SMB 43

Productivity in the Always-Connected Era

There is no shortage of technology that claims to help increase your productivity. Every month, I look at what’s next—a bit of the future today.

This post’s nugget of future-proofing is decidedly un-tech, so let’s unplug from the internet for a bit.

Before you blink in stunned silence that a tech observer would suggest unplugging, let me say that I love what Ramon Ray offered in his August post, Connecting Apps, as he highlighted one of my favorite services: If This, Then That (IFTTT). The main idea is that by interconnecting various apps and tools, you save time and effort; he cites having Gmail auto-forward important messages to Dropbox for backup, for example. And, Eric Knopf confirms the necessity of automating your awesomeness, too.

The ability to connect technology services to get more done is unprecedented, necessary, and popular today. You should read those two posts to get a sense of what’s possible and find the life hacks/work hacks that will save you time and money as a small or midsize business owner.

Seeking productivity with a purpose

  • Lose the to-do list and use your calendar. At the start of each week, map out what you would like the week to look like. This means your goals, your important objectives, to keep on top of what you want to accomplish. In addition, instead of a simple to-do list, block out the time needed for each task and schedule it. Productivity guru Tony Robbins says, “If you talk about it, it’s a dream; if you envision it, it’s possible; but if you schedule it, it’s real.”
  • Don’t multitask. Single task. There are plenty of recent research studies that show that multitasking is a myth. We have simply learned to single task quickly. The research indicates you should give up trying to do two things well and focus on doing one, and doing it better. Shut off all phone and internet notifications. There’s no need to know you got an email if you are trying to write a presentation or do some heavy quantitative analysis.

If these don’t work and you are not sure how you are using your time, of course, there are apps for that: Toggl or RescueTime allow you to track your time. They tell you when and how long you use different programs and apps (or how long you wandered into Facebook) and provides a pretty pie chart to show how you spent your day. That can be motivating (or depressing) depending on how much it helps you get done.

Succeeding in today’s always-on, always-connected world takes effort and energy; some of it involves the non-tech aspect of life. Spend time every day and week sorting your priorities, and in many cases, letting the tech do its job without getting distracted by it. Here’s to your productivity!