Working Smarter

Mobile technology (such as the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 and Samsung Galaxy S5) gives us the ability to connect to the global dataverse of people, places, and things – anytime, anywhere. However, the super-human productivity I imagined often gets tangled in wasteful hours of web browsing, insignificant e-mail and social media minutiae.

Disconnecting from the web wasn’t a practical idea. Internet access is essential to my job as a marketer. So I decided to devote an afternoon at work to thinking about how I could better manage my time (seems ironic, but it’s not).

During my research I stumbled across RescueTime. This app helps you to 1) track the websites you spend time on, 2) measure how long you spend there, and 3) set goals using actionable data generated via detailed reports. RescueTime works on the four most popular operating systems (Mac, PC, Android, and Linux) and offers a “lite” version that is free forever.

When it comes to using technology to track-measure-take action, there are three things you should consider. First, it takes hard work and discipline, and there is no shortcut to reaching your goals. Second, data security breaches are becoming bigger and more frequent. This is a potential deal breaker because the digital footprint you leave behind when exchanging your personal information for free mobile applications could potentially expose you to greater risks of data breaches, identity fraud, and so on.

Lastly, the technology community at large hasn’t figured out a way to make their smart devices “talk” to each other. When my vehicle diagnostic device can tell my calendar to schedule a maintenance visit at the dealership during my least productive work hours, we’ll really see connected technology take off.

Want more? Here are five of my favorite productivity apps. Enjoy!

Fitbit | Lumosity | Evernote | DuoLingo | Cozi

2 comments

  1. Technology has definitely helped me to work smarter, but as of lately, tech has been a bit of an adversary. I’ve found that always being connected can cause a situation of working harder. With the constant data stream and demand of new emails as a distraction to my current task, I sometimes fall off track and end up playing catch up. Most recently, I’ve been strategizing on how to maximize my time and work smarter, while managing new demands and tasks. The first step for me is disconnecting. I’ve found that demands from the bosses don’t always require immediate attention and response. If I have an important task to finish, I close email, Facebook and lock my smartphone in my desk until I’m finished. I’m finding this to be a very useful approach. Lastly, I’ve been logged out of Facebook for 3 weeks. The distraction of other peoples lives can be an addictive time waster. I gotten back a lot of Time for other things by shutting Facebook down. What are your thoughts on this?

    1. Thanks for the comment, Kevin. I share a similar experience with controlling my social media consumption.

      From a business perspective, disconnecting is hyper-effective “if” the Internet, or Facebook in particular, isn’t a key element to your work life. However, it’s a useful and necessary evil for marketers, so getting familiar with time management tools may be a better approach. From a home life stand point, the world isn’t going to miss a beat if you leave social media for 90 minutes or 90 days. Life is happening all around us. We need to detach our attention from our digital personas more often and enjoy the moment.

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