Is Technology A Blessing Or A Curse?

Now that we are 18 months into the “new normal” of having a virtual lifestyle, what is your opinion of technology?  Is it a blessing or a curse?

Personally, I have mixed emotions.  I'm grateful for tools like Zoom and other forms of video chat.  It would be very difficult to run my business today without it.  Even so, it seems every time I get comfortable using a new tool, a new feature or tool pops up that adds to the list of what I need to learn in order to operate my firm.  Now, don't get me wrong.  I love learning new things.  But there are days when enough is enough!

So, here are some technology hacks that help to keep technology in perspective.

Use Technology to Limit Distractions

There are endless things vying for your attention every day. The distractions multiply when you work from home. Aim to limit distractions as much as possible by employing these productivity apps when you work from home.

Tools That Help You Be More Productive When Working From Home

  • RescueTime is a free online tool that tracks your activity as you surf the web and provides reports based on how much time you spend on certain sites. This allows you to see how and where you’re wasting time so that you can set up boundaries to prevent distractions in the future. The premium version of this tool provides real-time alerts and distraction blocking software to help you stay attentive for $12 monthly.
  • The FocusBooster Timer uses the Pomodoro Technique to track your time and intersperse small spurts of productivity with frequent breaks. This means that the timer will go off after working for 25 minutes and then remind you to take a five-minute break before the next set of work is to begin. The app’s free version provides you with 20 Pomodoro sessions a month, with the option to upgrade to 200 for $2.99 monthly. For $4.99 per month, you can have unlimited Pomodoro sessions and the ability to track revenue through the app
  • The Self-Control App is a free desktop app that blocks certain websites and social media sites for a specified amount of time so you won’t be tempted to surf the web when you’re supposed to be working. It’s aimed at Mac users, but there’s also a Chrome browser extension available as well

In addition to these applications, you could also use a task management system like Asana or Trello. They help you stay on track with your daily tasks and reminders, and both are free if you opt for their basic, more bare-bones plans.

“Time-tracking software can help you break your workload into smaller tasks, and it will also time-track how long it takes to complete each item,” Jacimovic adds.

Unplugging From Social Media

I personally like to organize my Asana tasks by color so that I can easily plan ahead and do my work in batches, but be sure to play around with different apps and workflows to see what works for you.

Finally, it helps to manually turn off notifications from social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. These can be huge productivity drains, even if you open them for a second.

“Turn off social media, or completely shut down the internet during work,” recommends Raj Vardhman, co-founder of remote employment site GoRemotely. “Just one notification is enough to make us watch Corgi videos all day — to work productively, we should make sure our online distractions are muted.”

Non Work Related Social Media Tips

Is your cell phone always at your elbow?  Do you hit pause during a meal or conversation to respond to a text or answer a call?  If you feel like your cell phone is nothing more than a fiber optic leash, maybe feeling like every request needs a nano-second response is the reason.  Try to set realistic expectations with friends and family regarding how quickly you will respond to texts, voice mail or email.  Remember the days when we didn't have our cell phone or tablet at our fingertips?  We'd go out for a walk, or a ride without worrying someone might contact us, and heaven forbid, we weren't available!  The reality is, the world won't catch on fire if you don't answer a call, text or email immediately!  Setting realistic expectations can relieve the stress (and guilt) of being off the grid from time to time.

Subtle Technology Lifestyle Hacks

If your lifestyle permits, set times during the day for a technology break and replace it with real, human interaction.  Go for a walk and leave the phone at home.  Stop and talk with a neighbor, you might make their day!  Turn off technology during meals and learn to enjoy the food and fellowship of your meal companion.  Take a walk with a friend in nature and really drink in the scenery and enjoy the conversation.  Give yourself the gift of a technology (and mental health) break.  You deserve it!

So, what do you think?  Is technology a blessing or a curse?  I'd love to hear your feedback!

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