Technology is everywhere. You can’t walk down the street without being influenced by it in some manner. Its grasp stretches from the phone in your pocket to controlling the lights in your home to the way you purchase your items at the local shop. It’s hard to imagine a life without such technological influence. Also, the constant innovation and release of new products can leave you feeling somewhat left behind. This instills a public sense of requirement to have the latest and most up-to-date product. That without consistently upgrading your tech you couldn’t possibly be productive. Let me tell you a secret; that’s a lie. We believe you can be a Productivity Ninja with the technology you currently own. That’s right, there’s no need to upgrade. You’re welcome!
Here at Think Productive we believe that despite this constant cycle of technological innovation, you can still be unproductive. Perhaps more so with the latest gadgets. The more functions a device has, the more it can distract you from the work at hand. Yes, we’re talking about the endless options on the App Store and that latest viral cat video on Facebook. Although, we can’t blame technology entirely – as much as we may like to. If we’re unproductive in our personal lives, then often there is another source to the issue and you’ll probably find better solutions in our Time Management Workshops. Some may feel that buying the latest product will snap them out of this state, despite the opposite usually being true. So, the following are a few ideas on how you can enhance your productivity successfully with the technology you already own.
Use applications responsibly
With the paramount rise of smartphone technology, comes the applications that can be used in conjunction. These applications are created with a goal in mind, to improve our lives in some way or another. However, this initial desire of improvement is met with our natural tendency to procrastinate. Resulting in a 2-hour long session of Candy Crush Saga and a scrambled fake excuse to why you were late to meet a loved one for dinner. Therefore, focus on only installing and utilizing applications that aid your work, instead of your ability to procrastinate. Simple to-do list apps are an excellent resource to support your organisation and keep your head clear on what needs to be done and when by. As such, they are a great way of instantly improving your time management ability. An application worth taking a look at is Wunderlist which allows you to take notes quickly and effortlessly, useful for both business and personal task tracking.
In conjunction with this, you could introduce note taking apps into your day-to-day routine. Perhaps you’re already taking notes on your computer, notebook or diary. But by implementing a single app not only simplifies the process of writing notes, but of using them. An example being Evernote, with thanks to its cloud storage, notes can be accessed at anytime from anywhere. Both these types of apps can be used on most laptops and smartphones, including the one you already own. So, no excuses, please.
With the exponential rise of social media and its influence on our daily lives, it can be difficult not to be sucked in. Social media can be a healthy outlet; it allows you to connect with others and display your passions and skills to the world. Although, in the workplace it can be largely adverse due to its addictive nature. It draws employees away from their tasks and can create an enormous distraction. The amount of social capability you are exposed to can depend on the technology you own, although in this generation, the majority who have smartphones will be utilizing such networks. However, regardless of what tech you have, if you believe it’s preventing you from being productive, it may be time to limit yourself. Some applications can monitor time spent on particular websites; this may be a viable method to understand how much time you are allocating. If it is extensive, try limiting yourself and the access you have.
Let’s get motivated
It’s fair to say that the majority of us waste a lot of time on our smartphone and browsing the web. Let’s be honest. I’m not alone in the odd binge watching of Netflix or YouTube videos. What should be more apparent, however, is the use of our existing technology to fuel motivation. By becoming inspired we can re-imagine what it is we’re capable of and we can generate new goals for us to attain. In the simplest form, we can find methods for doing things we previously had no knowledge of. Explore YouTube for videos about your job role, improving skills within it and see how you can step it up. Perhaps you’re stuck on a certain project because you don’t have the knowledge. A few articles and a book read later; you’re able to progress. We should all be leveraging the asset which is technology. The majority of us have our own smartphone, a device which allows us to source information from all around the world in one Google search. Use it!
The issue which we find is that our online activity is habitual, developed over an extended period. We become comfortable with certain actions, certain websites and apps. As such, we consistently perform those things in repeat. If you wish to increase your productivity, then change it up. Watch Ted Talks instead of Netflix, read your industry leading journal instead of your Facebook feed. Form new, better and more productive habits through the technology you already own.
Take a tech break
No matter what tech you own, old or new, it can have the same adverse effect. Stress is a highly common emotion in the workplace. Most of the time we’re not actively thinking about how we can improve our productivity to reduce this feeling. We just want to try and push through it. Technology can sometimes make this sensation worse. When you lose work just before it’s due and guess what? You didn’t save the document. Yes, we’ve all been there. We can agree that technology has its moments of making a stressful situation worse. At such times we recommend taking a break from all things tech and focus on calming yourself. Spend half an hour without any technological influence. Go outside, walk around, go to the park, read a book. By separating yourself from the stressful situation, you will come back with a more positive mindset and be more productive from the off.
So, what’s the verdict?
Technology clearly has plenty of benefits, although it is worth remembering it can become a hindrance too. We believe that technology should aid your productivity opposed to controlling your attention. So, avoid the assumption that the more technology you have, the more productive you will be. The most important thing is building up a productive ethos initially, then using tech to supplement and streamline your methodology. Try incorporating these ideas into your daily routine and see how much more productive you can be.
If these tips have helped or you have some of your own, do let us know in the comment section below or @thinkproductive
By Miles Singleton