Let’s face it. Every so often, we all have trouble being productive, no matter what we do or where we work. Procrastination, of course, strikes some of us more frequently than others. And while working from home for the present time has a lot of advantages, you’re likely also encountering plenty of distractions.
Fortunately, there are many ways to improve your productivity, as long as you have the right technology. Not convinced? Here’s how digital solutions can hone your focus.
1. It Makes You and Your Colleagues More Accessible
Need a solution to a problem fast? Thanks to mobile technology, you won’t have to twiddle your thumbs and wait for an answer while you play a game. Slack, for example, lets you connect with coworkers in real-time. With cloud computing, you can often find all the solutions you need in one place, too. Plus, don’t forget about simple texting — firing off a quick message can result in an immediate response.
File sharing, too, can improve accessibility. You no longer have to wait for coworkers to email you documents. Instead, you’ll have immediate access to important files through platforms like Dropbox. You can also make changes directly to the documents, and everyone can see them automatically, reducing the number of back-and-forths necessary.
2. It Facilitates Better Communication
Speaking of Slack, there are plenty of tools that allow you to communicate. Not only can you send messages and emails, but platforms like Zoom and WebEx — which we’ve all come to know and love lately — facilitate face-to-face communication, while will help you gauge people’s reactions and work out problems in real-time. This will enable you to ensure that everyone is on the same page, as well as brainstorm ideas.
Ultimately, better communication means better efficiency. Team leaders can inform everyone simultaneously and address questions and concerns all at the same time, while individual workers can reduce the number of back-and-forth emails they’re sending.
3. You Can Ward Off Distractions
The flip side of the magic of technology is that it introduces distractions. Perhaps you check Instagram obsessively or can’t stop texting. Whatever your vice is, there are plenty of tools to help you refocus. Try SelfControl, an app that enables you to block sites you specify, such as Gmail or Facebook, for a certain period of time and won’t let you access them until the time is up, even if you restart your device.
4. You Can Access Experts
Relying on staff who don’t have the specialized skills you need to complete certain projects or tasks can be a huge productivity zapper. Instead, thanks to technology, you can outsource these responsibilities to qualified experts. You can even choose outsourcing companies or freelancers in a different country.
Assuming they have the requisite knowledge, they’ll be able to complete your project in much less time than it would take someone who doesn’t specialize in the area, whether it’s software development or marketing, and it will free up time for you to focus on your niche.
5. It Facilitates Time Tracking
Seeing how productive you actually are gives you a baseline for improvement. Individuals and teams alike turn to time-tracking tools to help them assess their progress and determine how they’ll best meet their goals. For example, Toggl is an app that evaluates how much time you’re spending on a given project, reminds you to start your timer, and detects when you’ve been idle.
6. You Can Automate
AI has made it increasingly possible to automate time-consuming tasks across industries, allowing you to focus all your attention on other projects. For example, chatbots can handle simple customer requests, while human customer service representatives can devote their attention to more complex inquiries.
Meanwhile, HR specialists can use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to go through resumes to determine whether candidates have the minimum requirements and help them whittle down the pool to potentially qualified fits.
7. Employees Are Better Engaged
Engagement and productivity go hand in hand. A Gallup poll, for instance, found that highly-engaged teams are 21% more profitable than those that aren’t.
So, how can technology facilitate better engagement, in turn leading to greater productivity? Through software like TINYpulse, employers can solicit feedback anonymously and gather data about employee engagement. One they have information, they can act on it by, for instance, asking employees what kinds of programs or activities they’d like to see in the workplace.
Whether you’re a manager, an employee, or a freelancer, productivity is vital to producing thorough, high-quality work and sustaining your income. You’ve probably heard the adage “work smarter, not harder” — and with technology, you’ll be able to do just that.