Is technology a time-saver or time-waster? That all depends on how you use it. American consumers spend an average of five hours a day on mobile devices, of which 19 percent is spent on Facebook, 15 percent on music and entertainment, and 11 percent on gaming, with just 9 percent spent on productivity, a Flurry Analytics survey reports. Even apps that are supposed to increase your productivity can waste time if they’re more complicated than the problems they’re supposed to solve. It shouldn’t take you more time to manage a to-do list than it should to do the tasks on your list.
But technology can be a big time-saver when used properly. Here are three ways you can use it as a tool to increase your productivity in your personal life, at work and around the home.
For managing personal to-do lists, one of the most efficient options you can use is a voice-controlled digital assistant powered by artificial intelligence: Apple users have Siri, Microsoft offers Cortana and Samsung recently released Bixby for its mobile devices. For other Android devices, a growing range of AI personal assistant apps are available, including Ozlo, Hound, Dragon Mobile Assistant and Jarvis.
To run an AI personal assistant app on your smartphone, you need a phone with a processor up to the task. Qualcomm’s Artificial Intelligence platform is specially designed to support AI applications that run on mobile devices. The platform comes with the robust Haven security suite, with biometric authentication to verify that you’re the one giving your phone commands.
Productivity at Work
The average worker receives 304 business emails a week, checks their email 36 times an hour and needs 16 minutes to refocus after answering an email. Meanwhile, employees attend an average of 62 meetings a month, wasting half the time per meeting for a total of 31 hours wasted every month.
Get your email under control with an email management app such as SaneBox. SaneBox prioritizes your email as it comes in based on your past inbox activity and only lets priority emails into your inbox, sending others to designated folders. You then get a digest of which emails were sent to other folders so you know which ones are priorities.
To spend less time at meetings, use a meeting management app such as Meeting.gs. The Meeting.gs app automates the process of scheduling meetings and sharing agenda materials and notes, eliminating the time normally wasted doing these tasks with calendar and email tools.
Productivity at Home
Just as digital assistants can increase your productivity on your smartphone, they can also help you get more done around the house. Amazon’s Echo speaker works with the Alexa voice assistant to let you control smart devices around your home. Use the sound of your voice to adjust your thermostat, get dinner started or unlock the door for a guest.
You’ll get the most out of a voice assistant such as Alexa if you pair it with the If This Then That (IFTTT) tool. IFTTT lets you create conditional statements called “applets” or “recipes” that can automatically perform customized actions you define. For instance, you can program IFTTT to start brewing coffee when you wake up or open your door and turn on your lights when you come home.
Digital assistants, email and meeting managers, and applet tools such as IFTTT are three ways to increase your productivity in your personal life, at work and around the home. By using these types of tools effectively, you can get more done in less time, leaving you more time for important things and for relaxing.