Do you have a love/hate relationship with technology? You love the convenience of having a portable device that keeps you connected to your friends and family wherever you are. At the same time you’re connected to anyone who wants to get a hold of you often leaving you feeling stressed and overwhelmed. Information is now available with the click of a button and research that used to take hours or days can now be done in minutes. Yet this constant inflow of information can be exhausting. Yes, technology is a good thing! At the same time it’s not always the answer to solve your organization or productivity issues. There’s a time and a place for technology tools, so before looking in the “app store” for a magical solution give yourself a reality check with these suggestions.
Paperless – You hate paper and the piles continue to grow on your counters, your desk, your drawers and your floor. Wouldn’t it be nice to go digital and get rid of all that paper clutter? One option is to convert your paper piles to an electronic format via scanning. But a scanner only eliminates the paper, it does not relieve you of the “need to’s” buried in the piles. It simply moves them to the digital world. You still need a system of how you plan to act on the items (put on your calendar or on a task list). In addition, completely paperless is not reality. No matter what you do, paper will still be part of your life. Knowing that “mostly paperless” is a more viable existence you can determine how much time, energy, and money you want to invest in the technology to be less paper based.
Task Management – When it comes to managing your to-do’s, it’s definitely important to get nagging thoughts out of your head and captured in a system. There are literally hundreds of apps and software options available to help you do that. But in your quest to find the perfect solution, you may be on a never ending chase. An interface that works awesome for your friend/colleague, may be overwhelming for you. Or, what appears to be a great technology tool is so complicated to mange that you don’t use it, thus it does not serve its purpose. Sometimes good old fashioned pen and paper is a better choice. Research shows that “as far as our brain is concerned, when we write things down, it’s as if we were doing that thing. Writing seems to act as a kind of mini-rehearsal for doing,” (adapted from LifeHack.org).
Be Ready To Learn – It seems so simple, spend $.99, $2.99. or even $9.99 and your problems will be solved with a click and a download. That’s what the marketing materials may say, but that’s not reality. If you want to embrace an app or technology tool to help you be more organized and productive, you need to spend some time with it. Learn how it works, learn its limits, see whether it works with how you think. Because many technology tools require little upfront money and time investment, it’s easy to just keep trying different ones thinking you’ll finally land on the best one for you. Instead, invest in one tool and devote your time and attention to mastering it before moving onto the next thing.
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