9 Ways Tech Can Help Prioritize Your Time & Get More Done

Learn how tech can take a few things off your plate so you can be less busy, and more productive.

When someone asks how you’ve been, how many times is your reply “Busy”? You wouldn’t be alone. Sometimes, being busy is even considered a status symbol.

It’s easy to confuse being busy with being productive—likely because we’re more connected than ever—but they’re not the same. Busy people have to-do lists a mile long; productive people know less is more, and focus on priorities. Busy people multitask and fall prey to interruptions and distractions. Productive people are efficient, and delegate where it counts. And, where it counts are those necessary but time-consuming tasks like reviewing bank or credit card statements, scheduling meetings, or scouring the web for the best deals.

Here are some ways technology can take a few things off your plate so you can be less busy, more productive, and more in the moment.

1. Voice activated digital assistants

Voice activated assistants are taking over—and making life much easier. You can add a functionality to smart home hubs like Amazon’s Alexa to reorder items from your grocery list, get weather and calendar updates first thing in the morning, or even check your bank balance and pay your credit card bill with the Capital One Alexa skill. The more you use them, the better they work for you. Unsure where to start? Get ideas from some of these clever Alexa skills.

2. Set-it-and-forget-it smart home app routines

Think about occasions when you’re racing around the house to shut off lights, lock doors, and set thermostats and alarms. You can easily automate these routines in the app for your smart home device for scenarios like leaving for vacation, heading out for work in the morning, or having friends over for dinner. Whether it’s a Google Home device or Amazon Echo, these routines can do these things for you before you’re even home, whether it’s dimming the lights, turning on a favorite playlist, or announcing to the house you’re on your way.

3. A proactive assistant that watches out for your money and sends helpful alerts or account insights

With all the everyday purchases on your credit card, it’s time-consuming to review every single transaction—which can make it easy to miss when a vendor mistakenly charges you twice, a recurring bill goes up, or a tip gets entered incorrectly. That’s where Eno comes in. Eno is your Capital One assistant that proactively helps you stay on top of your accounts. Signed up for a free trial and forgot to unsubscribe before your card was charged? Eno will reach out with an alert about that, too. Eno automatically sends useful insights and alerts about your credit card accounts so you can focus on everything else in your day instead.

4. “If This Then That” to connect your apps and put tasks on autopilot

Don’t sleep on  IFTTT (If This Then That). This free service works by connecting your apps to make life more seamless. Looking for an item on Craigslist? Set up an email alert when something is posted that matches your search. Automate spreadsheet data entry in real-time with an IFTTT task that can populate and sync sheets for you, whether it’s to log new subscribers, Uber trips you’ve taken, fitness activities, and more.

5. Tools to take the hassle out of booking travel

Paribus, Hopper, Hipmunk, Kayak—if you haven’t used a trip planning app or flight fare finder, you might be wasting precious time hunting for flights (or buying them when the time’s not right). Let these do the legwork for you. Just enter a destination that’s on your list, and they’ll keep an eye out for great deals so you can quickly book in advance, or just on a whim.

6. Integrated grocery lists, shopping apps, and food delivery services

Many of the big grocers are providing ways to digitize your shopping list and tacking on delivery and pick-up services—and they can be huge time-savers. If you want a little bit more integration when it comes to meal planning, there are grocery list apps and meal kit subscriptions that can completely take the shopping and planning parts of eating off your plate—pun intended.

7. Online services that shop and plan your outfits for you

Not into shopping, but need some new threads? Personal stylist services and subscription boxes (for both men and women) send regular boxes or rental duds based on your information and preferences.  More interested in getting help putting together what you already have? Other apps help you shop your own closet, like Finery, Cladwell, and Pureple—and even offer suggestions based on the weather in your area.

8. Next-level calendar apps that help you efficiently manage your schedule

One thing many people can’t live without? Calendar apps that sync up between accounts to make sure appointments, tasks, meetings, due dates, and reminders aren’t falling through the cracks. Get more from your existing calendar apps by integrating with an app like Any.do that has even more features and capabilities to organize your day.

9. Note-taking apps that act like personal filing systems

Today’s integrated note-taking apps do more than help you jot down things you don’t want to forget. These apps are like personal, searchable multimedia filing systems that let you upload files, notes, websites, documents, videos, photos, receipts, and more, and sync them with other apps you use every day. For example, group everything related to an upcoming trip—bookings, passport scans, contact info for lodgings, email confirmations, and bookmarked restaurant websites—all in one file to make travel hassle-free.

While they might not do the dishes or walk the dog, putting a few of these apps into your daily arsenal can go a long way for reducing the day-to-day things that eat up your day. And the next time someone asks how you’ve been, you can confidently reply: “Productive!”