If you’re feeling a time crunch, you’re not alone. The number of Americans who say they don’t have enough time to get everything done has grown steadily in recent years, from 41 percent in 2009 to 48 percent in 2015, Gallup research shows. This number grows to 61 percent among working Americans, compared to 32 percent among the unemployed and 61 percent among those with children under 18, compared to 42 percent without young children.
Between work, kids, household chores and personal life, you may feel like you’re so busy you need a personal assistant. Fortunately, today’s technology gives you some tools that empower you to be your own assistant. Here are three tactics that can help you get more done in less time.
Use a Voice-Controlled Digital Assistant
One of the simplest strategies for becoming your own personal assistant is leveraging the power of mobile technology by using a voice-controlled digital assistant. Voice-controlled digital assistants such as Samsung’s Bixby have gained widespread popularity in recent years, with millions of Americans now using one. Digital assistants let you use your voice to get instant answers to questions, organize your calendar, give yourself automated reminders, play songs and videos, control smart home devices or make online purchases.
The most popular way to use digital assistants is on a smartphone, but you can also use one on a computer, tablet or stand-alone speaker. Today’s fastest mobile processors are designed to be fast and smart enough to support natural language processing, delivering you the highest-quality digital assistant experience.
Use a Time Management App
Time budgeting is another key to effectively organizing your time. There are 168 hours in every week. You can budget these hours just as you budget your finances, allocating a certain number of hours to work, travel, eating, sleep and other personal activities. Budgeting your time this way can help you ensure that you get your biggest priorities done and make the most productive use of your time.
The most efficient way to budget your time is to automate the process by using a time management app. For instance, the Any.do app can keep track of your to-do list, organize your calendar and offers an assistant that can automatically perform tasks for you.
Automate Your Emails and Texts
One of the biggest drains on time is answering emails. The average person spends nearly a third of their work week reading and responding to email, reports McKinsey Global Institute. Fortunately, there are a few tricks you can use to cut down on the amount of time you spend answering email. One is to use your email’s built-in filter and folder tools to automatically prioritize which senders need your urgent reply and send those to a folder where you can focus on them. You can create a five-folder system that moves items from your inbox folder to other folders ranked by urgency, with one folder for items that need to be answered today, one for this week, one for this month or quarter and one for archival storage. You can also use apps such as Zapier to set up customized automatic replies to specific types of email.
You can use similar strategies to reduce the amount of time you spend texting. For instance, the TextMagic app lets you set up customized triggers that determine when to send automated texts in response to specific keywords. You can even use this type of tool to schedule texts in advance, such as automated reminder texts to yourself.
Using a voice-controlled digital assistant, employing a time management app and automating your emails and texts are three simple strategies you can use to be your own personal assistant. Using these techniques and tools can help you save time while getting more done and being more productive.