How Your Smartphone Can Help You be Productive

podcast Jan 25, 2019

Yes, it IS possible to be productive and have a smartphone. But it requires you to step up and be the one in control instead of letting your smartphone be the boss.

There are countless benefits of smartphone technology and in this post, I give you some suggestions to make your phone your ally.

I believe technology is a blessing and a curse.

A blessing because it allows us to do so much at our fingertips: stay in touch via email, texting, or social media.

A curse because it can be a time suck. Spending too much time in email (which is just a place where people drop problems into your lap), texting friends, or social media (do I really need to talk about this?)

Let's focus on the GOOD that technology brings us with an emphasis on smartphones.

Note: it doesn’t matter what smartphone you use but as an Apple fanboy (no apologies), I may refer to my iPhone a lot but it’s not meant to offend anyone.

Before I get started

I find that Screen time is a game for me. My time spent using my iPhone usually goes down every week. What can I say? I’m competitive.

Since getting my first Apple Watch in September 2018, I'm actually spending less time on my iPhone. (Read How My Apple Watch Made Me More Productive.)

Benefits of our smartphones

They are mobile. This means we can be available other than just in the office (though this could be a negative if you’re not careful).

I love the ability to be there for my clients outside “regular office hours”.

Because I have everything in the cloud, I have access to anything my clients or meeting planners may need.

Now, as an entrepreneur, I do work every day. Yes, every day. Even on vacation. Don’t worry, I have my wife’s blessing. But on weekends or vacations, I only work on what I need to work on. It’s never an all-day thing. Especially on vacation.

How my iPhone keeps me productive

I use three functions on my smartphone:

To-do app (Things 3)

Anything I need to do goes into this app as soon as I think of it. This could be someone I need to call, something I need to do or something else. I’ve learned not to trust my brain.

Calendar (iOS/Apple )

I've tried more calendar apps then I can count and they all have pros and cons. The reason I keep coming back to Apple's calendar is because it's built-in. I have a lot of ideas to improve it but, again, there are no perfect apps.

Timer/Alarm

Timer: to set a specific amount of time you will work on a task (you choose the time). When the timer goes off, you take a break (again, setting the timer). You may have heard of this referred to as the Pomodoro Technique. Just understand that the number of minutes you work is up to you BUT high-performance coach Brendon Burchard has done the research and discovered that high performers work for 50 minutes on ONE task and then take a 10-minute break. But you need to do what works for you.

Alarm: an alternative to using the timer would be to set your alarm for every 30 minutes, for example. So, 9:30, 10:30, etc. This way you are reminded to take a break every 30 minutes.

Important!

Disable as many notifications as you “can”. And then disable even more. You need fewer distractions. I’m constantly doing a notification cleanse (what is that?). Even I sometimes get lazy and allow too many notifications.

A notification cleanse is when you go through all of your notifications on all of your devices and disable the ones that don't serve you. This should be done on a regular basis. Do you need notifications for:

  • Email
  • Social media
  • Sports apps
  • News apps (why even have these on your phone?)

 My final point: permission

If you’re having a “bad” day…

You don’t have any motivation so you feel the pull strong to surf social media, play games, text your friends, or whatever, give yourself permission.

We all have those times when we’re not feeling it. And I’m here to tell you that it’s okay.

The problem is when a half-day turns into multiple days.

Take some time off - this could be a few hours or a whole day. Maybe even a week. Yes, a week!

When you come back, you’ll be refreshed.

Your turn

How do you stay productive while using your smartphone?

Or...in what ways is your smartphone preventing you from being productive?

Let me know in the comments.

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