How to use technology to get ahead in your role
Technology can be extremely polarising – on one hand, it has contributed to a disconnect in society and has taken the ‘humanity’ out of many tasks and services. However, technology is also responsible for breakthroughs across all industries, it has created greater access to information and resources, and it is also wonderful for connecting people who live and work in different locations.
Regardless of how you feel about technology, we can all agree that it is evolving and growing at an incredible rate. With new apps, platforms and programs regularly being released, it is difficult to know where to start when it comes to incorporating technology into your role and your workplace.
The good news is that no matter your role or your industry, there are a number of ways that technology can support you to boost your productivity, connect with your team and set yourself up for success:
Automate your admin
Technology can help you cut down the time you spend on administrative and repetitive tasks, giving you more time to spend on strategy and creativity. For example, did you know that you can make keyboard shortcuts for your more repetitive tasks like opening folders. You can also automate the process of taking meeting notes with programs such as Otter.ai.
It is easy to get overwhelmed by back-to-back meetings, never-ending to do lists and constant inbox alerts. However, this is where technology shines and these days there are countless programs to help you navigate your busy workload.
Start by creating some order by organising your files, notes and ideas using programs such as Organizely, Pocket and Evernote. You can also use technology to streamline your to do lists and prioritise your workload – some of our favourite options include TeuxDeux, Todoist and Any.do.
You can then tackle your inbox with software that helps to categorise and schedule your emails with the aim of helping you get to the elusive ‘Inbox Zero’ – Boomerang and Sanebox are both great options. There are also some fantastic solutions like x.ai and Calendly that are useful if you spend a lot of your day managing busy calendars and scheduling meetings. Plus, apps such as TripIt and Expensify take the stress out of managing travel itineraries and expenses.
Get more out of your day
If you ever finish a day of work and feel that you haven’t achieved everything you set out to, you may find productivity tools helpful. Not only can these tools keep you accountable for the time you spend completing tasks, they can give you a greater sense of work/life balance by creating clear deadlines. Programs such as Toggl and Rescue Time can help you to plan your day and manage your time effectively, while extensions such as Freedom and StayFocusd make sure you stay on track and avoid procrastination.
Connect and communicate effectively
With the increase of remote and flexible working arrangements, it has never been more important to embrace technology as a way to stay in contact with your team and keep communication flowing. While you’re probably quite familiar with video conferencing software such as Zoom and GoToMeeting, there are lots of other ways you can connect and collaborate with your team without getting meeting-it is.
Online messaging programs like Google Chat, Fleep, Spike and Donut allow you to chat with your team in real-time and ask those quick questions that don’t require an email or full meeting. You can also put the spreadsheets and flipcharts aside, as there is an abundance of online programs that can help you manage projects and stay across your team’s workload – some of the most popular options include Slack, Wrike, Trello and Asana.
You can also use technology to create a positive team culture – programs like Assembly, Bonusly and Kudos help to create lots of engagement and give you a platform to recognise your team members for their efforts. Another great tool is Grammarly, which reviews the spelling and grammar of your emails and documents in real-time, helping you to avoid miscommunications and get your point across.
Stay mentally and physically fit
It goes without saying that it is difficult to be effective in your role if you aren’t on top of your health. Meditation apps such as Headspace and Smiling Mind bring a sense of calm to an otherwise busy day, while wearable technology like Fitbits help you keep on top of your physical health by tracking your steps, heart rate and sleep. There are also a range of corporate wellness apps such as Sprout that help you to support your team’s health and wellbeing.
Learn new skills and future-proof your career
Technology is becoming more and more integrated to every part of our lives, from online shopping to telehealth appointments with your GP – it’s here to stay. So rather than getting overwhelmed, get curious. Jump online and look for solutions to give you an edge in your role, from apps to webinars and online conferences – there are countless ways that technology can help you to become more productive, learn new skills and become even more valuable to your organisation.
While technology can save us countless hours, it can also detract from our personal and professional lives if not managed well. You can learn more about how to strike the balance with technology, boost your productivity and work smarter at this year’s Corporate PA Summits.