The Best of the Tech Helpline: Technology Productivity Tips

 July 08, 2019
Best of the Tech Helpline

Technology is supposed to save us time and make us more efficient. And most often, it does. But sometimes, you need to give tech a rest and do things the old-fashioned way because that way can actually be faster.

Here are tips on when technology can make you more productive and when it can be a time-waster.

Using tech to increase productivity

Put it on the cloud: Storing all of your files securely and remotely can increase your productivity. Cloud storage gives you access to everything you need from your smartphone — or any other computer – and that can save you time when your laptop is in one place and you are in another. Cloud storage may help you to be better organized when you create your folders and properly sort your documents. Plus, if your computer ever crashes, you’ll still have access to all of your files.

Use a transaction management program: Be sure you’ve hopped aboard the paperless train! Once you start using a transaction management program, you will wonder why you waited so long. This is the one technology that has the potential to yield the greatest benefits in terms of increased productivity. It will keep you, and everyone else involved, stay on task, stay on track and be accountable. And for brokers, it helps simplify compliance requirements.

Marketing streamlined: There’s an abundance of marketing technology that will save you time and can significantly increase productivity. Many major brokerage franchises offer in-house tech tools that automate listing marketing and can create fliers, single-page property websites, and even create and post virtual property tours to your YouTube channel. And all an agent has to do is enter the listing data once. Everything is done in the background by companies like Imprev and Amarki.

Expert help is only a click away: With the WRA Tech Helpline, you’re just a click or call away from getting the expert help you need to get your business up and running smoothly. More information is available at

When not to use technology

Call, don’t write: When you start to write a long email, consider picking up the phone instead, as it likely will be a time-saver. Or when you are in the midst of a rapid email exchange that goes beyond a few emails, stop and and pick up the phone and talk it out. Email may seem efficient, but it can easily become a time-waster, especially when an email is misinterpreted. You can often save a lot of time — and potential anguish — by simply communicating on the phone.

Put down your smartphone: Put your smartphone on silent and turn it over, face down. A 2016 study showed that the average person touches his or her phone a whopping 2,617 times per day! And over two hours a day is consumed largely by time spent on Google or Facebook. Clearly, we are tempted to become less productive when we pick up our phone. When you need to get work done, step away from your smartphone.

Don’t squirrel when online: When you use social media for your business, it’s easy to find yourself not posting but perusing. That’s the downside of the internet: it can cause you to waste time instead of save time. The key is to stay focused on your original task and ignore distractions so your productivity will not suffer.

Protect your “prime time”: Most people know when their peak productivity time is and when they are the most creative and energized. Whether you are a morning person, a midday sprinter or a late-night owl, you need to protect that window of the day when you can get the most accomplished. Your prime time should be just that: a period when the only technology you touch is the stuff that helps you get your work done.

Turn it all off: Being connected 24/7 comes with a downside: your clients may think you should always be available whenever they want or need you. That might be good for them, but not for you, as there are times where you need to stay focused and not be interrupted. With email, chat programs and texts, you can barely escape being distracted when someone reaches out to you. To get your work done and done well, sometimes you need to just disconnect. If you manage your clients’ expectations of when that’s going to happen, they can typically wait an hour or two.

Give yourself a break

Finally, being productive doesn’t mean you need to work nonstop. Just the opposite, researchers say, is true. In fact, wasting some time can actually make you more productive. Taking breaks can enhance your performance. A study at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign found that even brief diversions from a task can dramatically improve one’s ability to focus on that task for prolonged periods.

Other research shows that mental rest improves memory formation, that taking “movement breaks” are vital to good health, help spur creativity and can prevent “decision fatigue.” Wasting a little time by giving yourself a break can be a good thing.

This contributing article is from the Tech Helpline, a service of the WRA.

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