Technology can help you manage your time better

BEING a slave to technology,” is one of our generation’s favourite cliches. The flood of information from email and smartphones distracts and overwhelms us when we are trying to focus on something else. Making us less rather than more efficient. But can you actually imagine functioning in your job without this technology? Many can’t. Technology is here to stay. So here’s a radical thought: embrace it. Hug the problem to death with more technology. Here are some suggestions.

1.Tame the email tiger. New technology has arrived to save us from wasting hours managing our inbox. AwayFind is a free app that fends off non-urgent email that distracts us from the task we have in hand. It works like this: when someone sends you an email, it automatically sends the sender a customised email back explaining that you have received their email and that you will respond in due course. If, however, their email is urgent, they are offered a link to a quick form that will get the message to you instantly. Users insist that this works well and respondents almost always respect the guidelines you set out.

2. Access all desktops. Nothing wastes more time than diligently working at home, only to forget to email to your office the files you were working on. It forces you to waste time re-doing the work, returning home or postponing the task until the next day. Those dreadful days can be brought to an end, if you install a virtual client such as LogMeIn. It allows you to connect across the internet to your home computer, so you can email the file to yourself remotely.

3. Deal with the plague of voicemail. Voicemail drives many of us wild. The process of having to phone up to retrieve it, waiting for the message to finish and then repeating it until you’ve caught and checked the number takes a long time. SpinVox is the solution to this time-wasting form of communication. It turns voicemails of up to three minutes into text and sends them to you.

4. Never be left on hold. There is not much worse than being left on hold when you are busy. Thankfully, the kind people at Bandwidth.com have developed a free app for the iPhone and iPod touch that waits on hold for you, so that you can do other things while you wait. Appropriately named Holdr, the app allows you to press * then 7, and hang up. It will call you back when the line becomes available.

5. Photographic memory. Optical character recognition from Evernote allows you to take photos of text with your phone and store it as a text-based note. Can you think of a speedier way of recording contacts or taking notes?