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9 Technology Productivity Tips: Do this, not that

Technology is supposed to save us time and make us more efficient. Most often, technology does. But sometimes you need to give tech a rest and do things the old fashion way because it’s actually faster.


Here are tips on when technology can make you more productive, and when it can be a time waster.


Using tech to increase productivity


Put it on the cloud: Storing all of your files securely and remotely can increase your productivity. Cloud storage gives you access to everything you need from your smartphone — or any other computer – and that can save you time when your laptop is in one place and you are in another. Cloud storage may help force you to be better organized when you create your folders and properly sort your documents. Plus, if your computer ever crashes, you’ll still have access to all of your files.


Use a Transaction Management program: Whether you choose to use Form Simplicity or something else, the key is to make sure you are onboard the paperless train that Transaction Management offers. Once you start using a Transaction Management program, you will wonder why you waited so long. This is the one technology that when used properly, may yield the greatest benefits in terms of increased productivity. It will keep you, and everyone else involved, on task, on track, and accountable. And for broker-owners, it helps simplify compliance requirements.


Marketing streamlined: There’s an abundance of marketing technology that will save you time and can significantly increase productivity. Many major brokerage franchises offer in-house tech tools that automate listing marketing, creating flyers, single-page property websites, and even creating and posting virtual property tours to your YouTube channel. And all an agent has to do is enter the listing data once. Everything is done in the background by companies like Imprev and Amarki.


Expert help is only a click away: More than 600,000 Realtors have access to the number-one tech support service – Tech Helpline – through their MLS or Association. That means you are a just a click (or call) away from getting expert help you need to keep your business up and running smoothly. If you MLS or Association hasn’t added Tech Helpline as a member benefit, let them know you want access to one of the most popular benefits MLSs and Associations can offer. More information is available at


When not to use technology


Call, don’t write: When you start to write a long email, consider picking up the phone instead, as it likely will be a time saver. Or when you are in the midst of a rapid email exchange that goes beyond a few emails – stop – and pick up the phone and talk it out. Email may seem efficient, but it can easily become a time waster, especially when an email is misinterpreted. You can often save a lot of time – and anguish – by simply picking up a phone so someone can hear what you mean by the tone of your voice, which is something they can’t discern from an email.


Put down your smartphone: Put your smartphone on silent and turn it over, face down. A 2016 study showed that the average person touches their phone a whopping 2,617 times per day! Over 2 hours a day, spent largely on Google or Facebook. Clearly, we are tempted to become less productive when we pick up our phone, not more. When you need to get work done, step away from your smartphone.


Don’t squirrel when online: It’s easy when you use social media for your business to find yourself not posting, but perusing. Or when you do a Google search on one subject and start to wonder because something catches your eye. That’s the downside of the Internet: it can cause you to waste time instead of save time. The key is to stay focused on your original task and ignore distractions or your productivity will suffer.


Protect your “Prime Time”: Most people know when their peak productivity time is; when they are the most creative and energized. If you are a morning person, a mid-day sprinter or a late-night owl, you need to protect that window of the day when you can get more accomplished. Your prime time should be just that: a period when the only tech you touch is the stuff that helps you get your work done.


Turn it all off: Being connected 24/7 comes with a downside: your clients may think you should always be available whenever they want or need you. That might be good for them, but not for you, as there are times where you need to stay focused and not be interrupted. With email, chat programs, and texts, you can barely escape being distracted when someone reaches out to you. To get your work done and done well, sometimes you need to just disconnect. If you manage your clients’ expectations of when that’s going to happen, they can typically wait an hour – or two.


Give yourself a break


Finally, being productive doesn’t mean you need to work nonstop. Just the opposite, researchers say, is true. In fact, wasting (some) time can actually make you more productive. Taking breaks can enhance your performance. A study at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign found that even brief diversions from a task can dramatically improve one’s ability to focus on that task for prolonged periods.


Other research shows that mental rest improves memory formation, that taking “movement breaks” are vital to good health, helps spur creativity and can prevent “decision fatigue.” Wasting a little time by giving yourself a break can be a very good thing.