3. Crank up your sync
The official Drive sync program puts Drive files on your hard drive, but when it comes to documents and spreadsheets created in Google Docs, that won't do you much good; those files are stored in the proprietary Docs format, which means they can't be opened with a local word processor like Microsoft Word.
Enter Syncdocs, which creates a two-way sync between your Drive account and a local folder -- and converts Docs files into your choice of Word or Open Office format as part of the process.
Syncdocs allows for real-time collaboration between your local Word installation and Docs, too, and can convert Word files into Docs format when uploading. It's free in a limited capacity and $19.95 a year for unrestricted functionality.