3 Reasons the Digital Age Can Decrease Productivity

07In today’s fast-paced world, everyone is looking for ways to get things done quicker and easier. Technology has allowed us to increase the pace at which we work, creating more efficient and effective ways of getting things done. Although the convenience of technology has made our lives easier, it can also create more demands on our time, and can actually decrease productivity – if we let it. The key is to embrace the technological tools that increase productivity, and eliminate the time-wasters.


Although email can be an important time-saving communication tool, for many people, email has taken over their lives at home and at work. What starts out as an innocent peek into our email box can end up gobbling up an hour, or more. Responding to email also deceives us into thinking we’re doing something important, when the majority of emails we receive are advertisements and forwards.

Set regular times to check email. Limit yourself to three times a day – once in the morning, afternoon and night. Learn to hold back and focus on the current task at hand.
Consider setting up an “out of office” response to people, letting them know that you only check your emails at certain times of the day. This way, people will not expect you to respond immediately.
Set aside a period of time to sift through e-mails and prioritize. People often respond to emails in the order they received them, rather than the order of importance. Taking the time to prioritize will allow you to flag the non-urgent emails that might take more than a few minutes, and respond to them later when you have time.

Surfing the Web

Surfing the web is a procrastinator’s dream. While there is a wealth of useful knowledge available on the internet, many people waste their time reading trivial websites. Do you really need to know what restaurant Justin Bieber was sighted at? Or, which celebrity is filing for divorce?

Find other ways to unwind. Many people come home from a long day of work in front of the computer, only to sit down in front of their computer at home. Take a bath, cuddle up with a book, or go for a short jog.
Limit your time. Set a timer when you sit down to browse Facebook or other social networking websites. When your time is up, get up and move on to more productive tasks.


There is very little that cannot be achieved from a smartphone. From browsing the web and social media, keeping a calendar, viewing documents, and even playing games, there is potential for the ease of access to become unproductive.

Turn off the ringer and notifications from time to time. You don’t need to answer the phone every time it rings, and you certainly don’t need to check it whenever your coworker updates her Facebook status.
Don’t let your cell phone use you. Determine what you are going to do before you pick up your phone. Once you have completed that task, put it back down.
Reserve a block of time for games. When that time is up, put away your phone and pick up a more productive activity.

When used wisely, technology can increase efficiency and allow us to get more done in our day. Time is money, and you should be as conscientious about spending your time as you are your money. By using technology in moderation, it will increase your productivity, leaving you with more time to do the things you truly enjoy.

Image credit:  Marcelo Terraza