Between phones, computers, virtual assistants, and all the other trappings of the modern office, we often feel overwhelmed by all of our technology. When work gets really busy, it can be hard to maintain your level of productivity while struggling through your emails, text messages, phone calls, and IMs.
And while all digital technology comes equipped with alarm clock or calendar functions to help keep you on task, sometimes all of those alerts just recede into the background when you are already inundated with other projects. The cacophony of chirps, beeps, and pop-up reminder dings can often blend into a kind of white noise that becomes really easy to tune out.
Are you having difficulty managing your time? Why not try an analog solution? Call me a luddite, but sometimes I find that “old school” solutions to managing my time are more helpful (and harder to ignore) than setting up another calendar alert or alarm on my phone.
Here are four low-tech solutions for boosting your productivity.
1. An Egg Timer
This is a great way to manage the time you spend on creative projects/brainstorming. By setting a fixed time limit for your more open-ended projects, you’ll ensure that you stay focused and don’t start wool-gathering.
Plus, it’s really hard to ignore a physical timer on your desk that you actually have to twist to turn off. It’s a great time management tool that helps you cut through the digital static of your life.
2. Post-it Notes
Okay, so you probably don’t want to take things quite that far, but a couple of Post-its can really help keep you focused on important tasks.
The problem with a lot of digital reminders is that you have to have your cell with you all the time, or be tied to your computer. But sometimes you are in and out of the office all day, and you need extra help staying focused on your task list. Big deadline coming up? Need to start drumming up ideas for a client’s next project? Just need to remind yourself about an upcoming meeting? Use Post-it notes!
You can stick them on your phone handset to remind you to call back a client with a project update, and stick them on the steering wheel of your car to remind you to stop and pick up dinner on the way home. Sometimes having the reminder staring you right in the face (instead of hidden away in a calendar) can help you stay on task.
Plus, a Post-it is never going to get a virus and crash. Just sayin’.
3. Hand Writing
It’s totally grade school, but writing a reminder note on your hand ensures that task will be at the forefront of your mind all day. You’re also less likely to procrastinate because you’ll want to get that ink of your hand ASAP.
Just make sure to wash your hands thoroughly before heading into a meeting with a client so you don’t look like a fool.
4. Healthy Snacks
I know, I know, it seems like every post I write tells you to go eat something. But listen: you simply can’t be at your best if your blood sugar is low and you’re a grouchy mess.
The fastest (and most delicious) way to instantly increase your productivity is to have a quick nibble. Just make sure it’s something with some redeeming nutritional value, and not just empty, sugary calories.
The Bottom Line
Sometimes, our brains need to work with something tactile to keep our focus and boost our productivity. Whether it’s the twisting motion of setting an egg timer or the sensation of a ballpoint skin scratching against your skin, we sometimes need a low-tech solution in addition to our high-tech tactics.
What about you? What low-tech methods do you use to manage your time and boost your productivity? Would you rather use an egg timer or the alarm function on your cell phone?