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5 Ways Technology Can Help You Balance School and Life

5 Ways Technology Can Help You Balance School and Life

Technological advancement has made life easier for us. Imagine living in the 1950s. While some may call it the golden era, the truth is that it was extremely difficult to live back then. Electricity was scarce, and there were no amenities such as mobile phones or the internet.

Today, most of these facilities are considered a necessity. Even though many experts argue that the use of technology has created an imbalance between school and life, the truth is that if used properly, technology can help you bridge the gap.

A lot has changed in the last few decades, but education is the most important thing if you wish to be successful. A lot of people today are balancing education with work. Some have weekend classes while some juggle work with online courses. But how do you manage life with education? The truth is that technology can help. How? Here are some tips:

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1. Let Technology Help You Manage Your Commitments

Over 4 million people aged 35 or older are enrolled in colleges. More and more Americans are waking up to the need for more education. They have realized that it is never too late to get a more training. However, most of these are married and have other commitments. This often prevents them from giving their 100% which disrupts their ability to focus on learning. Fortunately, technology can help.

You need to make a list of things that matter to you. These include family, education, work and of course your hobbies. Tools such as Google Calendar can greatly help you prepare a schedule and manage your time. Another great app is Instant. It keeps track of where you spend most of your time, including your sleep patterns so you can manage things better.

If you want a more detailed look at your schedule, you can use something like OfficeTime. It presents data in the form of graphs for a visual view of what you do. Once you have this data, you can see where most of your time goes and how you can change it, based on your priorities. For example, if you are spending 10 hours working and need more time for your education, you can set goals that include completing your work within 8 hours and using the time saved for your education.

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2. Use Technology for Better Communication

Communication is very important in every aspect of life, and thanks to technology it is easier than ever before to communicate. Save time by turning notifications on for your emails, but only for the urgent ones that you really need. This will allow you to respond to important emails instantly. Similarly, prevent useless apps from communicating. Most apps send push notifications regarding updates and special offers, and most of them are usually useless to you.

According to reports, most people spend around 90 minutes on a phone every day. And sadly, a lot of it goes into doing things that are of no use, including useless communication. So make sure to use technology to communicate effectively and efficiently and block out distractions.

Structure your responses properly so that there is no time wasted in replying and clearing things. If something cannot be made clear via text, use voice notes or simply call using one of many tools such as WhatsApp or Skype.

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3. Enjoy the Perks of Being a Student

Remind yourself about the perks of studying. Having advanced skills will help you carve out your niche and have a better life. Also, while you are studying, you may be eligible for student discounts and other offers that are only for students.

Technology has made it easier to see the benefit of everything. You can predict your worth with a certain degree or where you will be career-wise ten years down the line. Such information will help you stay motivated.

4. Find New Ways to Get An Education

Technology has made it easy to study. You do not necessarily have to attend classes physically thanks to eLearning and other training programs. Virtual learning is one of the fastest growing concepts due to its benefits. It allows incredible flexibility so that anyone and everyone can pursue further education.

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It is a 100 billion dollar industry today and is expected to grow even more in the future. While many question the quality of education, reports indicate that eLearning is as good as traditional learning, if not better.

5. Technology Will Allow You To be On Time

You can use technology to stay organized and on schedule. Use alarms to make sure you wake up on time and get timely reminders. Most mobile devices have this function built-in so there will be no need to install new apps. However, for better functionality, you may try some third party apps as well, such as Wunderlist. It lets you schedule due dates/times and tasks. It can send reminders, including push notifications and also emails. You can also check off items once you complete one task to make sure you keep a tab on all your tasks.

Make sure to make proper use of technology to ensure that you live a balanced life. Apps can help you organize and do things in a better manner.

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Ahmed Raza

CEO of Samurais.co

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

How to Increase Work Productivity: 9 Ground Rules

How to Increase Work Productivity: 9 Ground Rules

We all have those days when completing our assigned tasks seems beyond reach. With the temptation of social media, mobile games, and the internet in general—not to mention the constant bustle of people in the office—it’s easy to fall prey to disruptions and distractions at work.

So, what can we do about it? How to be productive at work?

While we don’t have a foolproof system that can completely eliminate disturbances and diversions, we do have 9 ground rules that can be applied to help give your productivity levels a boost.

Keep reading to find out our tips on work productivity.

What Does It Mean to Be Productive?

How to be productive at work?” is the age-old question plaguing employees and employers alike around the world. Regardless of where you work and what you do, everyone is always looking for new ways to be more efficient and effective.

But what does being productive actually entail?

Completing more tasks on your list or working longer hours doesn’t necessarily mean you’re being more productive. It just means you’re more busy, and productivity shouldn’t be confused with busyness.

Productivity means achieving effective results in as short amount of time as possible, leaving you with more time to enjoy freely.

It involves working smarter, not harder. It means refining processes, speeding up workflows, and reducing the chances of interruptions.

Productivity is best achieved when looking at your current way of working, identifying the bottlenecks, flaws, and hindrances, and then finding ways to improve.

9 Ground Rules on How to Be Productive at Work

1. Avoid Multitasking

Multitasking can give the impression that more tasks can be accomplished as you’re doing multiple things at once. However, the opposite is true.

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Research has shown that attempting to do several things at the same time takes a toll on productivity and that shifting between tasks can cost up to 40 percent of someone’s time.[1] That’s because your focus and concentration is constantly hindered due to having to switch between tasks.

If you have a lot of tasks on your plate, determine your priorities and allocate enough time for each task. That way you can work on what’s urgent first and have enough time to complete the rest of your tasks.

2. Turn off Notifications

According to a Gallup poll, more than 50 percent of US smartphone owners admit to checking their phones a few times an hour.[2]

Switching off your phone—or at least your notifications—during work hours is a good way to prevent you from checking your phone all the time.

The same applies to your computer. If you have the privilege of accessing social media on your work desktop, switch off the notifications on there.

Another good tip is to logout from your social media accounts. Therefore when you feel the urge to check it, you might be swayed because your page isn’t so easily accessible.

3. Manage Interruptions

There are certain disruptions in the office that are unavoidable such as your manager requesting a quick meeting or your colleague asking for assistance. In order to deal with this, your best approach is to know how to handle interruptions like a pro.

Be proactive and inform the people around you of your need to focus. Turn your status on as “busy/unavailable” on your work chat app.

If you’re on a deadline, let your colleagues know that you need to concentrate and would really appreciate not being interrupted for the moment, or even work from home if that’s a feasible option for you.

By anticipating and having a plan in place to manage them, this will minimize your chances of being affected by interruptions.

4. Eat the Frog

Mark Twain once famously said that:

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“if it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”

What this basically means is that you should get your biggest, most urgent task out of the way first.

We all have that big, important task that we don’t want to do but know we have to do because it holds the biggest consequence if we don’t complete it.

Eat the frog is a productivity technique that encourages you to do your most important, most undesirable task first. Completing this particular task before anything else will give you a huge sense of accomplishment. It will set the ball rolling for the rest of the day and motivate you to eagerly complete your other tasks.

5. Cut Down on Meetings

Meetings can use up a lot of time, which is time that can be used to do something useful.

You have to wait for everyone to arrive, then after the pleasantries are out of the way, you can finally get stuck into it. And sometimes, it may take a whole hour to iron out one single issue.

The alternative? Don’t arrange a meeting at all. You’ll be surprised at how many things can be resolved through an email or a quick phone call.

But that doesn’t mean you should eliminate meetings altogether. There are certain circumstances where face-to-face discussions and negotiations are still necessary. Just make sure you weigh up the options prior.

If it’s just information sharing, you’re probably better off sending an email; but if brainstorming or in-depth discussion is required, then an in-person meeting would be best.

6. Utilize Tools

Having the right tools to work with is crucial as you’re only really as good as the resources you have at your disposal. Not only will you be able to complete tasks as efficiently as possible, but they can streamline processes. Said processes are essential to a business as they manage tasks, keep employees connected, and hold important data.

If you’re the manager or business owner, ensure your team has the right tools in place.

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And if you’re an employee and think the tools you currently have to work with aren’t quite up to par, let your manager know. A good team leader understands the significance of having the right tools and how it can impact employee productivity.

Some examples of tools that could be used:

Communication
  • Slack for team chat and collaboration.
  • Samepage for video conference software.
  • Zendesk for customer service engagement.
Task Management
  • Zenkit for task and project collaboration.
  • Wunderlist for listing your to-do’s.
  • Wekan for an open source option.
Database Management
Time Tracking
  • Clockify for a free tracker.
  • TMetric for workspace integrations.
  • TimeCamp for attendance and productivity monitoring.

You can also take a look at these Top 10 Productivity Tools to Help You Achieve 10x More in Less Time.

7. Declutter and Organize

Having a disorganized and cluttered workspace can limit your ability to focus. According to researchers, physical clutter can negatively impact your ability to concentrate and take in information.[3] Which is why keeping your work environment well ordered and clutter-free is important.

Ensure you have your own system of organization so you know what to do when the paperwork starts to pile up.

Being organized will also ensure that you know where to find the appropriate stationery, tools, or documents when you need it. A US study reveals that the average worker can waste up to one week a year looking for misplaced items.[4]

Here’s a useful guide to help you declutter and organize: How to Declutter Your Life and Reduce Stress (The Ultimate Guide)

8. Take Breaks

Taking regular breaks is essential for maintaining productivity at work. Working in front of a computer can lead to a sedentary lifestyle which can place you at a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Even a 30 second microbreak can increase your productivity levels up to 30 percent.

As well as your physical health, breaks are also crucial for your mental and emotional wellbeing. That’s because your brain is like a muscle, the more it works without a break, the easier it is for it to get worn out.

Ensuring you actually take your breaks can prevent you from suffering from decision fatigue. It can also help boost creativity.

Take a look at this article and learn why you should start scheduling time for breaks: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

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9. Drink Water

Although we know we should, it’s easy to forget to drink enough water during the working day.

Many of us turn to tea or coffee for the caffeine hit to keep us going. However, like taking breaks, drinking water is essential for maintaining productivity levels at work. It’s simple and effective.

Not drinking enough water can lead to dehydration and also headaches, tiredness, and weight gain.

A good tip to avoid dehydration is to keep a water bottle at your desk as it can serve as a reminder to constantly drink water.

If you find the taste of water a little bland, add some fruit such as cucumber or lemon to give it a better taste.

You can also get more ideas on how to drink more water here: How to Drink More Water (and Why You Should)

The Bottom Line

The preceding 9 ground rules on work productivity aren’t the be-all, end-all. You and the company you work for may have other tips on how productivity is best increased and maintained.

After all, it’s something that can be perceived differently depending on the exact job and work environment.

In saying that, however, the 9 ground rules serve as a good foundation for anyone finding themselves succumbing to disruption and distraction, and are looking for ways to overcome them.

A good tip to keep in mind is that change doesn’t happen overnight. Start small and be consistent. If you slip up, just dust yourself off and try again.

Developing habits happens gradually, so as long as you keep up with it, you’ll soon start to notice the changes you’ve been making and eventually enjoy the fruits of your labor.

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Featured photo credit: Cathryn Lavery via unsplash.com

Reference

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