5 next-level ways to use technology as a productivity tool

Technology has aided mankind since time immemorial, and the idea of using it to enhance productivity is nothing new. From planning busy schedules to creating simple checklists, there are probably plenty of ways you already incorporate technology into your daily routine.

Without a doubt, these kinds of straightforward productivity apps are essential, but they’re also just the tip of the iceberg. If you want to use technology to improve your efficiency even further, try employing some of these next-level tips and tricks.

Start your day on the right foot

Working remoteThe first moments you experience after you wake up can have a profound effect on the rest of your day. Did you get your coffee? Go for a run? Have a chance to map out your agenda?

While technology might not have the answer to the first two questions, it can provide a way to address the latter.

Apps like Webex and Teams contain a host of tools designed to keep teams on the same page — from scheduling and chats to meetings and file sharing.

Some of these apps will even email you every morning with a brief of everything you have planned for the day. This kind of “morning ritual” is essential if you’re the type who benefits from structure, as it eliminates guesswork and stress, and gives you a clear picture of everything you have to accomplish.

Improve your base of knowledge

Abstract art of light blubThe more you learn, the more you earn … or so the saying goes.

While this old idiom could certainly be a direct reference to monetary gains, it’s often interpreted to insinuate improvements to your life as a whole. The more you “hit the books,” the more your life will improve overall.

Either way, learning is definitely the way to go, and technology can help along the way.

KnowledgeAudible, for example, can help you absorb knowledge on-the-go from any number of non-fiction books in audio format. If you’re a heavy reader who’s pressed for time, this avenue lets you cut through your “to-read” queue faster. And if you’re not a big reader, this option might finally entice you to tackle some of those great books you’ve been avoiding.

On top of audiobooks, there are plenty of online courses, too — courtesy of platforms like Khan Academy, Udemy, and Coursera.

If there’s a particular field of study or set of skills you want to brush up on, these services allow you to dive in, gain the know-how, and apply that information in building future successes.

Coworkers working togetherEliminate distractions and enter “the zone”

When it comes to “getting stuff done,” two impediments loom more menacingly than any others — the inability to focus and the inability to find your “groove.” Technology is sometimes the cause of these two workflow ills, but it can also provide the cure.

For instance, technology can provide you with incentives to stay on task. Apps like Forest (one of 2017’s Top Five productivity apps) claim to have the cure for phone addiction:

However, if the prospect of helping a noble cause isn’t enough of a motivator, you could turn to more drastic options like SelfControl and SiteBlock. With these options, you can block sites you find distracting and limit your access until you finish your tasks.

As for getting into that proverbial “zone,” you might find your journey there hastened with a bit of calming background noise. If this is the case, Noisli is a prime candidate. This app allows you to mix various environmental sounds into your perfect focus-enhancing medley.

If a meditation ritual is more your speed, though, you might instead turn to options like Mindfulness and Oak.

Spend less time writing

Taking notes at the officeOne thing that might be slowing down your overall productivity is having to write things down. Perhaps you’re not comfortable with typing, or maybe writing has never appealed to you? Regardless, limiting your time at the keyboard might provide some benefit, and technology can grant you the power to do exactly that.

Most word processors have a built-in option for speech-to-text. But for long audio clips you need to transcribe (meeting notes, for example), options like Otter fit the bill perfectly. This approach will also cut down on tedious note-taking, allowing you to focus on conversations and pluck the nuggets of wisdom from your talks at a later time.

Fool yourself Into working

Happy coworkersMuch ado has been made about the idea of “gamification” in recent years. By tapping into human urges for fun and competition, you can make even dull tasks seem more appealing. Apps like Habitica and Life RPG grant the option of transforming nearly every aspect of your to-do list into a game.

From the video-game replica menus to the act of gaining “experience points” and “leveling up,” this kind of technology speaks to your inner gamer. These apps apply the same brand of psychological tricks that keep you in front of your game console to keep you crossing items off your ever-growing checklist.

If you’d like more technology tips and tricks, then don’t stop here. Check out these hidden Microsoft Word features.