Master the Use of Technology to Manage Your Time

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "Eat That Frog!" by Brian Tracy. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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Do you find yourself constantly checking your phone? How can you master the use of technology to minimize distractions and increase productivity?

Technology can be a major distraction, but if you learn to master the use of technology, it can help you manage your time and stay motivated. Even social media can be a powerful motivator if used properly.

Read on to learn how you can master the use of technology and improve your productivity.

Master the Use of Technology 

Technology has enormous benefits, but if you don’t master the use of technology, it may end up controlling you.

Many people feel compelled to be in constant touch, which keeps them reacting to a never-ending stream of messages rather than choosing whether and when to respond and controlling their own schedule. Immediately upon waking up, they check their phone messages and notifications. This continues throughout the day until bedtime. One study showed that people check their devices 85 times a day. They check twice as often as they think they do, according to another study.

It adds up to wasted time, a feeling of not being in control, and more stress about what’s not getting done. And no matter how often you check for messages, they keep coming in. But the fact that someone sends you an email doesn’t mean you owe them your time.

Apply the 80/20 rule to your messages and email. As many as 80% are unimportant and you can Ignore, delete, unsubscribe, or block them. Most of the remaining 20% can probably be put off, which leaves only around 5% requiring an immediate response. Ignore anything not relevant to your priority tasks and relationships.

There are numerous benefits to unplugging or taking a break from communication devices. In one study, CEOs and entrepreneurs who turned off their devices temporarily experienced improved memory, sleep, decision-making, and relationships.

Tech entrepreneur Bill Gates unplugs and meditates each day. Similarly, you should try turning off your devices for an hour in the morning and in the afternoon. Or go further and unplug for an entire day each week. You won’t miss anything important and you’ll focus and perform better when you take tech breaks.

Make Technology Work for You

Instead of being controlled by technology, you can master the use of technology to help manage your time—both to remind you of what’s important and keep unimportant things from distracting you.

When you’re working on a high-value task, close all computer windows, websites, and programs you aren’t using for the task. Turn off phone alerts and notifications.

Some people keep alerts and notifications turned on all the time because they want to be reachable in a potential family emergency. But rather than making yourself available to everyone 24/7, you can adjust your phone settings to limit your calls and texts to emergencies or certain people only. Take control of the use of technology and only respond to messages by choice rather than reactively. Similarly, use your email program’s features to sort and prioritize emails.

Use Digital Tools

Use your online or paper calendar to block out time for your important tasks the same way you would block appointments and meetings. You can also use digital productivity tools or software to help you manage tasks and delegate them.

Some people hesitate to use digital tools because they require learning new software and systems. However, everything can be learned. Work to master the use of technology—the time you spend learning new tools will pay off in greater efficiency. Accept that everyone gets frustrated with technology occasionally. Remember, it’s there to work for you, and you can master it.

Social media can be a big distraction or time waster, but some people use it to generate encouragement and positive feedback. They share their goals and updates on their progress with friends or like-minded people, who help them stay motivated and less likely to procrastinate. This can be a more beneficial way to use social media than posting about trivial things or complaining.

Master the Use of Technology to Manage Your Time

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Like what you just read? Read the rest of the world's best book summary and analysis of Brian Tracy's "Eat That Frog!" at Shortform.

Here's what you'll find in our full Eat That Frog! summary:

  • What it means to eat a frog
  • How your daily distractions get in the way of doing important work first
  • How to make a habit of doing the most important thing first, every day

Hannah Aster

Hannah graduated summa cum laude with a degree in English and double minors in Professional Writing and Creative Writing. She grew up reading books like Harry Potter and His Dark Materials and has always carried a passion for fiction. However, Hannah transitioned to non-fiction writing when she started her travel website in 2018 and now enjoys sharing travel guides and trying to inspire others to see the world.

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