Blog // Connect South Carolina

Work Smarter: Be Intentional with Technology

By Sara Volpi

We all do it. We’re sitting at our desks, dutifully marking things off our to-do lists, when we get the urge to check the latest stories in our social media feeds or peruse a favorite blog. These distractions can nudge anyone off the productivity-track, making it difficult to realign the workday and complete the tasks at hand. Some research would suggest we seek distraction because our bodies aren’t suited for spending 8 hours at a desk every day. Others would say we’re looking for ways to procrastinate. It seems we’ve stumbled upon a workplace paradox; technology’s multifaceted functions are making us more efficient and more distracted. 

How do we combat spending too much time checking social media notifications or other distractions? Well, even if your office doesn't come complete with a rock wall or treadmills next to your desk for when distraction strikes, there are still myriad ways you can harness the energy you’d usually expend on workload intrusions into higher productivity in the workplace. The principle to keep in mind: be intentional with your technology.

Some tips:

1. Don’t feel guilty for taking a break. Sometimes, a better workday means admitting when you need to take a break. What you do with that break is what counts. More and more research is being done on the topic of “microbreaks,” especially in regards to smartphone use in the workplace. A recent study has shown that adding a few pins here or there on your Pinterest board might actually increase productivity.  

Some bosses advocate napping on the job, pointing to the boost in brain function that occurs after a few minutes of snooze-time, akin to the energy you feel after getting a full night’s sleep. 

2. Get moving. Even if it’s at your desk. We’ve all heard about the dangers of sitting still all day, but innovators are trying to combat the problems. Do some exercises at your desk. Check out this article for a list of no-equipment exercises you can do right at the office. Buy a cool gadget to stay fit at work. You’ve heard of treadmill desks, but have you seen the new Cubii, an elliptical that actually fits under your desk? Move around, or even invest in wearable tech – gadgets that can help you keep track of steps walked, calories burned, and more!

3. Speaking of wearable tech, use it in the office to work smarter. Using smart watches and other new tech trends allows for greater mobility and increased productivity, even when you’re away from your desk.   

4. While their use in the office has been argued, research points to the upside of social media use at work. If you’re a Facebook or Twitter junkie, go ahead and update them a few times a day! But make sure you’re putting them to good use. Use social media to network and share ideas. Post interesting articles, thoughts, or insights. It will give your brain a break while allowing you to collaborate with others.

5. Use organizational tools or apps. You can find so many apps for both Android and Apple devices to increase productivity, reduce stress, and organize your life. For instance – are you having trouble organizing your e-mail? Try Unroll.Me to help you filter through unwanted subscriptions, arranging the ones you do want into one grouping in your inbox. 

As you can see, the workday can be well spent, even when we’re allowing ourselves to be a little distracted. The trick is to use distractions and technology with the intent of helping us remain productive, even when we’re checking social media or disguising our work with a stylish, tech-savvy wristwatch. 

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