3rd September, 2017

Smartphones are a staple part of our day to day life, with research suggesting that people check their phone an average of 85 times a day[1]… that’s a lot of email/social media/news checking! We’ve also got more apps on our phones than ever before, with each smartphone user accessing, on average, 30 apps per month (though we have around 3 times this many stored on our phones!)[2]

The standard setting for Apps like Facebook and Mail involve the software constantly checking for information ‘in the background’, even when the app is not open on your phone.  This is the functionality that allows you to be updated about new emails, new news and social media updates throughout the day – often accompanied by a little ‘ping’ that encourages you to look at your phone.  However, as well as being a little distracting (who can resist looking at their phone when they have just heard it beep?), these apps can also drain your battery faster than usual.

The majority of smartphones – and apps – give you the opportunity to enter ‘power save’ mode, which will reduce the frequency that these apps check for updates, instead, they will only check for news/emails/messages when you manually refresh the apps. In my experience, this hasn’t just worked to help my battery, but also my sanity! By manually checking for updates and news, I can create ‘windows’ of opportunity for checking my phone – perhaps when I am taking a break to make a cup of tea, or have just completed a task – so that I don’t feel compelled to look at it every time it ‘pings’.  This helps to ensure that when I am working on a specific task, I can remain focused on the job in hand rather than be distracted about some Donald Trump related news that has popped up in my newsfeed… (*Sigh* ‘What’s he done this time?!’)

However, despite their being a lot of Apps out there that could be seen to ‘hinder’ my productivity, there are quite a few that are fabulous and highly recommended.  Mobile banking apps, for one, allow an instant insight into your business cash-flow, and make it simple to pay invoices and freelancers without the need to head into your local branch.  Map apps too are a helpful new addition to my pocket, ensuring that client meetings in new locations are as simple and ‘hassle free’ as possible.  Trying to boost your business’s visibility online? Social Media apps make it quick and convenient to do, especially ‘on the go’ when you are in the queue at the supermarket or doing something similar! Likewise, task list apps like ‘Todoist’ also make it easier to carry out certain aspects of your day-to-day working life on the move, enabling you to prioritise work and book appointments without having to carry around reams of paper to write on.

Though life pre-phones definitely had its positives (not being able to be reached 24/7 the major one!), Smartphones and Apps have definitely made it easier for business owners to work more effectively ‘on the go’, helping remote or virtual workers to be just as connected and productive as their office based counterparts.

How do you feel about the smart phone revolution? Are you an ‘App addict’ or an avoider of mobile tech? Feel free to let us know via our Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn pages!

[1] Andrews, A. et al (2015) ‘Beyond Self-Report: Tools to Compare Estimated and Real-World Smartphone Use’

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