In many of my articles, I’ve talked about how technology is a major source of distraction for many of us. And, distractions are enemy number one of your focus and productivity. However, that being said, technology can also be used to your advantage — to boost your productivity instead of damaging it.
In fact, I use certain apps, websites, and tools on a daily basis in order to get more done in less time as they help me work a lot smarter. And that’s what this article is all about.
If you’re interested in 5 ways you can use technology to boost your productivity & success— without working harder or putting in more hours — make sure to keep on reading!
#1: Using ‘Lost Time’ For On-The-Go Learning
Do you love reading business and self-development books, but somehow struggle to find the time in your busy schedule to read? That used to be the case for me as well. Before you know it, you fall behind on your reading — and your books are just collecting dust on the bookshelf.
Fortunately, I’ve found an incredibly productive way to ‘read’ these books no matter how busy my schedule is.
If you look at our days, no matter how busy they are, there’s always ‘lost time’. You could see ‘lost time’ as the moments in your day when you’re doing things you have to do but aren’t necessarily cognitively demanding or contribute to anything meaningful.
Think of your daily commute to work, doing grocery shopping, taking a shower, going for a run or cleaning your house.
Fortunately, with apps like Audible, you can now transform this ‘lost time’ into productive time by listening to audiobooks on your phone instead of having to find the time to sit down and read a physical book.
I don’t necessarily think that audiobooks replace physical books, however, both methods complement each other incredibly well.
By using Audible, I’m easily able to ‘read’ an extra 30 minutes per day. This amounts to about 182 hours of extra reading per year — which equals roughly 30 books extra per year.
The craziest thing is that it doesn’t cost any extra time in your day as you’re using the ‘lost time’ (again, your daily commute, grocery shopping or cleaning the house for example) that’s already there.
Another alternative would be to use Blinkist.
With Blinkist, you can get the most important insights of more than 3,000 business and personal development books in under 15 minutes. This way, you’ll be able to read A LOT more than usual and use ‘lost time’ productively.
#2: Avoid Distractions & Protect Your Focus Using Blockers
Where technology can be a major distraction in the form of social media, news websites, apps, and email — we can also use technology to our advantage to protect ourselves from these distractions.
When you find yourself spending too much of your valuable time, energy and attention on certain distracting apps or websites, you can easily download a website blocker that prohibits you from using these websites or apps for a specific amount of time.
Another app that I’d recommend is Forest. Whenever I find myself spending too much time on my smartphone (whether during work or during free time), I use the Forest app. As it’s designed like a game, you’ll receive rewards for not using your phone — which actually makes it fun!
#3: Use A (Pomodoro) Timer To Get Important Work Done
One of the most effective ways to increase your productivity is by using a timer while working. When you give yourself a time limit to complete a task, your competitive instincts will be activated and you’ll see it as a personal challenge to complete the task within the self-imposed deadline. Essentially, you’re making use of a powerful productivity principle called ‘Parkinson’s Law’.
Working without a timer or a strict deadline will simply take more time because there’s less pressure to work efficiently. However, as soon as a time-limit is set, it forces us to stay focused on our work as there’s simply no room for time-wasting, distractions or procrastination.
Of course, you could also use this same principle by applying the Pomodoro technique, for which you’d also need a timer.
And I clearly notice the difference: Whenever I work without a timer, it takes about 4 hours to write a 1000+ word blogpost. However, as soon as I work with a timer, I write a 1000+ word blogpost in about 2 hours — without compromising on the quality.
#4: Track Your Habits With A Habit-Tracking App
Another powerful way to improve your productivity by using technology to your advantage is by tracking your habits. Habit-tracking is one of the most powerful systems to use for improving both your productivity and your personal development.
The reality is, most of us have a distorted view of our own performance. We often think we’re doing more (or better) than we’re actually doing. By tracking your habits, however, you’re confronted with the truth, and there’s no way you can trick yourself anymore.
By being confronted with your real performance — how often you meditated, exercised, woke up on time or did focused work — you can clearly identify the areas where you’re doing really well and where you need to focus more on.
It’s for a reason that they say “what gets measured gets managed.”
#5: Staying Focused With High-Tech Productivity Headphones
High-quality earbuds are one of the must-have productivity tools for the highly productive knowledge worker. In fact, there’s isn’t a single workday that passes without using my earbuds. And there are a few (scientifically proven) reasons for that…
The number of times we get distracted by conversations of colleagues or other outside noises is more than we realize. The problem is that, according to research, you need your undivided attention for at least 23 minutes before you can reach the deepest levels of focus — or ‘flow state’.
Every time you get distracted by external noises, you’ll be taken further away from your most productive state of being and you’re forced to reset the clock.
Thus, using high-quality noise-canceling earbuds is essential. You can block out the chatter of colleagues or other distracting noises that pull your focus away from your important work. This way, you’ll actually be able to reach flow state instead of being distracted again and again.
Besides, working with your earbuds in sends a ‘do not disturb’ signal to the people around you, so you’re less likely to be distracted by others.
Another reason why you should use earbuds is that listening to music is scientifically proven to improve your productivity. Listening to music boosts your concentration as it keeps you alert and helps you focus on the present. Furthermore, it keeps your mind from wandering off.
This way, you’re able to immerse yourself completely in the task at hand, which is a key component of reaching ‘flow state’.
As mentioned before, especially repetitive type music such as classical or electronic music is shown to boost your focus the most. However, as an alternative, you can listen to one song on repeat as this leads to similar effects.
Now Do It
As our ability to focus is decreasing at a worrying rate, it’s becoming more and more necessary to apply tools that protect and enhance our focus. In this 21st century distracted world, it’ll be the ones who are able to focus deeply that will get ahead in life and business.
To Your Personal Growth,
Founder Personal Growth Lab
(This article was originally published at www.potential-x.com)
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