Productivity is something we all wish we could have more of, with a lack of it leading to procrastination, time wasting, and a longer list of jobs to do.
What can sometimes be forgotten is how you can use technology to make yourself more productive. Although our gadgets are often seen as a distraction, the key to making the most of your smartphone is to understand how to use its features to your advantage.
Richard Mavers, director of group marketing and online strategy at Envirofone, provides his five top tips on how your smartphone can actually make you more productive, if you use it wisely.
Refrain from social side tracking
Have you ever gone to do a quick task on your phone only to end up 150 photos deep into someone else’s Instagram? Social media can be a real distraction if you let it take over.
If you’re still struggling not to be side-tracked by social media, switch off notifications at set times of the day or try an app such as Offtime which blocks distracting apps, such as Instagram and Facebook. It can be tailored to different modes such as work, family, or me time, to make sure you have access to the things you need, but aren’t distracted by the things you don’t.
Make the most of ‘dead’ time
The days can be long enough as it is with work, commuting, and providing for your family when you are at home. It’s important to take some ‘you’ time away from all this, whether that’s reading a book, or learning a new language.
Don’t waste time or money buying books or attending a language class after work. Instead use the app store on your smartphone to download things to do during times you would usually spend mindlessly scrolling, such as on your commute or lunch break. For example, commute home and learn a language on an app such as Duolingo, instead of commuting to a class, and then commuting home. You could say you’re doubling your productivity, but in half the time.
Be note savvy
Your smartphone’s media tools don’t just come in handy on nights out. Meeting notes, shopping lists and things on your to do list can all be saved quickly and accurately, using the tools built into your smartphone.
To save time on writing long to do lists, use your camera or a microphone to record the things you need to remember, or use a note taking app such as Zoho’s Notebook, to collate all your lists in one place. You’ll save time from trying to find scraps of paper with odd notes or trying to recall the information you need from memory at a later date, meaning more time for the important stuff.
Learn your phone’s features
Learning features on your phone doesn’t have to always lead to a distraction. It can however, lead to a more productive life as you learn to understand that a smartphone is there to help.
For example, if you’re a music listener, instead of spending hours creating a playlist to suit your mood, use Apple Music, which will send you a personalised playlist every day based on the music you have previously listened to. Or, save time grouping your photos by utilising the photo album section on iOS – it will create photo albums by location, whether you’ve been on holiday or for a day out with your family.
Say no to notifications
You’re busy at work, or glued to your favourite series on TV, when you hear your phone buzz. Before you realise, your concentration has disappeared and you’re stalking your friend’s sister’s boyfriend’s cat, just because you were going to wish her a happy birthday. A study* has found that mobile notifications can play havoc with your focus. The solution? Disable notifications on those pointless games, and announcements on social media. Instead, change your settings so that you only receive notifications the things that are of real importance.
To do this on iPhone, go to Settings and then Notifications. You can then pick and choose which types of notifications you want to receive from each of your apps, how you want to be alerted to them, and even disable them completely.