The Smartphone: Pocket sized productivity, or contract time-killer?

Today’s post is from Nick Moores of Office Time

The Smartphone: Pocket sized productivity, or contract time-killer?One of the perks of working in our modern environment is the abundance of technology available to make the way we work simpler, slicker, and more effective. But do Smartphones truly enhance our productivity, or do they hold us back from the task at hand?

In theory, digitization should enhance the way we conduct business, but occasionally the misuse of gadgets results in complicating or duplicating workload. One of the key points to remember when using a Smartphone to help streamline your professional life is to know the product through and through, and to learn how to set up your gadget so that it works for your needs.

The ability to sync modern Smartphones with other devices and platforms is an essential tool in the quest to save time and maximize productivity. Think about linking your email account, calendar, task list and contacts onto your device. The appeal of the Smartphone is mobility, but this is soon doused if you realize the phone number you need is written on a post-it miles away in your office, so be sure to keep your contact list updated as you make new connections.

The simplest of things, such as sound alerts for various incoming communications, can be helpful in prioritizing your time. If you receive a high volume of emails daily, it’s probably best to turn off any notifications to reduce interruption. Different ring tones can be assigned to different contacts – making it useful to distinguish a call from your manager or a key client which may need urgent response. With synced calendar and tasks, your phone can prompt you to carry out a task at a certain time, or remind you of an upcoming meeting. Technology has the advantage of literally crying out for you to do something, reminding you like a small digital assistant to make that call to your accountant, in the form of a loud message or alarm. Just ensure that this is productive to the way you work, and not counter intuitive – it becomes redundant if the message is ignored, or if it interrupts important conversations!

Alongside insurance for your device, ensure you back up your data regularly. Whether this is done manually or through synced platforms, losing information as a result of loss, theft or damage can be a huge time-waster, and can damage your business credibility.

Separating your professional and personal life is often of benefit with a Smartphone. Nothing is more distracting than the temptation to procrastinate on personal email and social media. It also helps ensure that you are not interrupted at work by social calls from friends.

Similarly, it strikes a great blow to clients in face to face meetings when your attention is focused more on your incoming emails than on them. Fiddling on your phone can be seen as rude and distracting, and sometimes even its presence implies your focus is elsewhere. Take some time before meetings to amend your phone settings to reduce interruption, and try to keep your Smartphone tucked away in your bag or pocket unless needed. This way you’ll resist the temptation, and show your client that you are fully engaged.

Think carefully about your upcoming schedule, and utilize the time you have travelling to catch up on emails or read documents on your digital device. It helps to note against your task list what can be completed remotely during these times, and will help remind you to prepare, by downloading documents ready to read.

Think outside the box – Smartphones come with great cameras; use this feature to photograph documents, presentations and locations. Utilizing the voice recognition feature to quickly find contacts or search the internet are also great shortcuts. Set up your GPS to use your device for navigation to find your way around a new area, and bookmark locations that you may need to return to. Plenty of apps are available that let you use your Smartphone for satellite navigation when driving, or to purchase train tickets in a hurry, all of which can be valuable time savers For international travelers your boarding pass can be kept safe on your device, which saves scrambling through folders in the check in queue. Setting up the time-zone section of your device can aid you when travelling abroad, or finding a mutually suitable time when setting up meetings or calls with colleagues overseas.

One final thought for the time saving Smartphone user is to be conscious to work in a way that feels natural to you. If you like written notes, physical documents to read, and the satisfaction of crossing off an item on your task list, then you may be less enamored with using a digital platform for all your professional needs.

Use the phone; don’t let the phone use you!

About the author: Nicholas Moores is a professional technology writer for Office Time – Time tracking software.