5 Ways business leaders can optimize mobile to stay productive

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The digital transformation of the workplace is fundamentally changing the way work is executed. Gone are the days of being confined to the typical “9 to 5.” New technologies are creating both expectations (that you’ll be available after hours, for example) and the opportunity for greater flexibility - to work when it is convenient for you.

As business becomes more global and customers, partners and colleagues increasingly expect quick responses, mobile is becoming a critical tool for responding at the speed of business, from wherever you are. 

Mobile devices can be a significant distraction, but when you use your smartphone or tablet strategically, you can significantly improve your productivity.

For example, Ryan Homes, CEO of Hootsuite, found that he actually became more productive when he switched to using only his phone for business instead of his laptop. 

Here are five ways to use your mobile devices to get more done:

1. Update from Anywhere

You need to provide updated information and keep your team informed of project status, regardless of where you are. If you wait until you’re back in the office to convey new information, you’re costing your team valuable time — and valuable productivity. 

By using a work execution platform with a mobile app, you can send updates from the airport, client offices, or even the beach. 

A mobile work execution app also lets you receive important information from team members in a timely manner, so you have the information you need at hand to land the new client or provide better customer service. 

You can also upload photos — such as images of the client’s worksite — from your phone and attach to them directly to a project for your team to view. 

The ultimate mobile work execution hack? Set up automated approvals with Smartsheet, so your team can quickly get your input and keep moving forward — and you are no longer creating a roadblock by being out of the office. 

2. Hang a Virtual “Do Not Disturb” Sign

According to a recent study at the University of Chicago, having your cell phone nearby — even when you are not actively using it — can decrease your cognitive ability. The research found that the presence of our cellphones captivates our attention, and when you actively resist its pull, you aren’t fully focusing on the task at hand, thus lowering your cognitive ability. 

Researchers found that the best option to avoid distraction is to put your phone in another room, while putting the phone in your pocket or in a bag was the next best option. Not surprisingly, leaving your phone sitting on the desk in front of you is the least productive option. 

The next time you need to do work that requires a high cognitive level or focused thinking, consider putting your cell phone out of sight. If removing your phone from your vicinity is not an option for you, consider using the Do Not Disturb option on your phone so that you can receive texts or calls from certain people without being notified of the others. This allows you to be available to key people without added distraction. 

3. Take a Trip to the Future 

Downtime often happens when you are out of the office — sitting in an airport, waiting for a delayed train, or just standing in the latte line. Many business leaders use this found time to catch up on social media and email. 

But sometimes it’s not the right time of day to send your tweet or message. Maybe it’s the middle of the night. Or you know that your social media post will be more impactful if people read it over their morning coffee instead of during their evening commute. 

By using scheduling features on email and social media, you can write your messages when you have time and then schedule the best time to deliver them. Mobile scheduling technology keeps you from compromising on timing or productivity. Night owls and early risers alike can work when they are most productive, creative, and available. 

4. Have Eyes in the Back of Your Head 

Ever wonder what’s happening back at the office when you’re not there? By using a workplace tool with real-time collaboration functionality, you never have to guess.

If you’re feeling the urge to check in on your team’s progress from vacation, a work execution platform with a mobile option keeps you in the loop – even when you are poolside, at the top of a mountain, or running around exploring a new city. No need to unpack your laptop and go through strings of emails and documents to get the update. Your mobile device holds all the information you need.

With everyone updating task and project status in the same sheet, you can easily keep an eye on your team’s productivity and project velocity from your mobile device. The real-time visibility allows you to feel secure that work is getting done, so you can let yourself relax on your time off instead of stressing about potential roadblocks or inactivity. And if there is an obstacle, you’ll hear about it right away.

5. Set Up a Personal “Fire Alarm” 

Constantly checking your mobile device can take you away from either your work or relaxation — both equally important. But at the same time, you need to know when something happens that needs your immediate attention. 

By setting up notifications Smartsheet based on specific criteria, you can receive an alert when something is truly important. Select how you want to be notified — with push alerts through a mobile app, email, or messaging apps. Then you’ll know exactly when something happens that you need to respond to. 

As business grows increasingly global and connected, becoming more mobile will allow you to effectively collaborate – on your own schedule. Your mobile devices won’t automatically make you more productive. But with the right apps, collaboration and execution tools, and mobile habits, you can help your team stay productive, even when you are far away. 

Gene Farrell, Senior Vice President of Product at Smartsheet 

Image Credit: Totojang1977 / Shutterstock