In the quest to work better and save time and effort, technology is here to the rescue. It has dramatically transformed our daily lives and work culture.
But not all digital solutions are as accessible and easy to use as others. So, what technology will actually help you work smarter, not harder?
How often have you been in a long meeting that feels like a waste of time? It’s happened to all of us. Fortunately, many of those unnecessary meetings could be replaced with real-time collaboration.
Today, there are plenty of tools that enable you to work with your colleagues or clients from any location. You can, for example, share your screen via video-conferencing platforms like Zoom. You can also work on files and documents together in real time, making changes that will appear on a single version — no confusion about whether you’re looking at the most recent draft. Plus, you are able to find all the materials you need in cloud-based drives like Dropbox.
Additionally, you can easily communicate quickly and efficiently, thanks to tools like Slack, which allow you to check in without writing out long emails or holding lengthy Zoom meetings.
Technology innovation is both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, it opens doors to possibilities beyond our wildest imagination. We can ask Alexa to find information for us, we can stream movies and TV shows on our laptops without leaving our homes, and we can split the bill with our friends without putting down several credit cards.
Unfortunately, all this exciting technology means distractions, too. It’s difficult to complete our work when we’re constantly checking Instagram or reading our latest texts. But guess what? Technology can actually provide a solution for the very problem it creates.
Tools like AppBlock and Freedom, among many other options, allow you to block apps and websites you designate for a given period of time, preventing you from checking them for that duration, thereby enabling you to avoid these distractions.
Project Management Software
Whether or not you have a designated project manager handling your complex projects, project management software is more than a “nice to have” system — it can often mean the difference between projects failing and succeeding.
Individuals and businesses alike use platforms like Trello, Wrike, Monday, and many others to stay up to date with their projects and ensure they are making progress on their initiatives. They provide a means of being current with your to-do list without actually having to check in with team members or send emails that can go unanswered for hours or days on end.
Writing is part of many of our daily activities, whether we’re writers by trade or not. But we’re not all natural-born editors. If you’re spending too much time wondering if you used the correct verb in that sentence or double-checking the spelling of that particular proper noun, you don’t have to any longer.
Tools like Grammarly take the copy editing — and comprehensive editing, if you’re willing to invest in the paid version — off your plate, saving your time and energy spent pouring over your text.
Feeling disorganized? Organization doesn’t come easily to many of us, and if it’s not one of your skills, you may very well be holding yourself back.
Clean out the clutter with the help of resources that will enable you to manage your hectic work life and schedule. For example, take notes and keep them all in one place with Evernote. And stay on top of all your appointments and time-sensitive tasks with Google Calendar — it’s free to use, and you’ll get reminders, too. There are plenty of additional platforms, paid and free, that allow you to keep track of everything on your plate.
You’re probably well aware of the many capabilities AI has to make our work lives less chaotic. It allows you to both save time and devote your efforts to activities that actually demand human talent — not those that are tedious, involved, and, ultimately, a waste of skills.
Take chatbots. Organizations are using these tools to facilitate interaction between consumers and companies, while customer service representatives can devote their time to more complex inquiries.
Consider applicant tracking software (ATS), too. These systems enable human resources specialists and recruiters to skip the laborious process of going through resumes to find the right fit, instead of delegating this task to automation software, which can flag potentially qualified candidates.
This isn’t an individual investment but a company-wide effort. Today, many organizations are implementing digital transformation initiatives to ensure that their systems and processes are as efficient as they possibly can be.
This is, perhaps, the ultimate “work smarter, not harder” step you can take. Too many businesses operate with technology that’s outdated, which creates problems for employees and the business as a whole, preventing people from doing their jobs effectively and productively. By overhauling your software and replacing it with newer, better models, you will set your organization up to operate more quickly and efficiently.
There is simply not enough time in the day — that’s an understatement. And if you’re always exhausted after the workday, you may not be making the best use of those few hours you do have.
That’s why it’s time for you to take a hard look at how you can make your processes more efficient. There are many technological solutions that will allow you to improve your workflow, whether at an individual or company level. And they will allow you to work more intelligently, with greater focus.