work: All smartphones and computers now come with a virtual assistant. By speaking into your device you can get help with tasks such as navigation, making notes, writing texts and finding out where local businesses are.

2. Here's a brill list of Google voice commands you can use to get your virtual assistant to do stuff. Here's some ideas for Siri commands.

3.  You're sitting in front of an open document, due to write a report or essay, but are unable to type or would like to give your eyes a break. Use Nuance or your built-in voice recognition options  such as Apple's Dictation or Windows Speech Recognition to speak your words and you'll be amazed at the results.

4. If you are completely unable to use your hands and arms because of a disability or injury, you can try something like Nuance Naturally Speaking Premium edition which has more advanced features than some of the in-built versions, such as the ability to get your computer to put text into bold or italics. This is available on mobile phones too. 

builder with tablet looking happy and confident

5.  Out of the box, your device's virtual assistant will require you to tap a button to get it to start listening. You can remove this feature and talk handsfree to your phone using the 'Hey Siri', 'Ok Google, or 'Hey Cortana' commands. Have a look in your settings. Here's how to open Siri handsfree.

6.  Your virtual assistant can even set reminders for you. Click the link to see how to do it with Cortana. You never have to forget that important event ever again!

7.  Got Windows and want to have texts, emails or articles read out to you? Have a look at Natural Readers or TextAloud.

8. Apple types can have texts, articles and documents read aloud either using the in-built options like VoiceOver or try software like Ghostreader.  You can even have your electronic ibooks read out to you. This, like a lot of the tips here could be useful if you are dyslexic and would like a break from reading and writing sometimes. 

9. If you're a Android user, you can have emails, webpages and all sorts of other things read to you. Perhaps a bedtime story? Try Google Text-to-Speech.

10. If you are visually impaired you can use your computer quite effectively with an in-build screenreader (though we would like to see more work going into making sure webpages are optimised for screenreaders). In-built ones include Windows Narrator and Apple Voice Over and free open source ones include NVDA.

11. Have Norwegian, Arabic or even Canadian French as your mother tongue? The good news is that text-to-speech comes in lots of languages. This could be very useful if you work as a translator.

12. Text to speech can be fun too! You can have a chat with your own personal assistant.

13. Youtube has some really good clips of how to set up text to speech on an Iphone and Android devices and will likely have videos for everything mentioned above.

Find out more

  • Need more help? Call our free helpline on 0800 269 545 and Ask Alex (me!) about how tech can change your life