Is Technology Hurting Your Productivity?

A cellphone, tablet, and laptop sit on a desk with the text, "Is technology actually hindering our productivity? The answer is yes and no."

There’s no question that technology has made our lives easier in so many ways.

(i.e. wine delivery via Shipt, monthly shipments of toilet paper and coffee beans to your doorstep thanks to Amazon, connecting with distant family on Facebook, and having dinner delivered to your couch via UberEats … just to name a few)

But, with the good, always comes the bad and for every magical advancement that technology has brought us there’s also a downside. *Insert sigh*

Is technology actually hindering our productivity? The answer is yes and no. While technology helps us keep our lives organized, it’s the way we use technology that is squashing our productivity. Here are some examples of productivity killers brought to you by technology (and what you can do about them).

The Culprit: Email

The best thing since sliced bread or the biggest culprit behind stumped productivity? It depends on how you use it.

The Problem

Look at your browser. Is your email open right now? If an email were to come in while you’re reading this blog, you’d probably switch tabs to see what it was about. If it’s important, you’ll respond. It might even remind you of something else you need to do, taking you away from the task you were completing for an undetermined amount of time. Email was never meant to be used like this. It should help us complete our work faster, not pull us away from it.

The Quick-Fix:

Counteract email interruptions by checking your email at a time determined by you, not your notifications. Schedule a few times a day where you take the time to check, respond to, and file emails. If you’re worried about leaving people hanging, put a note in your signature explaining your schedule. If they have an urgent matter, have them call you. Also, set your email on your phone to refresh only when you open it instead of having it notify you every time you get a newsletter or sale notification.

The Culprit: Reminders

When was the last time you actually had to remember a phone number?

The Problem:

Remember when we didn’t have the answer to every question at the tips of our fingers? Remember when we had to write things down if we wanted to remember them? Remember when we could remember? Today, we can have our phones remind us of everything. Birthdays, appointments, calls we need to make, the list goes on. But, this means our brains don’t have to work to remember, well, much of anything. If we don’t have to remember things, our brains won’t. And, what’s more, they’ll lose the capacity to remember. Apparently, if we know the internet will tell us something, we don’t bother to remember it.

The Quick-Fix:

Next time you’re trying to remember a quick fact, a birthday, or a phone number that you know you knew at one point, don’t turn to the internet right away. Rack your brain and work those memory muscles. Write something down instead of storing it in your phone or try to memorize your shopping list before heading to the store. Disclaimer: Don’t miss appointments or forget crucial information because of our tips.

The Culprit: Social Media

Where do we begin?

The Problem: You knew this one was going to make the list because everyone knows that social media is a major time suck. But, it’s not just because of how much time we spend scrolling through feeds, liking pictures, and adding updates. It’s because, like Pavlov’s Dog, every time we get a notification, we pull our attention from what we’re doing and focus on the like, the tweet, or the comment.

The Solution: While the problem is obvious, the solution isn’t. So many of us spend time on social media for work that, often, a complete social break isn’t possible. So, if you have to be on social for work, utilize tools like Hootsuite or Facebook Pages to avoid visiting your own account first. Set aside time at lunch or reward yourself with small breaks to check your own. Set a timer if you feel like you’ll get sucked in. And, it probably goes without saying but, when possible, turn off your notifications!

It’s also never a bad idea to unplug for a bit and take a complete technology break. You don’t have to retreat to a cabin in the woods and go completely off the grid, just, maybe…read a book for an hour…

 

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