Embrace technology to free up your time

 

Working parents have a lot to deal with. While the rest of the office may go home, have dinner and binge on Netflix, parents will likely try to get home early, sort out their kids and then catch up on the work they missed in the rush to leave the office.

The result is a working lifestyle where you must catch up on work in the small moments you can grab – whether this is on the commute to work, whilst cooking dinner or against the glow of a laptop screen, late at night.

Technology can help, though. I believe that the right gear and apps can reduce the number of stolen moments you need to complete your work. In other ways, tech can help improve your state of mind, getting you in a productive and thoughtful mood.

For example, if you get the train, or any other form of public transport, then you could have gone through your emails, written that morning report and reviewed the boss’s presentation by the time you get into the office.

Working on the go will mean a phone and laptop or tablet is required. Just make sure you have 4G, so you have broadband speeds and can tether to your devices. Also, invest in a Bluetooth keyboard for tablets; they’re much more productive. Of course, batteries drain fast, so invest in a good quality portable charger and spare cables that will charge multiple devices more than once.

Even if you walk or drive, you can be learning. This is something I see as work as it is ‘training’. Podcasts, audiobooks and even mediation apps can help expand your mind, as well as learn new things, ensuring you’re in the right mindset by the time you land at your desk.

Fighting back against the email deluge

But what about those stolen moments at home? Technology, again, can help you make sure these moments do not drag on. Emails are the worst culprit, so let me explain how to win time back a little further.

Bear in mind that if you send email out of work hours you might just get a response. This can easily turn into more work and sets the expectation that you’re available all hours of the day. Nip this in the bud right away if you want to focus on your kids in the evenings.

You can still send emails; just make sure to schedule them. If you use Outlook, click ‘options’, then select ‘delay delivery’ and choose a suitable time and date. For those of you using Gmail, install Boomerang and hit ‘send later’ instead of send. I find scheduling emails for 9am the next working day works well.

Getting a bit of work done can easily turn into doing the work you should really be doing in work hours. Your boss will love you for this, but your children, not so much. Try apps like Write or Die, which deletes your work if you don’t do it fast enough, or OmmWriter, which gets you focused on the work, allowing more to be done faster.

And that’s the key. Technology should be something to support you, to help you work faster, better, but not more. Use it wisely enough, and your tech will help you get back to your life, and your children.

*David Clare is director of online & content at Fox Agency,  a B2B marketing consultancy. David is a dad and shares his work time from home and the company office. David is on Twitter @davidjmclare.





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