How to Use Technology to Increase Your Productivity

“Technology” and “productivity” are two words that often don’t have a positive association. Lately, the word technology alone is usually enough to conjure the negative images of a distracted teenager scrolling through social media on their phones or a frustratingly outdated computer that never works quite right. And while it is true that technology—when not used strategically—does sometimes have the potential to cause distractions, create confusion, or decelerate an otherwise industrious day, it is also an invaluable and incredibly beneficial component of any modern business.

Research even shows technology’s positive impact on office-based employees when it comes to flexibility and communication. Luckily, it is possible to ensure your business is using technology to increase productivity, and that starts with making the right technology choices. Not all technology is created equal, and not every business has the same technology needs, but below you will find five options for increasing productivity through technology:

1. Make a Plan, Keep it Simple

If you ever had to complete a group project in high school, you remember how nothing hindered your progress quite like the planning phase. It was nearly impossible to divvy up the workload. Sharing information and resources was difficult since contacting your fellow group members was nearly impossible. There was always the one group member who seemed to disappear.

While professional projects in the business world seldom share many similarities with those dreaded assignments from the past, they are often at the same risk of being derailed unnecessarily. Fortunately, technology can significantly help alleviate some of these issues.

Greater connectivity and communication, the ability to share information about budgets and timelines, and regular progress updates are some of the many ways project management technology provides an easy, efficient way to monitor progress and make sure projects are going as planned. Allowing employees to keep up with tasks, deadlines and goals can also help keep everyone focused and on-task.

When information about the project—the people involved, the information needed, planned tasks—can all be easily accessed in one place, everyone can focus a little less on the logistics and more on the project itself.

2. Don’t Be Behind the Times

Keeping up with schedules and hours worked is just part of the job, and there are seemingly endless ways to do it. From physical time clocks or sheets to giant whiteboard calendars with everyone’s weekly schedule, most organizations have just about tried it all when it comes to time management.

While it is a necessary task that has to be done, there really is a better way to do it, and technology can help. Using software that allows for scheduling and workload planning alleviates the headache of accidentally overbooking anyone and streamlines the process of assigning responsibilities and logging hours.

Having a synced team calendar and a way for employees to see what everyone else is working on—and what they should be trying to tackle—enables better collaboration, saves time and increases productivity.

Read on: Authentic Productivity, Interview #1: Chelsea Scholz

3. Money, money, money!

Running an organization requires a lot of number crunching. Even recently, it has been tempting for managers to do this work the old-fashioned way. Keeping hard copies of all things financial makes sense, of course. Often, it is even required; however, it can also be beneficial to allow technology to come to your aid in financial management.

Keeping up with invoices, handling multiple budgets, and managing price lists can be challenging, and handling all these various responsibilities through different platforms only adds to the confusion and increases the likelihood of making a costly error.

Instead, consolidating all these tasks in one place can help ensure accuracy and save time. Incorporating a financial management software into your daily routine means more precise budget tracking, efficiency in issuing and scheduling invoices, and more customizable options for managing your company’s money.

4. Customer is King

Regardless of the line of work you are in, chances are good you have clients who are at the center of everything you do. Ever since your first job in fast food or retail in high school, you’ve learned that keeping your customers happy is the bottom line of any good business. Fortunately, this is easier than ever with technology.

Customer relationship management might seem unnecessary to some. After all, you’ve been maintaining good relationships without it for years. But why not let it help you do an even better job?

CRM software can help you keep track of your company’s client, their information, and your communication with them. It’s like an old Rolodex, but better. It can also help you track sales and keep up with your progress with each client to see which steps still need to be taken to wrap up a deal. And when you integrate with a full-featured marketing automation tool, you can send the right kinds of communications to the right people, every time.

Having all this information in one place helps to avoid anyone getting lost in the fray and allows you to more efficiently connect with customers, ensuring that they know they are a priority.

Read on: 20+ Best CRM Software & Tools. Reviewed.

5. Everything in One Place, On the Go

Since increasing your productivity through technology is all about ease of use, all-in-one access, and efficiency, a mobile app can be an asset.

Having immediate access to all the information you need during a meeting or conference call can help save time and keep you prepared. A mobile app also allows employees to access and update their own information from anywhere, anytime, so everyone is always up to date. With most apps, notifications can also be enabled so everyone can keep up with any changes happening with projects or deadlines.

Business technology is constantly changing, so it is important to find the right fit for your organization, but there is almost certainly something out there that can help you increase productivity.