Gaming and Productivity: Can They Go Together?

When we think about gaming, we often think of it as something you’d do sneakily while taking a break at your desk, or something that could interfere with your productivity. With the popularity of a range of online games, such as World of Warcraft (WoW), and the past success of games like The Sims, it’s easy to see how people can get absorbed in a digital gaming interface. With gaming receiving more attention as a way to engage with people, and to train our brains for better memory and other cognitive skills, has there been a shift in the concept of games and their contribution to the workplace? Here are just a few of the most popular gaming applications right now: 1. Knack As any ardent gamer will tell you, getting involved in a game is more than about just keeping yourself entertained, it’s also about being able to build up your own gaming personality, and allowing you to access different skills that you wouldn’t necessarily have the chance to in real life. An applicaiton that really puts the potential of gaming into perspective is an application called Knack, which gets people to play games in order to assess certain skills, and their ability to perform certain roles in the workplace. Used by individuals and businesses, Knack gives people the opportunity to showcase skills they might not have known how to demonstrate, and by setting up certain game scenarios to test certain skills. With these kinds of gaming tools, human resource departments have the ability to easily pinpoint people with particular skills, which can refine the hiring process considerably,...

New Year Resolutions: Using a Blueprint

As the first month of the year draws to an end, the resolutions and goals that we set are either slipping away or coming more into focus. While we might try to keep all of those promises to ourselves, just writing a list about what we want to achieve often just isn’t enough, and we need something more beneficial than a list of goals to keep up accountable and motivated. While the first three weeks of 2016 have already gone by, it’s not too late to get on track with a blueprint. Here’s more about one of the tools being used by productivity professionals to guide even the most manic of work schedules: 1. Start with Excel Excel is one of the most multifunctional kinds of software, but unless you’re number crunching or very good about drawing up a personal budget, how many of us really use it to its full potential? While some of us might be more used to Word or other kinds of word processing software, Excel, or any other number processing software, its actually very helpful in tracking the amount of time you spend on tasks. By creating a document called “[Your Name] Blueprint 2016”, you’re already on your way to managing your time better. 2. Block off times for tasks While we can write endless lists, and things to do in our diaries, wall calendars and even loose scraps of paper, what list really holds you accountable to what you want to achieve? Using a blueprint and sharing it with your family, friends and colleagues is a way to group all of your significant...

Time Management in Focus: Pomodoro Technique

The Pomodoro technique is based on the principle of doing focused work for a specific period of time, or “pomodoro”. Named because of the tomato kitchen timer originally used to test out the technique, the idea is to fit as many “pomodori” into your day as possible, taking a short break between each session, and a longer break after you’ve completed a number of these focused periods of work. However, it’s one thing to read about different time management techniques and think about the benefits they might provide and they ways they might streamline your routine. While it’s great to understand these techniques in theory, what happens when you actually apply the technique in practice? Here are 5 considerations we found when trying out the Pomodoro time management technique: 1. Decide on what time period works for you We worked on a time session of 25 minutes, which meant measureable sessions of 30 minutes in total including a short break. While it can be tempting to get involved in a task and go over the 25 minute mark, having this time limit in place is helpful in keeping you focused, and not wasting time on unnecessary tasks. 2. Enjoy your breaks It can be difficult to get up and move around when you’ve been solidly focused for 25 minutes, but getting up and away from your desk is an important part of this technique, as each break gives you a chance to refresh and recharge for the next session. 3. Use a reliable timer We used a computer based timer, which was convenient for tracking time because it fed...

Wearable Technology and Productivity in 2016

We often talk about technology as something we use with our fingers, like a laptop, keyboard or something we initiate with the flick of a switch or a swipe. While there continues to be ongoing developments in the improvement and refining of technology such as laptops and smartphones, what about the smaller items that we actually attach to our own bodies to monitor everything from our heart rate to our levels of productivity? At the beginning of a new year, here’s a round up of some of the more popular examples of wearable technology that will be used in 2016: 1. Pebble A smartwatch that connects to either your iPhone or Android device, the Pebble is available in a variety of different styles, from the simple Pebble Time to the slicker Pebble Time Steel. With a week’s worth of battery life, a colour display and the ability to connect you to important data, Pebble is one of the many wearables that will help you to manage your day from your wrist. 2. Apple Watch In true Apple style, the Apple Watch is designed to complement the use of other similar devices. You can use it to manage tasks, track your fitness and even reply quickly to messages with the option of a few standard responses to save time. With a focus on personalising the smartwatch experience, you can even send your own heartbeat rhythm to another Apple Watch user, or a silly sketch. 3. Jawbone UP We all need a little bit of encouragement sometimes to keep active, even if it just means getting up at regular intervals to...

The Future of Jobs: What Roles Will Last?

With the marketplace evolving at a rapid rate, access to digital technology is re-evaluating the need for certain jobs. The truth is that technology has been evolving for centuries to meet changing human needs, but it’s the rate at which certain skills are becoming redundant in an ever-competitive marketplace that is of concern from an economic perspective. While the traditional concept of a job might become obsolete in itself, here are some of the professions that are becoming less and less prominent as the future of jobs continues to shift: 1. Clerical Work In a traditional office or business setup, there are people assigned to certain roles such as answering the phone, managing inventory, compiling sales data or typing out documents. While there may always be a need for someone to be available to talk to customers on request, advances in technology means that often several clerical tasks can be integrated into a single software platform. Software such as Salesforce for example combines clerical tasks such as quoting and managing other administrative tasks with the use of additional applications, which means that theoretically one person could perform the tasks of an entire small-business office. 2. Call Centre Agents The growth of text-based applications such as Whatsapp, Skype and even online chat means that often there is no need to talk to someone directly when making a sales transaction. While it might still be necessary on occasion to talk to someone directly to resolve a problem, the thought of being put on hold with a ridiculous tone playing in your ear is making text-based troubleshooting much more feasible and convenient....