When I was a kid in the 90s, I would spend hours on end just watching TV. I got to see my favorite cartoons and shows and in between those shows were loads of TV commercials. There were plenty of commercials about the newest phones and how these phones could make it easier to talk to friends and family who were far away. I found myself fantasizing owning one of them so I could reach my friends, anytime, anywhere.
Ahh, those were the days.
Fast forward twenty years and I now have a smartphone. The phone I own is definitely light years ahead of the phone I envisioned owning. Like most smartphones, it has a camera that I can use to take selfies and capture the world in HD. I can use it to connect to the internet whenever I want. It has games, music, and videos that I can use to entertain myself. It even has a lot of productivity apps (yawn) that I can use for work.
I always thought that getting a smartphone that had the best specs could only lead to me being more productive. (LOL.) I spend countless hours on it. I play around with it: needlessly check email, frequently refreshing my social media feed, etc.
Yeah, I needed a change. Now, with some regimented tweaking, I consider my phone to be my partner in productivity. A pocket Bonnie to my Mindful Clyde.
As it were, any of us can be more productive. Here are some tips on how you can use your smartphone to increase your productivity:
Scheduling is a task so mundane that most executives hire an assistant to do it for them. And for us mere mortals, it’s something that we put off doing until the very last minute (– when it’s too late).
But it’s still a task that needs to be done. It helps you organize your thoughts, keeps you focused, and makes you stay productive. And by using your phone as your master calendar, scheduling doesn’t have to suck (or be a “time-suck”).
There are many different calendar apps. They have a variety of features such as setting alarms and notifications, setting reminders, notifying team members of the task, customization, blah. They can actually help get your stuff together and suddenly you’ll find that your day has more hours in it for you.
Many people’s decrease in productivity is usually attributed to a dearth of attention. This has been dubbed as the concept of “vigilance decrement” – a decrease in a person’s ability to focus his or her attention on the task at hand.
Psychology professor Alejandro Lleras from the University of Illinois begs to differ as he notes that attention is not the problem. Instead, he points out that the human brain is wired to be inattentive of things that our senses are constantly subjected to. The same can be said for sustained thought.
So how do we break free from this curse? Take a break. In fact, we need to take frequent breaks. I suggest you follow the Pomodoro technique where each day is split into 25-minute chunks of time (one Pomodoro) with five-minute breaks after each chunk. You then take 15 to 20-minute breaks after four Pomodoros. It allows you to be more productive within intense spurts of time you allot for yourself. Sue Shellenbarger, a WSJ columnist, halved the total time required to fact-check a column using this technique.
Because there are a lot of Pomodoro apps available for download in the App Store and Google Play Store, we’ve compiled a list of our top picks for the top Pomodoro apps so you won’t have to waste more of your precious time.
When you’re in a meeting, there will always be some details that dance in one ear and fly out the other.
Improve your productivity by putting your phone to work (if you aren’t going to) and record all of your meetings using voice notes. This frees you up to do more beneficial things like “listening” or “taking notes.” But, seriously, this also allows you to focus on the information during the session and not miss a thing.
Are the writings on the wall (or board) too much that you can’t simply note all of them on your notebook? Are there too many details to note that you simply can’t add them all? Use your phone’s camera! (Classroom notes sold separately.)
Using your phone’s camera allows for an easy grab of information without breaking a sweat so you can note them afterward at your own pace. This will allow you to focus more on the subject at hand and not waste time playing catch up to the speaker while taking note of all the invaluable details.
Two-factor authentication is a mode of security used on online accounts and even on mobile phones so as to secure the contents of whatever by verifying the identity of the owner. This is done by implementing two modes of authentication instead of just one. These methods include the use of a password, biometrics, or email or SMS verification. This makes it impossible to log into the account until all factors are met.
By setting up two-factor authentication on your phone, you make sure that all your files, documents, emails, accounts – basically everything on your phone – are secure, which lessens anxiety on your part. But for productivity purposes, because this setup is deemed “too tedious,” you might not feel the same urge to check your phone frequently, leading to more productivity for you.
Nothing wrong with a little shameless self-promotion. Truth be told, however, phone addiction is becoming more serious as people lose bouts of time and are less productive. As a phone addict myself, I can attest to the struggles of attempting to reduce phone use. Not to lessen the weight of my previous statement, but for times like those, apps like BOLDFISH Plus exist. (Android only, sorry iPhone.)
BOLDFISH Plus allows you to improve productivity by blocking access to your apps. It also has a failsafe to make sure your intentions are clear when you want to unblock it. So not only does the app help you clear distractions and boost productivity, but it also allows you to control your phone addiction and be on the path to digital wellness.