Where does the time go? How to find extra hours in the day with technology

Where does the time go? How to find extra hours in the day with technology

We’ve all been there: you look up from your desk, and all of a sudden it’s the middle of the day – and you don’t feel like you’ve got anything useful done. Despite advances in technology, modern working life often makes it surprisingly hard to get things done especially for small to medium businesses (SMBs). What’s the cause? Of course, office life is full of small distractions – from the coffee machine to catching up with colleagues – but that feeling of having not done as much as you hoped hasn’t gone away as we’ve all adapted to working from home. The cause, it seems, is how we deal with our list of tasks every day – and how we move between them.

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Tools designed to increase our productivity mean that often we are given more tasks to do, and of course in a small business most employees cover a variety of job functions, all with their own separate task lists. These factors mean that for most of us, multitasking is an essential part of our jobs on if we want to get everything done on time.

However, that drive to multitask may be counterproductive. A recent study has shown that on average it takes us 23 minutes to switch between tasks, and in that time we usually engage in 2 or more intervening activities.[1] All in all, it’s been suggested that workers can lose more than 2 hours every day just switching between tasks.[2] That’s where the feeling of “where has the morning gone?” comes from.

The problem, of course, is that this level of distraction from task-switching means people are having to work harder and longer to get through all their tasks. Other studies have revealed that 51% of small business owners don’t have time to focus on themselves,[3] and 28% of workers frequently feel burnt out at work.[4]

To solve this problem, it seems, SMBs need to look at how to reduce the time spent refocusing on tasks. Doing so will give everyone back more time in their day to get things done, which should in turn reduce feelings of burnout, increase productivity, and allow people more time to focus on themselves. There are some behavioural things that individuals can try for themselves – for example, consciously choosing to switch between tasks at pre-set times to stay productive, or closing their email client while working on a task to reduce the chances of a distraction. In this post, though, we’ll focus on how the right technology can help SMBs get more time back in the day.

The truth is that currently, technology either introduces, or exacerbates distractions in our working day. The email notifications that distract from the task at hand; the pain of trying to join a video conference; the annoyance of a PC that’s slow to load when you need to start a meeting or an important piece of work; all of these will be familiar to most of us.

In fact, technology issues including long load times, outdated systems, or device crashes were the top distraction for 38% of respondents to a recent RescueTime survey and of course, those issues add to everyone’s task list as employees spend time on the phone to tech support.[5] Simply upgrading to modern, up-to-date devices such as the ThinkBook Plus could make a real impact in reducing distractions and task switching in your business.

Looking at your tech support could also help you get time back in the day. Support such as Lenovo Premier Support, from highly trained professionals who are familiar with your business and your devices, will mean you typically spend less time on the phone and more time being productive.

The features of the technology you and your staff use can also have an impact on how many distractions you lose time to each day. The ThinkBook Plus, for example, features an e-ink screen on the lid that filters out all but the most essential notifications, can be used to take quick notes that are instantly converted to text, and can be used to review and annotate without other apps and windows distracting you. It also has dedicated keys for handling video calls, to save you searching for the right window to answer an incoming Skype or Microsoft Teams call.

Power is also an important thing to consider - both battery power, to ensure you’re never caught short looking for a charger, and processing power to handle multiple tasks without freezing or slow load times.

The prospect of upgrading your existing devices and software might feel daunting and might feel prohibitively expensive as Europe slowly emerges from lockdown. But if you consider the cost of the man-hours you can reclaim by helping your employees to reduce the time lost to task-switching and distractions, the investment could soon pay for itself.

Discover more about how Lenovo can help your business get time on its side on our landing page.


[1] Source: https://www.hcii.cmu.edu/news/event/2004/10/work-fragmentation-common-practice-paradox-it-support     

[2] Source: For example: Bergman, P. (2010, May 20). How (and why) to stop multitasking. Harvard Business Review, Joshua Rubinstein, Jeffrey Evans and David Meyer, 2001

[3] Source: NFIB https://www.nfib.com/video/the-biggest-trials-of-being-a-small-business…

[4] Source: Gallup https://www.gallup.com/workplace/237377/millennials-burning.aspx

[5] Source: RescueTimehttps://blog.rescuetime.com/225-million-hours-productivity/