Using Your Devices Productively

By: Jennifer Cole

These days, it seems our mobile devices are in hand everywhere we go. From class and the gym to meetings and group dinners, we simply can’t be separated. Whether we’re using a smartphone, tablet or laptop to check Instagram, scroll through Twitter or send a Snapchat, it doesn’t take much to become completely distracted by our devices. However, there are ways to stay in the know while being productive. Here’s how:

  1.    Smartphone Reminders:

Whether you have an iPhone, Android or other type of smartphone, the reminder function is great for staying focused and on top of your game. Simply add a “task” or “reminder” for the important parts of your day while customizing alarm sounds and ringer frequencies. You can even check things off and mark completed as you finish them. This free and already-installed feature will serve as your smartphone sidekick throughout the day.

  1.    Evernote App:

For those looking for a more customized and high-tech organizational system, Evernote may be for you. This free app allows you to work cross-platform—housing all of your notes, clippings and articles on your phone, tablet and computer. Capable of everything from storing scribbles to presenting a business proposal, the app lets you keep your work in one place where it can be easily found. Say goodbye to file cabinets, Rolodexes and all the other clutter that previously prevented you from being productive throughout the day.

  1.    Virtual Sticky Notes:

Another simple option for staying organized (while saving the environment) is the sticky note feature on your desktop or laptop. These virtual notepads allow you to jot down tasks, chores or ideas in a variety of sizes, colors and fonts. Plus, you won’t risk misplacing any of your highly important notes that get lost amongst the clutter on your desk.

  1.    Filter Your Email:

For most of us, our email account can be our best friend and our worst enemy. It’s great for communicating quickly and efficiently but the worst for getting distracted with tons of junk we don’t need (i.e. “Five Ways To Cook Cauliflower” and “ONLY Three Days Left To Save!”). A simple way to de-clutter and stay focused is to create various folders to filter your emails into. For instance, “Work,” “School,” “Coupons,” and “Fun reads” can be a way to organize your mail so that you can get to the important stuff first and enjoy everything else later. Using other email settings like the “star” or “flag” feature can also help prioritize what needs to be answered or addressed ASAP so that you don’t fall behind on anything pressing.

  1.    Unplug for 10 minutes in the AM + PM

Lastly, the key to not letting your devices control you is by being self-aware of your usage behaviors. Before getting up for the day and turning in at night, it may be a good idea to decompress… device-free that is. Whether it’s some mindful meditation or a walk around the house, it’s important that you allow yourself some YOU time each day. That way, you won’t feel the need to procrastinate on Facebook or get lost in an online shoe sale.


What tips and tricks do you use to stay on track in a world filled with digital distractions?

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