10 Ways You Can Use Technology to Minimize Distractions

Technology has definitely changed the way organizations work. It opens the door for amazing access and capabilities that help us to be more productive – in spite of its addictive distractions.

A 2014 survey by Pew Research Center reported that technology has had a positive and lasting impact on worker efficiency. “Forty-six percent of employed online adults say the Internet has made them more productive at work, while just 7 percent believe it has made them less productive.”

It takes discipline to keep ourselves above the distractions and out of the mire of Facebook feeds and using the apps, programs, and tools that help us to do our jobs better.

And as children’s activity center owners and managers, distractions are amplified. You have employees, parents, students and vendors vying for your attention – and all while you’re trying to get real work done. Using technology tools to manage various components of your work helps you to keep work organized so that minute-by-minute distractions don’t derail your focus.

Technology minimizes menial tasks and allows us to focus on meaningful projects.

We referenced discipline for a reason. Without it’s highly possible that you could find yourself still going through your Inbox at noon or sucked into Facebook for hours on end.

Entrepreneur Magazine is a great resource for business tips. We recently uncovered a list of 10 ways that you can minimize distractions and supercharge your productivity.

  1. Keep email in check.

Email can easily get out of hand. That’s why the flooded Inbox can be so devastating to your productivity. It takes hours to find anything without organization and management. There are tools to help with this: try Sanebox. It’s also recommended (by self-help guru Tim Ferris) to check email only twice a day to limit it from interrupting your schedule.

  1. Curate your to-do list.

What does this mean? It means to avoid the generic when you’re making your to-do lists. This minimizes the never-ending laundry list that is filled with trivial tasks that may seem impossible to complete. Large projects should be broken into smaller, easy-to-tackle parts. There are services that can help with this: Asana or Trello allow you to arrange, categorize and weigh the importance of specific tasks to enable you to better manage your priorities.

  1. Read faster.

Average adults read approximately 300 words per minute. That’s also the rate at which we can comprehend and process most texts. That said, there are plenty of opportunities where you might want to quickly read (or skim) documents. Sites like Eyercize or Spreeder allow you to copy-and-paste text to power through longer articles or books.

  1. Invest in email tools.

You will run into occasions when you will want to follow-up or reach out to people en masse. To do this efficiently, you need tools. There are email marketing services that can help with this: Customer.io, Klaviyo or Vero.

  1. Put social media on a schedule.

You can’t invest the time it takes to engage with your Twitter followers or respond to every Facebook alert. There are apps to help you schedule posts so you can do weeks of work in one sitting: Buffer, Foster.fm and Tailwind help you have a presence without sinking hours a day into managing it.

  1. Take keyboard shortcuts.

Leave your mouse alone. Keyboard shortcuts cut your reaction time way down and allow you to speed up your workflow. It’s hard to imagine this at first, but experts (such as Coding Horror author Jeff Atwood) note that this is one of the quickest ways to increase your productivity on the computer.

*If you spend a lot of time in Excel, learn the shortcuts for that program too.

  1. Track your time.

How much of your valuable time you spend on various activities can be a frightening realization when you begin to track your time. Doing this gives you the metrics you need to quantify your hours and prioritize your activities You get self-awareness about your computer usage habits that diminish your productivity and gives you the metrics you need to prioritize your activities. Tools that help you regain control of your time are Due, RescueTime or Wrike.

  1. Use templates.

We’re creatures of repetition who waste lots of time doing actions over and over again. Technology enables us to eliminate redundancies. Sure, it’s easy to type the same copy into several emails, but creating templates that give you all of that repetitive information automatically can save hours in typing and proofing emails.  Business documents don’t necessarily need to be created from scratch each time- especially when templates can speed up the process of creating the document you need and produce more accurate results.  It’s sort of the same theory as not re-inventing the wheel. Take advantage of existing emails and documents to streamline your work. This has the bonus of also giving your business brand consistency.

  1. Work in the cloud.

We work from everywhere now. In the office, at home, while at conferences and shows and even on vacation. Having data and the apps used in the cloud is a tremendous productivity booster. Whether you’re logging into your email marketing app or revising a document in cloud storage, you save time by being able to access everything you need to get real work done regardless of where you are.

Services like Box, Dropbox and Google Drive make it easy for consumers and businesses to securely save and store documents, spreadsheets and presentations they’ll need to stay productive wherever they are.

  1. Ban it from the bedroom.

You might make a face at this one at first. But think about it. Leaving your phone, your ipad, your laptop in your office (or simply out of your sleeping quarters) helps you to get better rest by quelling your temptation to check email one last time or just put one finishing touch on a spreadsheet. A rested you is more productive at everything you do the next day. Checking your email when it is supposed to be your “downtime” also drives your significant other crazy.

Technology is powerful, but it is a double edged sword that we have to keep under control so that it remains a benefit and doesn’t become a distraction.

Read the original article (without my interpretations and comments), published at Entrepreneur.com and contributed by Firas Kittaneh, Entrepreneur and CEO at Amerisleep.

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