How To Go From Full Time MBA Student To Productive Business Pro In Less Than 5 Tips

Empty Meeting Room

You’ve graduated. You’ve secured a job. Now what? As the reality sinks in, you’ll realize that getting that coveted position was only half the battle.  Making the leap from a full time student to a full time professional is the other, much tougher, half.

By far, the biggest challenge is finding the right balance as you adjust to your new position.  It calls for a shift in your daily habits, your lifestyle, and your productivity. And effective tech habits are part of that. They’re crucial to how we work. If they can’t be efficiently put to use, neither will your time.

Obviously, we all have our own ways of working with tech. Yet what habits you had in business school might not work in your new position.  Fortunately, it’s possible to make a smooth transition with a few productivity tech tips that will keep you on track and well-adjusted.

1. Optimize Your Computer Workflow

To start, make sure your computer is set up to complement the way you need to work. Put your everyday files within one or two clicks by optimizing your desktop station with Dropbox. A simple cloud service like Dropbox can keep you constantly connected and highly organized.

If you’ve used this as an MBA student then you know how well it can back up your documents across mobile and desktop platforms. And as a business pro, it can bump up your productivity by using it to create an effective file folder and labeling system.

File Folder Case

How:

Labeling your folders is key. When working with documents, we usually work with them as a part of an on-going process.

So name your folders according to stages in your work: Working Drafts, Documents To Review, Finalized Documents, and so on. Then create subfolders for different categories—Clients, Office documents, Monthly reports, and the like.

This system lets you instantly dig up and locate a file according to where it is in the workflow rather than having to sift through broad categories first.

2. Stay On Track With A Personal Task Manager

Make sure you set up a good daily routine that includes a task list.  Setting up goals safeguards your time and keep you from multitasking because the amount of time spent on different things doesn’t always equate to productivity.

An app like To-Doist is simple yet powerful enough to keep you on task. It has both a web and free app that are easy to use.

How:

To work effectively, sort your tasks by priority and length of completion time. Tasks of high priority with short deadlines go to the top of the list. Low priority tasks with longer deadlines go at the bottom.

For on-going jobs, break them down. Schedule them in for the next day at the end. This way you’re constantly working on them bit by bit until completed.

Also, reserve blocks of time for emails, phone calls, lunch, and frequent breaks to prevent you from getting side tracked and ensuring that you have a well balanced routine.

Scheduling your day is important during the first weeks when you’ll naturally be working slower than usual. Setting up your task list like this allows you to focus and give you time to accomplish one task at a time.

3. Boost Your Mobile Phone 

 For the first week, you will probably be shown around the company as part of your orientation. Remembering everything from procedures to document processing is key.

Simplify this by getting an app that can raise your mobile productivity.  For instance, an app like Evernote is a popular utility that will let you take notes right on the spot.

Uploading Files To Cloud

How:

Create a New Note for every reminder you need and categorize them into Notebooks for different aspects of your orientation: Procedures, Team Members & Roles, Clientele, and so on.

The best part is that you aren’t limited to typing your notes. You can record voice memos when you don’t have time to type and take snapshots of examples you may need for reference later on.

With the many services and apps you can use, Evernote becomes a powerful cheatsheet tool that can make the first few weeks a breeze.

4. Connect With Professionals Online

As the new kid on the block, you’ll want to be prepared for any project that comes your way. Whether this means turning to an image editing tool for custom graphics and media projects or YouTube videos for MS Office how-to’s, you should have the right resources at your fingertips.

For times when you need guidance and advice, you should join Quora, one of the top Q & A sites where you can connect with experts.

How:

If you follow top business influencers in your field, you can gain valuable insight based on real life experience.

The advantage of this site is that you can get in touch directly with professionals. First, you can visit their profiles and send them a simple message introducing yourself.

Or second and more effectively, you can use the network’s Ask to Answer feature. This allows you to have your question sent to a professional of your choice directly. So the more active you are the better a resource Quora can become!

You’ve worked hard to earn your position, so don’t let a few snags affect your performance. There are many ways to improve your technical game. Use what works for you. Give these tips a test run and let us know how you plan on making the transition easier.

How to Calculate CAD Scale Factor?

Industrial Technical Drawing

Part 7 of 13 in our How To Use AutoCAD series

When working in AutoCAD, you’re not only working with objects and drawings, you’re also working with dimensions and measurements. The latter two elements are what can make or break your drawing. If you can’t resize basic values when you need to, your drawings can’t be as accurate as needed.

Calculating a scale factor in CAD is, thus, a simple, but important task. When the drawings are printed for production, they’re represented much smaller than they actually are. Hence, we need to understand and implement the scale factors in order to adequately size dimensions, text, blocks and lines.

In short, the scale factor is the relationship between our printed units and our drawing units.  The simplest way to calculate the scale factor is by using these simple formulas.

For calculating scale factor out of architectural drawing scale:

  1. Choose your scale. For example:  1/4” = 1”
  2. Invert the fraction and multiply by 12 to get:  4/1 x 12 = 48
  3. Your scale factor is 48

For calculating the scale factor from an engineering drawing scale, only multiply the feet by 12. For an in-depth look at both engineering and architectural scales, check out this tutorial on CAD Scale Factors by ArchToolbox.

Get Able2Extract 10.2 with Our Software Advantage Plan

As you may know, our Software Advantage Plan (SAP) is a premium customer support subscription package that comes with a number of perks.

From front of the line service to special discounts, the program makes sure that our customers are well-taken care of and given VIP treatment.

That’s why starting today, all SAP members have exclusive access to our new special build: Able2Extract 10.2!

This build is a small taste of what to expect from our next release, letting you try out new features way ahead of everybody else. Take a quick look at what Able2Extract 10.2 can do with your PDF files.

What Can You Do In Able2Extract 10.2?

On top of the editing features you already have, Able2Extract 10.2 gives you even more ways to modify your PDF content.

Add Bitmap Images

Able2Extract 10.2 will let you insert bitmap image formats directly into your PDF document. That’s right. You can add image formats, such as BMP, JPG, PNG, GIF (only the first frame will be inserted) and TIFF (only the first page will be inserted) to your content. And it’s as simple as clicking the Add Bitmap button, browsing for your image and clicking on Open.

Adding Bitmap Images PDF

Add Vector Shapes

This latest upgrade makes it easy for you to jazz up and add finishing touches your PDF content. You get the ability to add vector graphic shapes directly to your PDF pages. Just click on the Add Shape button and Able2Extract 10.2 will provide you with a selection of shapes to choose from.

Adding Vector Graphics PDF

Customize The Appearance Of Vector Shapes And Text

Because you can now add shapes to your content and could modify your text with different color, it only makes sense to let you customize your vector shape or text.

Able2Extract 10.2  comes with Outline with Color, Fill with Color and Line Width options, giving you the ability to modify the appearance of your text or vector shapes in detail.  By selecting a custom outline color, a fill color, and increasing the line width, you can give your content a visual boost with a few clicks.

Before:

Customizing PDF Content

After:

Customized PDF Content

Rotate Content Objects

Another editing option only available from Able2Extract 10.2 is the ability to rotate vector shapes, bitmap images and text. You can orient these content objects 90 degrees to the left or right, and even rotate them a complete 180 degrees as needed.

Convert AutoCAD Raster to Vector

And we didn’t stop at content editing. Able2Extract Professional 10.2 comes with a new Raster-to-Vector conversion engine for AutoCAD that allows you to convert scanned AutoCAD PDFs to vector drawings that can be edited.

Start taking advantage of Able2Extract 10.2. Existing members can simply log into their SAP account to access the build. And if you aren’t signed up yet, now’s the time.

Subscribe To Software Advantage Program

You can subscribe to the Software Advantage Plan online. The Software Advantage Program comes with premium support features that cover both Able2Extract Standard and Able2Extract Professional. For only $39.95 a year, you get:

  • Priority support via phone and email
  • Access to a personalized web portal
  • Free Access to all minor products updates and major upgrades
  • Exclusive access to new, unreleased product builds
  • Special volume discounts

Once we receive your order, you’re all set. You can start using your Software Advantage account immediately.

As a regular customer, you won’t be able to access any of these features until our next release. So join the program now and get in on Able2Extract 10.2!

 

How To Align And Scale Objects Simultaneously?

Part 6 of 13 in our How To Use AutoCAD series

As you know, AutoCAD is all about creating accurate drawings. So being able to adjust and fine tune the placement and size of your objects accordingly is a necessary skill to have.  Whether you need to  resize your objects or move them around, you need to be able to manipulate your drawings accurately and with efficiency. That’s why it’s important to master the Align tool early on.

Here’s how to align and scale objects at the same time:

1. Identify which objects you would like to align. Go to the Modify panel, click on the drop down arrow and select the “Align” tool, located on the bottom left side.

Locating AutoCAD Align Tool

2. Select the object that you wish to align and hit “Enter”.

3. Select the source point. The source point is a part of the object that you align (for example, its edge, side or center). After doing so, specify the destination point of the alignment. The destination point represents a point to which you align your selected object. Hit “Enter” and specify the second source and destination point.

Specifying Second Destination Point

4. Either right click on the drawing window or press “Enter”. You’ll be prompted on whether you want to “Scale objects based on alignment points?” or not. If you’d like AutoCAD to automatically scale the selected object to fit your destination object, click Yes. Otherwise, click No.

Once you get the hang of it, this method will come as second nature. Mastering this tool is great skill to have under your belt. Not only does it allow you to quickly edit CAD designs accordingly, but it’ll also give you a better sense of how AutoCAD professionals work with the application.

 

Top 10 Open Data Resources Online

Analyzing DataThere’s a lot of hype around big data these days. And it isn’t any wonder with everything going digital. We’ve been generating a large mass amount of data that’s becoming more and more valuable.

Think of publicly available and open data.  You may be asking why is it so important? Using open or publicly available data can be extremely useful. Some examples include:

  • Analyzing global trends
  • Measuring the efficiency of government policies
  • Innovating a new service
  • Improving your company’s products

Because of the wide range of applications, not just data scientists, but journalists, marketers, business professionals, and even freelancers, are learning how to access, clean and interpret raw data.

While you may already have access to data analytics tools or a topic to research, all that may be missing are the big data sources to work with. Wondering where to find statistical data? Below is a list of databases you can start with.

1. The World Factbook –The CIA website has an open source library where you can find its World Factbook, which offers the public opendata on 267 countries on topics ranging from history and government to geography and military.

2. Amazon Web ServicesAmazon Web Services offers a suite of cloud computing services for database, computing, storage and analytic solutions to name a few. AWS also hosts a number of public datasets, which you can access. You will need to have an AWS account or access to its command line tools.

3. Open Government Data—Looking for data from major governments? You can search through data available publicly from the Governments of Canada, the USA and the UK. The EU Open Data Portal can give you access to a range of data produced by member countries of the European Union.

4. Open Data Network – The Open Data Network, launched by Socrata.com in 2014, is an online data catalogue that makes finding the data you need as easy and familiar as finding data with Google. Its latest enhancements include updates for elements like autosuggestion and easier mobile navigation. This site covers all major US regions including public data sources for areas like finance, health, infrastructure, education and social services to name a few.

Open Data Socrata Network

5. Google Public Data Explorer– What better place to explore datasets than on Google? Google Public Data Explorer makes it easy for anyone to access and interact with public data from international organizations and academic institutions. You can upload, share and visualize datasets. Here’s an overview to get an idea of how to use Google Public Data Explorer.

6. DBpediaDBpedia is a crowd-sourced effort to pull structured data from Wikipedia into an accessible database form on the web. According to the site, the advantages of the DBpedia knowledgebase are that “it covers many domains; it represents real community agreement; it automatically evolves as Wikipedia changes, and it is truly multilingual.”

7. Worldbank.org—Made up of five international organizations, the World Bank Group is the largest development bank in the world, working towards ending poverty and shared prosperity. The organization offers “free and open access to data about development in countries around the globe.”

8. UNDataUNData is an internet based data service from which you can access datasets that include statistics from countries that are part of the United Nations.UN Open Data

9. World Census Open Data—Need census data from other countries? Get census results from other places around the globe like Argentina, New Zealand, Romania, and Egypt. This source is valuable for those gathering geographical or localized statistics. In addition, you can find census data for the USA and Statistics Canada in the linked sources for easy access.

10. Open Data Portals –At Dataportals.org you can find a curated list of open data resource portals around the world. It will help you start broadly and then narrow down your search by location. With 519 portals, as of this writing, the site welcomes additions or feedback to create one of the most widely curated free public data sources online that every user can benefit from.

Dealing with datasets can get overwhelming. You can expect your data to be disorganized and unruly. And as easy as these sites are to visit, be warned that you may come across hard to access formats requiring you to first convert a scanned PDF to Word before being able to use it. But don’t get discouraged. The potential of that data is unlimited.

Did we miss any? Add your own main sources to this collection—the more on this list, the better!