5 Tips on Boosting Productivity While on Your Computer
When you think of modern technology, increased productivity often comes to mind. After all, thanks to smartphones, we can now check email, do some extra work and even get in touch with important contacts while on the go.
Thinking in those circles, it’s difficult to imagine a piece of technology actually becoming an obstacle. However, depending on how you have your laptop or desktop organized, it could very well be causing you more grief than it should.
For instance, if your desktop is a cluttered mess full of unorganized files, images, content and folders, it can actually hinder your productivity. It’s like trying to find a specific shirt or outfit when you have a giant pile of clean clothes in front of you. If you had organized and put them all away, the task would be much easier.
Enhancing your productivity isn’t just about cleaning up your desktop; there’s a lot more to it. That’s why we compiled a list of the best strategies to help you boost productivity. By employing all of the tips and tricks listed here, you should be back on track in no time – or even ahead of schedule.
Organize Your Files and Folders
By keeping your desktop clutter-free – which means stopping to organize it periodically – you’ll cut down on the amount of time you spend doing other tasks. If you’re the type of person who has dozens of shortcuts, icons and folders on your desktop, this is for you.
Often, the biggest contributing factor to this clutter is a buildup of old files. If you don’t need it any more, get rid of it. Not only does this free up valuable disk space and increase computer performance, it also cuts down on the clutter. If you’re worried that you might need a particular file or folder later, copy it to a USB drive or burn it to a DVD or CD. Always label your storage media accordingly so you know what’s on them.
Move groups of related files into a root folder. For instance, if your “My Documents” directory is full of work-related images, then move them all into a single folder and label it appropriately. Keep in mind that it’s OK to use subfolders to organize your files even more.
If you have folders stored on your actual desktop, consider moving them to another directory and then pinning a shortcut icon to the desktop. This allows you to keep your desktop clutter-free, placing only your most used shortcuts and icons right where you need them.
Track Your Time
No matter what you’re doing, you’ll want to keep track of your time. This is especially true if you want to increase your productivity, which is all about keeping tabs on your progress. If you’re wasting too much time on a task, or you don’t have enough time for another, then having your time data right in front of you is extremely handy. You can shave off time invested on one project and in turn spend it on another.
RescueTime is a Chrome extension that allows you to track the time you spend in your browser. Once installed, it will continuously monitor the sites you visit and spit out your productivity percentage. The idea is to help you optimize your work routine.
In terms of Firefox extensions, you can use an add-on like Mind the Time or TimeTracker, both of which help you monitor how much time you spend online, and where you spend it.
Block Distracting Websites
There’s a reason some major companies prevent access to distracting websites – like Facebook and Twitter – on employees’ machines. To do this, they often set up a VPN that blocks access to undesirable websites. If you have trouble maintaining your willpower and staying away, it might be a good idea to adopt a similar strategy on your own.
StayFocusd is a Chrome extension that allows you to set a limit on the number of daily distractions you’re afforded. Sometimes you just need a break from the monotony of your daily work, and that’s what this extension is designed to allow. If you abuse your power and try to visit distracting websites too often, the extension will automatically block them. It’s a simple yet effective way to remain on task.
BlockSite is a good Firefox alternative that automatically blocks the websites you tell it to. To make your life simpler, this add on will also disable all links going to the sites you designate to be blocked, so you never waste the time clicking on them.
Set up Your Calendar
Believe it or not, you can use Google Calendar almost entirely through Gmail. This allows you to utilize it as a personal project-management tool.
First, you’ll need to head to the Google Labs menu in Gmail settings to enable the Calendar Gadget. Once that’s done, you can see upcoming events and projects and even add new ones through the Quick Add function.
If you use this strategy in combination with tracking your time, you’ll eventually become a productivity powerhouse.
If you’d prefer to integrate your Google Calendar with Firefox, you can do that through an add on like Integrated Google Calendar.
If you prefer to stay away from Google products entirely, you can use something like the Lightning calendar, which is Mozilla’s online calendar, compatible with your Seamonkey or Thunderbird email account.
Drown Out the Silence
Listening to a bit of background noise or music can actually increase productivity.
For a Chrome extension you can use GetWorkDoneMusic to keep you focused. If you’d rather listen to a curated playlist, check out Songza – a music streaming platform that allows you to choose a predefined playlist based on your activity.
About the Contributor
Kayla Matthews is a tech productivity blogger who loves apps and finding new ways to be more efficient. To read more posts by Kayla, you can follow her on Twitter or at ProductivityBytes.com.