It’ll be 2020 before we know it and if you don’t feel you’re as productive as you could be, this is the year to change that. Our list of mobile tricks will help transform your Smartphone into a productivity stronghold. From the right app selection and new ways to use your camera to different ways of managing notifications, our tips will help you be maximally productive at work and at home in the year to come.
1. Use Apps that Increase Productivity
Do popular apps like Facebook and Instagram dominate your home screen? Replace them with apps that boost productivity, such as Circa and Todoist, or apps that improve health (Pact) or language skills (Duolingo). You’ll be encouraged to use these apps more often when they’re the first thing you see after you turn your phone on. You can also get a lot done with Google Assistant. This tool will help you send text messages and make calendar appointments faster as well as set reminders by voice on your phone. Mailbird has recently launched their calendar feature that could ease your tasks, boost productivity and integrate all your existing calendars into one interface to keep up with your schedule. You can do this if you have a Google Home speaker. The speaker will play the reminders at a time you set. You’ll never miss an important meeting because reminders also run from the speaker to your phone.
2. Sync your Documents with Cloud Storage
If you have a file manager, keep your docs in sync with cloud storage. This works exactly the same way as on a computer. Autosync, which are third-party apps for Google Drive, Box, Dropbox, and Microsoft OneDrive, are a nifty productivity booster, providing automatic two-direction sync for any document stored internally on your phone. Of course, having high internet speed would help. However, these files can be opened offline via a compatible app.
3. Get More Done with your Camera
You’d be amazed at how much more productive you can be by changing how you use your camera. People mainly use their cameras to take selfies, failing to utilize their full potential. You can take photos of your frequent flier card to access your flier number quickly or of your parked car and the intersection nearest it if you always forget where you parked. Take a picture of your fridge before going shopping so you remember what you need to get. Snap a pic of prescription medicine bottles or your hotel’s address if service is lost. The possibilities are endless.
Is having to lug documents around a problem for you? Google Drive’s integrated scanner will let you go paperless (available for Android only). Press + on your phone, then choose “Scan” and take a picture of the document you need digitized. It will be cropped automatically. You can take pictures of as many pages as you want, then convert them to a single PDF file. Of course, Google Drive isn’t the only app that can do this, but if you’re going to upload the file, Drive will do away with a stage in the process.
4. Stay Connected with USB Accessories
USB cables like OTG are affordable and let you connect keyboards, external hard drives, and mouses directly to your phone. You can use a USB to HDMI cable to give presentations on a monitor or TV.
5. Save Time by Categorizing Apps
We often hear that notifications are the number one killer of productivity, and it’s true. It is estimated that people need 20 minutes on average to get back to what they were doing after being distracted by a notification. Yet, we are reluctant to do away with them entirely because we want people or institutions like banks to be able to contact us if they need to do so urgently.
One way around this is setting your phone to Do Not Disturb for a certain period of time, during which you have something important to focus on. Another option is categorizing all the apps on your phone as main tools, hobby apps, and other apps. Main tool apps are those that help you add appointments, find locations, or get a ride. They fulfill tasks you rely on often. Normally, there are around four or five of these. Hobby apps are related to things you enjoy doing: reading books, watching movies, or meditating. Your home screen should include only main tool apps and hobby apps. The third category, “other apps”, are notorious time-wasters like Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. These should go on a different page of your screen.
The main reason we waste so much time on and with our mobiles is that they are designed to accommodate multitasking. Banners, notifications, inboxes, games, and social media cooperate to create an environment conducive to task switching and frequent interruption. Research has proven single-tasking is the way to go if you want to be more productive. If that’s not an option for you, our tips are the next best thing to make 2020 your most productive year yet.
Emily Jacobs is Happiness Ambassador for SpeedCheck.org
She loves to write latest technology trends and loves to share her knowledge through her articles.