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Staying Organized at Work: Technology Tools for Task Management and Focus

I recently gave a workshop on staying organized at work, in which I highlighted assistive technology tools that support task management and focus. These executive function skills are essential for success at work and include managing your time, prioritizing tasks, recalling directions, and maintaining attention. I’d like to share some of this technology here, as it may be helpful to readers on Punch-In. The tools are grouped into three categories: time management, organization, and managing distractions and focus.

 

Time management

To manage your time, you must first be aware of the passage of time. This can occur through the use of a watch or a smartphone with regular alarms or reminders. Especially helpful in the workplace is a silent vibrating alert or the haptic signal (tap on the wrist) of an Apple Watch. To increase your awareness of time, check out these smartphone apps: Diii, Chime, 30/30, and Timewinder. Using some type of calendar or planner is also important. Try a physical planner if you need to have it right in front of you, or use the calendar and reminders on your smartphone or an email program like Microsoft Outlook.

 

Organization

There are many tools available to help you with organization, both at home and at work. Some tools I covered in the webinar included:

  • Livescribe Smartpens, Echo or Smartpen 3 – pen records audio and syncs with written notes; useful during meetings or when receiving task instructions
  • Google Keep – app works like a digital bulletin board to pin notes
  • Wunderlist – convenient app for storing all kinds of lists with reminders
  • Trello – task list app with a unique visual board layout
  • Toodledo – robust task manager with priority levels, due dates, and topic tags

 

Managing distractions and focus

For managing distractions and maintaining focus on the job, there are a wide array of tools to choose from. Try noise-reduction headphones or the White Noise app, if there are sound distractions. If your phone is a distraction, consider using an app like Space, that helps you monitor your mobile activity. Use a similar tool, Stay Focusd (for Chrome) or SelfControl (for Mac), if browsing the internet on your computer is a distraction. Other things that can help manage your focus include mental breaks, movement, meditation, and managing stress. Try keeping a stress ball or fidget at your desk or in your pocket. Use a watch, a fitness tracker, or an app like Stand Up! to remind you to take breaks, drink water, or stretch. Other wearable devices, such as a Spire Stone, work with a companion app to track your breathing and stress level and remind you to relax.

 

For more information on these and other tools, click to view the webinar.

Sarah Giffen-Hunter, Assistive Technology Specialist, sarah.gh@pacer.org

PACER’s Simon Technology Center, 952-838-9000, http://www.pacer.org/

Views: 95

Tags: assistive, focus, management, organization, technology, time, work

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Comment by Jennifer Mundl on November 15, 2018 at 1:40pm

I have used many of these tools with my consumers looking for work or higher education. They have been quite useful but it is equally important to provide adequate training and customize the device to their particular needs.

Comment by Great Lakes ADA Center on February 9, 2018 at 2:57pm

Thanks Sarah!  I plan on giving Trello a try.

Janet

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