Smartphones are not the enemies of productivity.
Sure we spend up to four hours a day on them, and they’re constantly distracting us. But, if you think about it, that’s not your phone’s fault.
Your phone is merely a tool, you’re in control. And if you want, you can actually use this powerful device to boost your productivity.
Want to know how?
Here are four tips that will help you turn your phone from productivity’s enemy to productivity’s best friend. Okay. This sounds cringe, but you get the point.
Get a to-do list app
Planning your day is crucial if you want to be more productive. It’ll help you to manage your time effectively, know exactly what tasks you need to achieve and prioritize your goals.
If you’re not a fan of writing to-do lists the old fashion way, and let’s face it, who is? Applications such as Wunderlist or Any.do are what you need right now.
There are so many to-do list applications available it can be hard to know which one is right for you. I chose these two because they’re simple to use whether you’re a business owner, employer, student or even a stay at home parent.
You can divide your tasks into subtasks, have checklists and set reminders to avoid forgetting anything important. Any.do goes a step further and has a voice-entry feature, so if you’re extra lazy and can’t be bothered to type in your to-dos, you can speak instead.
Listen to podcasts and audiobooks
Whoever came up with the idea of podcasts is a genius. They’re an excellent way of getting knowledge on pretty much anything you’re interested in, and being up to date with current events.
Audiobooks are equally awesome, and perfect for you if you enjoy reading, but can’t find the time to do so.
Listen to podcasts and audiobooks while doing other things like exercising, preparing food, using public transport etc.. Anything that doesn’t require your full attention.
It’s smart multitasking and makes you more productive.
Use an app that blocks social media websites
If you find that you’re frequently distracted by social media websites when you should be focusing on something else, like your studies, you can download an application that’ll temporarily block these websites.
Here are three good ones:
This is an application currently available for Macs that you can use to block some websites for up to 24hrs. If you want, you can even block the entire internet.
This is a chrome extension that allows you use to websites for a specific time limit, and once that limit is up, the sites will be blocked for the whole day.
This app is awesome as it’s available for both Macs and Windows. It blocks your access to social media platforms, but if you need the internet, you’ll still be able to use it.
If the thought of having websites blocked for some time or a whole day scares you, and yes, I relate to this fear, then at the very least turn off your notifications.
For your physical and mental health
This particular tip is great because not only do you increase your productivity, you also save time and money. It’s win-win.
If you’ve wanted to start exercising, but you can’t be bothered to go to the gym every day or you just don’t have the extra cash right now, there are countless work-out apps available for you.
You can download some that make you exercise for a few minutes even, that way if you’re busy, you don’t have to miss out on your important work-out routine, but can still benefit and feel amazing.
Besides working out, there are other ways you can use your phone to benefit your health, particularly your mental health.
Do you wake up and your mind is flooded with negative thoughts? You can change that by writing a list of affirmations on your Notes app and reading them aloud to yourself every morning.
Set a timer on your phone for five, ten or fifteen minutes. However long or short you want, and meditate. If meditation isn’t your thing, you can try breathing exercises instead.
Journaling is an excellent practice to develop. It’s a good way of releasing your thoughts, offering your mind some clarity and reducing stress.
You can journal on your Notes, or download a virtual diary. The Day one app is my personal favourite.
Besides using certain applications to be more productive, I recommend downloading an app that lets you know how much time you’re spending on your phone. QualityTime is a good one to check out. The number could shock you so much, it’ll be enough to permanently stop you from getting distracted.
Is there anything else you can think of doing, to use your phone to be productive?
Erin shows overscheduled, overwhelmed women how to do less so that they can achieve more. Traditional productivity books—written by men—barely touch the tangle of cultural pressures that women feel when facing down a to-do list. How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.