8 Awesome Tech Tips & Tricks

When you think “tech + government,” do you automatically follow that up with… “= disaster”?

Jay Austin, a presenter at Tuesday’s Next Generation of Government Summit, wants to change that perception to one of “tech + government can = awesome stuff.”

Austin came to HUD as a Presidential Management Fellow in a not-so-long-ago time when Internet Explorer still had relevance and Blackberrys ruled the land, as he put it. He now manages HUD’s Switchboard, an online ideation and crowdsourcing community that recognizes that time erodes all— that if good governments wish to remain good governments, they must adopt new ideas and technologies and policies as quickly and as often as possible.

At his techs and tips session at Next Gen, Austin focused on a variety of tech tools that can make your life in government easier and make you more productive.

#1: Don’t use Internet Explorer
Many govies still have to use this outdated browser, but if you can get away with it, Austin advised downloading Google’s Chrome browser instead.

#2: Or download IE Tab
IE Tab for Chrome is a browser extension that allows you to use Internet Explorer to display web pages in a tab. This is useful in many cases where a web page requires Internet Explorer features.

#3: Poke into the world of Chrome Extensions
Once you have downloaded Chrome, try downloading a variety of extensions. Extensions are small software programs that can modify and enhance the functionality of the Chrome browser and help you do lots of nifty things.

#4: Use Evernote
Evernote is a cross-platform app that serves many purposes—it can be a digital file cabinet, note-taking tool, daily journal, task or project management system, recipe-keeper, and more. If you take a lot of notes across your laptop, tablet, and mobile device, Evernote will be useful for you to search your notes later on.

#5: Work to get to inbox zero
Inbox Zero is a rigorous approach to email management aimed at keeping the inbox empty — or almost empty — at all times.

#6: Find a task management app that works for you
There are a ton of different task management and productivity tools out there, but you’ll never be fully productive if you don’t find one you can stick with, Austin advised. Experiment, but then commit.

#7: Get your agency on Yammer
Yammer is a private social networking platform that your agency can use to chat, share files, and more.

#8: Visit Lifehacker.com
Austin said he could go on and on with more productivity and tech tips but Lifehacker is the grandaddy of all tech tips — so bookmark it for many more tips that will make your tech life just a little bit easier.

From July 20th – 21st we’ll be blogging from GovLoop and YGL’s Next Generation of Government Training Summit. Follow along @NextGenGov and read more blog posts here.

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David Carr

How about maintaining active accounts on social media? You can’t know what is being said about you (good or bad) if you are not on social media. Agencies need to have employees that can manage those accounts within government guidelines and able to present facts and interact with the public as an extension of the services they already offer to the public.