April 20, 2017
Most of us sabotage our productivity on a daily basis without even realizing it. While technology can improve your efficiency, it can just as easily eat up time and energy if you’re not careful to have some limitations and organizational systems in place.
Check out these 8 life hacks that will instantly improve your productivity when working on a computer.
1. Create a virtual to-do list
Who doesn’t like the feeling of crossing items off your to-do list? Besides making you feel accomplished, the act of creating a to-do list can also help keep your priorities straight. There’s a much better way, however, to keep track of your to-do’s than on a piece of scrap paper. Productivity apps like Focuster, give you a specific place to house all your responsibilities, track your progress, and remind you to return your focus to the top-priority items on your list.
2. Use a note capturing tool
We tend to forget a whopping 40% of the new information we receive within 24 hours of reading or hearing it. Simply taking notes doesn’t entirely solve this problem, either. How many times have you taken meticulous notes only to find yourself spending an hour or more desperately trying to find a key point of information but to no avail? Or how about when you can’t even locate your notes at all?
Note taking is most useful when all of your notes are stored on one platform that you’ll never lose and that you can organize and quickly search through. Apps like Evernote give you a place to jot down crucial ideas on the go and save you time and brainpower when you need to go back and locate that gold nugget of an idea.
3. Track your time
When you’re in the zone, it’s easy to lose track of the time you’ve spent on a project, putting you over budget and behind schedule. Apps like Quickbooks and Harvest allow you to set time limits for individual projects and give you the option of receiving a reminder when you’re getting close to going over budget.
4. Turn off notifications
Our attention spans are getting shorter and constant beeps, buzzes, and pop-ups on all our devices aren’t helping. Do yourself a favor and turn off all your notifications, from email to Twitter. That’s right, all of them.
Jumping from task to task only reduces productivity so you’re actually accomplishing less when you’re constantly reading and replying to new messages and updates. In fact, studies have actually shown a decrease in performance and an increase in errors in people who receive notifications and those who don’t. Constant notifications may even be a “toxic source of stress” according to some psychologists.
5. Limit Email Time
After you turn off your notifications, set aside specific blocks of time for checking email. Basically, the idea is to give yourself blocks of time uninterrupted by email to actually get your work done. If you are most productive when you first wake up in the morning, then don’t check your email until you’ve completed a solid two or three hours of work. If you work best in the evenings, then check your email earlier in the day.
To make it easier, don’t leave your email open on your computer. Just making it less accessible will decrease the temptation to check it every few minutes. Want more ideas for how to deal with the distraction of email? Check out how this MailChimp employee limits his email time to an hour in the morning and 30 minutes at the end of the day.
6. Declutter your desktop
Do you tend to save everything to your desktop? This is a common bad habit that’s akin to storing everything you own in the front entryway of your house. It not only creates an overwhelming mess that you can’t ignore, but it also slows you down from the get-go. Eventually, this habit will make your computer run at snail speed, making you pull out your hair in frustration as the spinning wheel of death pops up every time you try and open a new window.
To avoid this, make a habit of creating documents in the Cloud using Google’s G Suite or Office 365 so that you’re storing less on your hard drive. This will not only keep you more organized and your computer running quickly, but it will also prevent you from losing all your data if your computer crashes or if an unexpected disaster strikes and you don’t have backup disaster recovery.
7. Schedule a weekly or monthly desktop/file cleaning
Even if you’re not saving everything to your desktop, it’s still a good idea to organize the files on your computer at least once a month. Setting aside time for file organization on a regular basis will make it easier to locate important files when you need them and will lower your stress levels.
8. Invest in a faster internet connection
If you think you’re saving money by using the cheapest internet provider in your neighborhood, think again. If your salary depends on how much work you’re able to knock out in a day, you might be cutting yourself short by putting up with a slow internet connection. The fastest option out there is fiber optic internet, and if you’re based in Santa Cruz like us, get excited because fiber is coming soon! Sign up here to stay in the loop.
About Pagoda Technologies IT services
Based in Santa Cruz, California, Pagoda Technologies provides trusted IT support to businesses and IT departments throughout Silicon Valley, the San Francisco Bay Area and across the globe. To learn how Pagoda Technologies can help your business, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a complimentary IT consultation.
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