Intelligent technology is obviously changing how the world does things, everyone is empowered to do more, and less.

By harnessing intelligent technology to tackle some of life’s most mundane tasks, productivity means spending more time doing what you love and less time doing what you have to do.

Here are five ways you can be more productive this year.

Stay organised and prioritise

Begin by organising your workspace and clearing your desk and inbox as fast as possible. Artificial intelligence can help by automatically filtering spam with a tool like Clutter in Microsoft Outlook. You can learn which emails are most important with Outlook’s Focused Inbox.

It’s also a good idea to use calendars to plan your time to ensure you don’t miss important meetings, and keep a to-do list and prioritise important activities each day. Digital personal assistants like Cortana can remind you about important tasks and deadlines.

Think carefully before scheduling that meeting

A study by Atlassian showed that employees attend an average of 62 meetings per month, and half of these are considered a waste of time – resulting in 31 unproductive hours spent in meetings every month.

If you do have to meet, consider cutting the meeting time in half, create an actionable agenda, and use tools such as Skype for Business for group chats and video calls to minimise travel time. You can even use Skype in-app integration to share your screen during the meeting.

Manage your time

The Pomodoro Technique, Eisenhower Method and GTD (Getting Things Done) method are all effective time management tools, depending on your personality.

The Pomodoro Technique uses a timer to break down your work into 25-minute intervals, with a five-minute break between each interval and a 30-minute break every four intervals.

The Eisenhower Method helps you evaluate your tasks based on their importance and urgency. Important and urgent tasks must be done immediately; important, non-urgent tasks are given a deadline; unimportant, urgent tasks can be delegated; and unimportant, non-urgent tasks should be dropped.

GTD uses five simple steps that apply order to chaos and provide you the space and structure to be more creative, strategic and focused. Begin by creating a to-do list; clarify what action is required for each item on the list; organise your list in order of priority and type of action; review your list frequently and take appropriate action.

Collaborate and be productive from anywhere

Eighty-four percent of organisations now have a remote workforce, thanks to mobile technology. Interestingly, a study by Stanford University shows that remote workers are 14% more productive than their office-bound colleagues.

Cloud tools also enable you to continue collaborating wherever you are. Office 365, for example, offers a co-authoring feature across Word, PowerPoint and OneNote.

This allows you to see what your colleagues are typing and collaborate in one document in real time, despite being in different locations.

The ubiquity of technology and the cloud also means you can use otherwise “unproductive” time, like when you are standing in a queue, to catch up wherever you are. Simply log on to your connected device, and with a tool like OneDrive, access all your work synced and stored in the cloud.

Use technology to your advantage

We are all looking for ways to boost our productivity levels at work. There are several tools, apps and add-ins that can help you be more productive.

If you are a fan of Microsoft’s digital note-taking app, OneNote, try the add-in Onetastic for OneNote. This clever feature allows you to perform repeated tasks automatically, set up calendar views for OneNote pages and set up menus and tables of contents.

During the work day, emails often seem to bog us down. Kutools for Microsoft Outlook offers a number of features that streamline email-handling in Outlook, saving time. The add-in simplifies all the mundane tasks you perform every day, such as creating automatic “out of office” replies and CC and BCC customisations.

It also sorts through junk mail with better filters. Another nifty tool is E-mail follow up which will make sure that you never forget to reply important mails.



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