using technology better

The Secret to Using Technology Effectively (And How NOT to Use it)

Technology is a wonderful tool that can help us organize and automate our lives. But, using technology can often cause more headaches. How many of you have tried a new app or system because it promised to solve all of your scheduling challenges… only to stop using it two weeks later?

This week, I want to share some of my favorite apps for both home and work. These apps help keep me organized, on time, and focused—but they aren’t magic beans. After I share my favorite systems, I’m also going to talk a little bit about using technology effectively.

Streamline your productivity with my favorite apps

Google Drive — In this world of working on the go, cloud storage for your working files is a necessity so you can go from laptop to desktop to phone in a swipe. Google Drive takes the hassle out of storing documents, spreadsheets, and any other files you need regularly. The biggest asset here is that everyone can work on a document at the same time. With auto-save, built-in version control, and a detailed revision history, you’ll never lose your hard work.

Asana — If genies were real, Asana is what would come out when you rub their magical lamp. This tool has so much potential for organizing your life, your work, projects, and just about anything else you can think of. You can create projects and share them with team members (or keep them private, if it’s for your eyes only). It’s so easy to set deadlines to projects, tasks, and even sub-tasks—you’ll never miss any due date again! Asana is also set up for easy communication among team members. You can leave messages right on a task card, and your teammates will be notified via email.

Pocket — Pocket is a great way to save that article you stumbled upon that required a bookmark because you didn’t have time in that moment for it. Think of it as a reading list that you can add to quickly via the app, or browser extension. Organizing it is easy as well, if you don’t want one long list of articles. Tip: It’s also a great way to curate content for your social media feeds!

Reminders — It’s like having a personal assistant on your iPhone. You can set up anything that you need to be reminded of… things like appointments, grocery lists, to do items, and automations. You can even add details like time and location. It feels just as good to checkmark something on your phone as it does on a paper list.

Voxer — Sometimes you need an answer, fast. Emails and texts are still pretty fast ways to communicate, but this walkie talkie app makes it even faster. No need to type or debate which emoji to use, just press the button and speak into your phone! Replay voice messages, communicate back and forth, or just goof off with it like a kid with a walkie talkie. It’s quick, casual, and effective way to communicate with your team and family.

These are just some of my favorite apps that are most helpful to me. Want to hear more about them? I suggest listening to Episode 038 of the Productivity Paradox to get tips on how to get started with these apps and how you can use them to streamline areas of your life.

Apps are great, but using technology effectively isn’t easy!

Now, you can have all the apps in the world, but if you don’t use them to your advantage, you may create more problems than you solve. These tools are here to help us, so take the time to learn how to use them properly.

Here are a few other tips for using technology to your advantage—not to your distraction:

1. Pick one tool to master at a time.

We tend to go through bursts where we find a whole bunch of new systems at once, spreading our thoughts in too many directions. If managing the family calendar is a stressful point for you, find an app to handle that. Don’t go overboard and add a new calendar system, a grocery tracker, and a meal planning app.

2. Keep it simple.

If you have to re-wire your brain to think a different way in order to use an app, it’s probably not the right one for you. If you start using an app that isn’t working the way you want it to, try another one!

3. Remember to unplug, too.

Oftentimes, we are most productive when we’re completely removed from our everyday distractions. Using an app like Moment can help you lock down your phone if you’ve been using it a bit too much that day.

Did you find this blog post helpful? Leave a comment to let us know your favorite apps and systems. We’re always on the look out for something new.

Also, be sure to join us at inkWELL Press Productivity Co., our free, supportive online community where we discuss all things productivity, time management, goal setting and more.

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Tonya Dalton
Tonya Dalton