Are you by any chance an Escape artist?

Escape key

Do you press Escape too many times? Are you running away from your benefits?
Think again. Read on to find out a better approach!  Reading time 3 min

When do you press Escape? Think about it…

Nobody asked you this question till now. Never mind. Now think and observe when you press Escape. Here is what I have found.

  1. The genuine use of Escape key – to close a dialog or cancel an activity which you started by mistake or want to cancel.
  2. Clicked on some dialog – too many options were shown – you were confused – did not have time – you thought “this is too complex – not for me” and pressed Escape
  3. Opened some menu which was too long or confusing – “not for me” thought process – press Escape
  4. Tried to remove that irritating icon imagewhich keeps appearing on its own .. (Escape does NOT work here. Unfortunately.)
  5. You may not believe this, but I have seen this so many times that I should conduct research on this topic. Trust me on this – people press Escape just like that. For no reason. When they are thinking, don’t know what to do, they are contemplating some approach, or they are just mentally blank, they press Escape – repeatedly. (Some people just move the mouse cursor in similar situations). It is their way of rebooting their brain or clearing out their thoughts…

Running away from features

This is something we have learnt from early days of our career. We have limited time, short attention span, too much work to do. So we routinely run away from even the mildest level of verbosity or complexity. Sheer number of features also puts us off.

Therefore, eventually Escape becomes your best friend.

Unfortunately, what most of us do not understand is that Escape key is your ENEMY.

It is preventing you from at least noticing (if not exploring) features. It is forcing you to turn a blind eye towards eminently useful and powerful capabilities – which you may be in need of.

Because you have never explored, the solutions to your needs may be sitting right in front of you every day. But you are NEVER going to discover them.

Change your mindset. Press Escape less.

Whenever you are about to press the Escape key, think… do I have 10 extra seconds? Usually the answer is Yes. Now spend those 10 seconds looking at each option and reading them aloud in your mind. Initially it will require conscious effort but soon it will become a habit.

You do not have to try all options. Just look at them. Even this activity is very powerful. Why? Because it helps your brain become aware that such a thing exists.

Later, if and when the need arises, your brain will recall the feature and you will benefit from it. It is a very simple but extremely rewarding experience.

Also use the next door neighbor

Have you noticed the F1 key? It is not to be used just for troubleshooting or when you are stuck. Press F1 key just to explore. There are very nice articles, videos and quizzes with Online Help. It will help you unearth really powerful gems from the myriad of features available in Office tools (Actually this concept applies to any feature rich product).

Spend 5 minutes everyday in exploring randomly. This will help you to find new ways of working or provide you with completely fresh ideas of managing your work.

Try it.


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