How to make tech work in your favor
Technology impacts both the business landscape and our personal lives more than it ever has, and its impact shows no sign of slowing down. Whether you are working remotely temporarily, freelancing, running a business, trying to better manage life in general or all of the above, it is more crucial than ever to take full advantage of technology and digital tools, and to make it all work in your favor.
Check out some of our best digital life hacks below!
1. Embrace New Solutions
First things first. Change is scary regardless of your industry, who your business serves, or even where you operate. There are some universal changes that technology has brought, for instance that the methods of collaboration have shifted to digital formats and “coming to work” is no longer a prerequisite to working.
With the rapid development of new apps, devices and digital systems there’s always something new to learn to help ease your daily life. This may sound basic, but it is extremely important: embrace and consider new technology, new ideas and new ways of working – lean in instead of resisting, and you will find a world of opportunities.
2. Cut Out the Boring Routines
Do you own a digital assistant? If not, it may be a good idea to try one in order to cut out your boring routines with some automation. Rather than tasking your digital assistant as you need it, try setting up an automated sequence of events that trigger with a single word or phrase.
When used correctly, you’ll be amazed at how much time you actually save being able to effectively multi-task around your home or office.
3. Block Robocalls on Your Phone
Robocalls have become a major headache for mobile phone owners (hint: everyone). Depending on the day, if you’re unlucky, you can receive dozens of these scam calls a day. Here are our simple solutions that you can use to ward off these prolific callers.
- Don’t waste your time, reject anonymous calls automatically
- Many of these phony calls come up as “anonymous” or “potential spam” on your caller ID, while most legitimate phone calls come up as identifiable phone numbers.
- Join the National Do Not Call Registry list
- Old school, but somewhat effective. All you have to do is go to the website donotcall.gov.
- Use carrier tools to block unwanted calls
- The major carriers have sophisticated tools to identify, filter and prevent suspected spam callers from being able to reach your phone. However, most will require an extra monthly fee to activate the caller ID service.
- Use apps to block robocalls
- Download one of the many call-blocking apps. These apps can identify who is calling you and block unwanted calls that show up on crowdsourced spam lists.
- Some phones block robocalls automatically
- If you’re lucky enough to use Samsung’s flagship Galaxy and Note smartphones, you have access to a native feature called Smart Call that automatically screens and flags suspicious numbers.
- Set your phone on do not disturb
- To block every number except your most trusted contacts or favorites, you can turn on your phone’s built-in Do Not Disturb mode. Just keep in mind that you will miss some legitimate calls, but callers still have the option to leave a voice message.
4. Utilize Your Collaboration App’s Do Not Disturb Mode
With remote work comes the frequent use of collaboration apps, which in turn can blow up your device with productivity-disturbing notifications from other team members' activity in the app. To keep yourself on task longer, check if your collaboration app of choice has a Do Not Disturb mode (Slack, for instance, has that).
How does it work? All of your notifications and mentions will be paused for a set amount of time. Once you resume notifications, you are able to review everything you received while in do not disturb mode. Use it as needed to help you concentrate, or consider having a set schedule where you always turn on Do Not Disturb during certain times every day.
Looking for the best collaboration/productivity apps? Find the best alternatives via the Desktop.com app store. Whether you’re looking to send short-notes or integrate an enterprise-level email solution, with over 50 communications apps integrated you’ll be sure to find one that fits your preferences. Simply create an account to access the app store – easy breezy.
5. Know (and use) the Secret to Unfreeze Your Laptop
"Have you tried turning it off and on again?" ... It's annoying when your laptop freezes up on you in the middle of an important task. If this happens:
- For Mac: press the command, option and escape keys at the same time.
- For PC: press Ctrl, Alt and delete keys at the same time.
This will help you force quit the program that caused the laptop to freeze.
6. Unsend an Email with Gmail
Did you just send out an email to the wrong team member? Well, you’re in luck. Gmail has the ability to unsend an email with the adjustment of one setting prior to writing your next email.
This recall of a message will also allow you to modify spelling errors, fix incorrect recipients, write a new subject line, or even append forgotten attachments.
But remember to update the setting before writing your next email. In order to successfully unsend an email you must adjust the setting to a higher number than the default setting of five seconds. Let’s face it; five seconds isn’t even enough to realize you made an error, let alone hit the unsend button.
7. Mute Certain Notifications
Do you really want to give apps and websites permission to interrupt you whenever they feel like it? No. Respect your own time and reclaim your ability to focus.
On average, the daily cell phone user receives 46 push notifications every day - that’s almost two per hour. It’s not the end all be all, you can still let people reach you in an emergency without having your social media apps pinging every two minutes or seeing every spam email enter your inbox.
Monitor the notification settings inside the apps you frequently use as well. In Gmail, for instance, you can have alerts only for emails sent to your primary folder; in Facebook Messenger, you can mute conversation threads for a certain number of hours until you’re ready to read them; and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
8. Use Voice Dictation to Speed Up Slow Tasks
You may not realize all the ways you can use your voice to get through tasks that need to be completed in a shorter amount of time. Both Windows and macOS (desktop and mobile) have built-in dictation tools:
- Search for “windows speech recognition” in the Windows Start menu
- Head to the Dictation tab under Keyboard in macOS System Preferences
Where dictation tools save you time? Google Docs. Rather than constantly having to type, you can enable dictation to speak your words directly into the document. Try it out for yourself and see if you can speak out your documents faster than you can type them!
9. Don’t Underestimate the Cloud
It might be a buzzword, but cloud technology enables us to make use of tools that would ordinarily be out of reach. Yes, its storage capabilities can help make data more accessible to friends, family or team members who need it, but it can also assist you in safeguarding your data in case of a disaster, give you access to computing resources that you couldn’t procure yourself, and provide you flexible access to your personal and business applications.
If you don't feel like looking starting from scratch with looking up your cloud storage options, you can find over 30 cloud storage apps to choose from in the Desktop.com App Store, which is integrated with trusted names like WeTransfer, PandaDoc, Google Drive, Apple iCloud, Dropbox, and more. Utilizing the cloud has never been easier - check it out.
10. Keep Your Digital Organization Tool Close
You need to organize your digital life in order for it to add value (rather than stress and digital clutter) to your life. Use a service such as Desktop.com to sort, manage and store all of your web apps, links and bookmarks. By doing so, you can organize apps and tools into sharable desktops within the app, while all of it is contained within one single icon on your device. That way, you can keep your phone or laptop clutter free, while also ensuring that you can access what you need at all times regardless of device. The ability to separate business and personal tools and apps is another hack to enhance your mental well-being when working remotely.
Along the same lines as #1 on this list, being open to finding and trying new apps will surely allow you to find solutions to many of your everyday struggles. When you find a great tool in the Desktop.com app store (which has more than 1500 integrated apps), simply save it with a single click to your Desktop.com account and tuck it into your desired desktop.
Voilà – you’re now a web pro.