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Can tech tools boost your efficiency?

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in Office Management,Time Management

The growing use of tablet computers and other personal technology has led to a slew of productivity apps for busy professionals. Ironically, the proliferation of so many timesaving tools is making people less efficient.

Consumers often hop from app to app, attempting to learn each new product before moving on. To avoid missing out on the latest breakthrough, you might abandon a perfectly good tool in favor of a newer, flashier one.

Pick the right productivity app to fill your time-management needs. First, determine how you want to improve. (Better filing system? Tighter to-do lists?) Then find methods geared to address your needs.

Balance digital solutions with old-fashioned strategies. You may prefer using pen and paper to list priorities or jot brainstorms. The tactile sensation of actual writing works better for some people than typing on a keyboard or fiddling with a smartphone.

Another quaint approach works well for easily distracted multitaskers. If you tend to start multiple projects but struggle to finish them, schedule blocks of uninterrupted time to focus on only one task. Use a kitchen timer to reserve 20 or 25 minutes to concentrate.

Some digital apps are more trouble than they’re worth. You can spend hours trying to sync an app across all your devices or master complex Web-based systems.

Even after you understand how a particular app works, incorporating it into your daily life can prove stressful. Some systems are “so complicated to keep up that 80% of the people fail,” says Laura Stack, a productivity expert.

— Adapted from “How productivity tools can waste your time,” Sue Shellenbarger, The Wall Street Journal.

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