5 Ways Technology Can Increase Productivity

By | January 16, 2016

by: Luis Llerena, stocksnap.io
Productivity Рevery American knows what it is and values it. And with the job market becoming increasingly globalized, it is essential to maximize the time you spend working. Not everyone is a natural genius that quickly solves every problem and never forgets a thing, so many people find themselves working extra hours to stay competitive or gain an advantage over competitors who have an established reputation. I would like to show you how some simple adjustments to the way you use technology can save you time, money and your sanity.

1) Application Enforced Browsing Rules

If you’re not particularly good at keeping yourself from visiting addicting social media websites (Twitter, Facebook, Reddit) then maybe installing an application to block those websites during the work hours of the day is in order. For instance, “FocalFilter” allows you to enter a domain and the times of day you want that website blocked. Social media websites are notoriously addicting, and logging onto those websites is oftentimes an automatic, habitual behavior. With this kind of software installed (there are several) you can “catch yourself” before you waste 15, 30 or even 45 minutes browsing the endless stream of attention grabbing content.

2) Googling things (the right way)

If you already use Google as a part of your problem solving arsenal, good on you. However, if all you do is simply type in your thoughts word for word (“How can I make more money?”) then you’ll fall prey to clickbait sell-you-something websites that are specifically engineered to appear #1 on your search results. Mix it up. Ask your question less directly. Filter your results based on domain, date, keywords and excluded keywords. Here is a link to a post that explores the subject more in-depth.

3) Browser extensions, bookmarking and history

Similar to how 1) and 2) only work if you incorporate those techniques into your daily routine, these things must be done regularly to cultivate any benefit. This post covers extensions that flat out save time. Memory of the past can be adaptive and make us overall more effective individuals, but nobody remembers everything. This fact is the impetus behind the creation of features like browsing history and bookmarks. Do you ever think “Oh, I remember reading something about that, but I can’t quite recall the name…” Go to your history (Ctrl + H) and type in some keywords into the search bar (it should already be selected). Sometimes we delete our history, though. If you’re like I was, and didn’t keep bookmarks, this means there is no hope of finding what we vaguely remember. So get in the habit of bookmarking websites that are useful and that you want to visit again in the future – try it now: Ctrl+D.

clear workspace

4) Bash scripting, batch scripting & automation

This one requires a little more knowledge, but is manageable. The GNU bash terminal is like Window’s cmd.exe (command terminal) but arguably more versatile, so I’ll use that for my example: I write about hardware occasionally, and there was a product that had very high demand. So much demand that it went out of stock 20-30 minutes after being refilled. So, after some inspiration from /r/raspberry_pi posters, I wrote a script that would check the stock of the item every 5 minutes and alert me when the stock refilled. Here’s the code, you can copy&paste on Linux:

#!/bin/bash

while [ 1 ];
do
    count='curl -s "$1" | grep -c "$2"'

    if [ "$count" = "0" ]
    then
        echo "$1 has replenished stock!"
        echo mailx -s "Email alert: item back in stock!" youremail@mailprovider.com
        spd-say done
        exit 0
    fi
    sleep 300
done

– Create a new document, give it a name, save it as “something.sh” and paste the code into the empty document
– The indentations should be 1 tab per level of indentation
– From the terminal, while you are in the same directory as the file, enter: “sudo chmod +x something.sh”
– Then, enter: “sh something.sh www.product.com/store/item OUT OF STOCK” (or whatever message displays; no stock, item unavailable, etc.) The script is now running from the terminal.
– That will load the webpage, check the page for the phrase you entered (OUT OF STOCK), and if the phrase is no longer there, it will display a message, play a sound, and send you an email (“youremail@mailprovider.com”). Every 5 minutes until it restocks. Anything you need to know in order to do this should be covered here.

5 ) Don’t EVER let your technology slow you down

Kind of like how ridiculous back-and-forth text message conversations are when a simple 30 second phone call is far more practical, new technology should NEVER slow you down. That is the antithesis of innovation and yet it still happens all the time: computers that lag, freeze, crash, deleted preferences/settings/passwords, and so on. If something is keeping you from doing your job, or you find yourself frequently on the phone or exchanging emails with support – move on. I assure you there are competitors with a superior product or a lower price that will gladly do business with you. The computer hardware and software industry is fiercely competitive (well, most of it anyway). This tip might actually be the most useful of the five because it serves as a wake-up call to those who have become content with their current service. It’s not always immediately obvious when something like this is happening. Do your research, see for yourself.

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  1. Pingback: Rsync: How it works and how to use it | Adamantine.me

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