A modern working environment presents a plethora of potential challenges, hindering your productivity.
At times, it feels like you cannot get anything done. The odds are that your smartphone is one of the key reasons. Studies have indicated that an average employee could be wasting more than eight hours per week on a smartphone doing non-work related activities.
The number is concerning, but does it mean giving up smartphone usage at work completely? According to Statista, the global average of people using smartphones for work is about 54%.
While smartphones are distracting, they also let you communicate, look up information, and track time, to name a few benefits.
You need to come up with a strategy to turn your smartphone into a helpful assistant that boosts your productivity rather than distracts you. Let’s take a look at how you can accomplish this.
1. Optimize the Smartphone’s Performance
Do not expect to get a lot done if the device performs poorly. Struggling with outdated technology is frustrating, but it does not mean that you need to invest in a new device right away.
Focus on the following:
- Get rid of bloatware and other junk-consuming storage space
- Check and optimize the battery
- Close applications instead of having them run in the background
- Install operating system updates as soon as they become available
Keeping your smartphone optimized takes next to no effort, but it makes a significant difference in how much you can get out of the device.
2. Disable Notifications
Distractions come in different forms, but smartphone notifications are one of the standout hindrances to our productivity. Business Insider claims that more than 80% of millennials, for instance, respond to push notifications.
By disabling notifications, you:
- Reduce stress and anxiety
- Become more conscious of your smartphone usage
- Waste less time needlessly checking your phone
At the end of the day, notifications serve the app creator, not you. It is their goal to pull you back to using the application. Disabling notifications puts you in control.
3. Install a Time Management Application
Time-management apps help you track how much you spend on each task, making it much easier to decide which areas need improvements.
Having a dedicated app like PomoDone also helps build discipline. In addition, since you are going to be in charge of your own time tracking, micromanagement will no longer be a concern.
Finally, such applications encourage people to get better. It is easier to find motivation when you notice how the time spent on a particular task is decreasing, thus pushing you even more.
4. Modify the Home Screen
A smartphone screen is hardly the same as a computer screen. Nevertheless, you still have multiple options to modify the smartphone’s screen and help yourself.
For starters, put applications into folders for easier tracking. The search feature is enough to find the necessary apps, but you can navigate the device more easily when every application has its place.
Another neat trick is to have the most important apps visible after unlocking the phone. Your most important tools should be the easiest to access.
Widgets are worth a shout as well. If you want to see useful information at a glance (weather, time, battery consumption), place it on the home screen. Doing so will enable the information to be visible at all times without needing to tap on an icon.
As a rule of thumb, remember that less is more in the context of a smartphone’s screen. Jam-packing it with redundant apps works against you by distracting and consuming the smartphone’s battery.
5. Create To-Do Lists With a Notes App
Keeping track of everything in your head is hardly good advice for busy people. If you want to avoid potential mistakes because you forget something important, why not get in the habit of taking notes?
On a smartphone, you can quickly open a notes app and take a memo for future reference. It should not take too long to write down the most important details. In case you are in a hurry, you can also use abbreviations and other ways to shorten the memo.
The notes app allows you to set a reminder. Select the time for a specific note and you will get a push notification alerting you about the note you took.
6. Utilize Cloud Storage
Cloud storage comes in handy, not just when you are on a mobile. Many organizations rely on it to exchange information and keep data in a safe location.
For smartphone productivity, cloud storage offers a means to quickly access files that you put there from your computer or another device.
Services like Dropbox and iCloud also let multiple users collaborate on the same account, so working in a team becomes that much easier.
In addition, clouds also work as a safety net by letting you back up files. For example, it’s much easier to work out how to get deleted messages back on iPhone if you used an iCloud backup.
Lastly, if you want to make a quick edit in a file that is on your cloud account, you do not need to go to a computer. Instead, open a file on the smartphone and do your modifications there.
7. Simplify Some Tasks With a Voice Assistant
If your hands are too busy or you cannot bother doing some tasks manually, assign them to a voice assistant.
Take Siri on iOS, for example. You can try these commands to increase your productivity:
- Set a timer
- Create or cancel an appointment
- Receive a reminder
- Take a memo
- Set an alarm
- Check the weather forecast
- Ask for directions
- Do a quick Google search
The list goes on, and it is up to you how you want to utilize the AI assistant on your device. One thing is certain, though—the technology is similar to having an actual virtual assistant carrying out your tasks.
8. Delete or Hide Distracting Apps
Similar to notifications, you might be inclined to procrastinate on a smartphone if it has too many distracting applications.
Instead of doing your work, you would rather spend time browsing social media or playing mobile games.
According to ZipDo, 40% of employees identify social media as the dominant culprit for smartphone distractions at work. The same study also found that blocking access to social media increased employee productivity by more than 33%.
Eliminating distracting apps helps because you:
- Have fewer sources of procrastination
- Build healthier smartphone usage at work habits
There are two options—to delete the application completely or hide it from plain by creating folders with multiple subfolders and transferring the app there.
9. Invest in Useful Smartphone Accessories
Do not overlook smartphone accessories. Consider these options to improve your productivity:
A wireless charging pad
A cluttered workspace that has multiple cords and cables is a hindrance. It forces you to waste time untangling everything to access a device. Instead of adding one more cable to the mix in the form of a phone charger, get a wireless charging pad.
A portable power bank
During business trips, it is common to stay in touch with others via a smartphone. However, if you run into a problem of finding an electrical outlet, you will likely run out of battery power on the smartphone.
A portable power bank works as a backup option in these cases. The accessory is relatively small and does not take too much space.
It is hard to imagine working in a noisy environment. For instance, can you realistically expect to get something from a virtual meeting if there is noise all round you? Construction works, noisy colleagues, and other distractions force you to pay attention to them rather than your work.
To solve the problem, get noise-canceling headphones. You can connect them to your smartphone and play soothing music or white noise, creating a background noise that lets you focus on your job.
A Bluetooth keyboard
Not everyone is a fan of typing on a smartphone’s keyboard. If you have to text a lot and want an alternative to the integrated touchscreen keyboard, an external Bluetooth keyboard designed specifically for smartphones is an excellent option.
A physical keyboard gives more accuracy because the keys are larger than on the smartphone’s keyboard.
To sum it all up, there are multiple ways to set yourself up for success if you want to be more productive on a smartphone.
Separating the device from our daily and work lives is a challenge. However, you can reduce non-work related activities by minimizing social media usage, mobile games, texting, and other distractions.
Instead, focus on the best features a smartphone can offer for your work productivity. Make the most out of the device and treat it as a valuable asset rather than a productivity obstacle.
About the author:
Laura Alexander is a freelance digital content manager and copywriter. She specializes in tech, e-commerce, and educational content.
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