Sometimes we may think of technology as being harmful to our productivity. After all, how many times do we check Facebook or our personal e-mail accounts during the workday? It may seem that the more we use smartphones and similar devices, the more distractions we have from our work. Fortunately, technology can also assist us with our work. Increased connectivity gives us the opportunity to work from almost anywhere and share information with our colleagues with the click of a button. Here are a few of the best ways to use technology for increased productivity.
Use Note-Taking and Data Sharing Apps
Mobile devices aren't just great for playing games or catching up on your favorite TV shows; they're also wonderful for doing work on the go and accessing projects on multiple devices. Productivity apps make it easier to ever to create and collaborate from the palm of your hand.
There are a number of great apps the market. For taking notes and working on projects, you should check out EverNote, OneNote, Pages, GoogleKeep and similar apps. If you have Word documents or other files already saved, DropBox and apps like it also allow you to share your work with your colleagues. These apps make it easy for you and your co-workers to manage your time and track your workflow, no matter how far away you are from each other.
Collaborate From Any Location
Working from a remote location is becoming more and more popular. As most of our day is spent on a computer, we really don't need to be in the office all the time to do our jobs. If companies invest in cloud-based systems and portable hardware, most employees can do their job just as well at home as they can in the office. With the cloud, you no longer have to worry about losing information if you forget your work computer or don't remember to e-mail a report to a colleague.
Having some employees work part or full-time from home can be very beneficial. When telecommuting, your employees can spend less time traveling and more time doing actual work. In addition, research shows those who work from home are generally more productive and satisfied with their jobs.
Work On-the-Go and Manage Projects
Cloud servers are also convenient if your employees travel a lot. In the past, workers wasted hours in airports and in transit. Now, with the power of the cloud they can access files, hold a meeting, or even work on a project with their co-workers. If your employees are doing a lot of work with each other remotely, you might also consider using web-based based project management systems to keep them organized. Services like Teambox and WorkZone can help remote workers assign tasks, set due dates and tag their work.
Know When to Update Programs and Hardware
"Don't fix it if it isn't broken" isn't a good philosophy when it comes to your business's systems. Using old technology doesn't make much sense if it wastes your employees' time. There are always new developments in business software, whether you work in construction or medicine, and it's to your best interest to keep abreast of new technology. Outdated programs and hardware can cause you to need more time for even the most basic tasks, and this wasted time can really add up over a few months or a year. Whether you pay employees by the hour or by salary, wasting their time will in the long run waste you money. Also, in addition to keeping up-to-date on tech news, you should schedule periodic updates and replace old hardware after every so many years.
Spending more time on a task doesn't always yield better results. If we spend too much time on one thing we tend to get distracted and don't actually accomplish much. This is why it's so important to only spend so much time on a project before you take a break and/or switch to another task.
Technology makes it easy to track how much time you spend on a specific project. Before you begin work, it's a good idea to set a timer — these days everyone has one, whether it’s on your phone or on your desktop. You can set the timer for 45, 60 or even 90 minutes depending on how long you think you can work without a break. When the timer goes off, force yourself to save your work and move on to something else.
If you're looking for an even stricter time management system, you may consider using a service like Rescue Time. This program tracks exactly how much time you spend performing various tasks your computer. The results can give you a good idea of where you're spending too much — or too little — of your time. The valuable insight Rescue Time provides can help you better manage the time you spend at your desk.
These are just a few tips for getting the most out of your workday, whether you're in the office, at home or in transit. What are your favorite ways to increase productivity with technology?
Note: This post is a guest post from a member of our DMR Insider Community.
Image credit: Michael via flickr