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...

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....

3 Techniques to Maximise Your Time Management

Minute by minute, hour by hour, how effective are you really at getting items ticked off your to-do list? Some of us might find that it’s easier to get certain tasks done in the morning, with the rest of the day spent on planning and meetings. Others might prefer to get meetings and planning out of the way first before getting stuck into a to-do list. Either way, life happens and it can be difficult to manage our time effectively if we don’t have some kind of plan. To structure your work schedule, and allow for unexpected interruptions, here are three time management techniques that can assist in getting the most out of your day: 1. Pomodoro Technique Brainchild of Italian entrepreneur, Francesco Cirillo, the Pomodoro Technique is named after a tomato-shaped kitchen timer that he used to time his work schedule during university. A very simple technique, it allows you to be more productive by timing shorter but more frequent bouts of undistracted work, ideally twenty-five minutes, with short breaks in between. Each unit of undistracted work time is called a “pomodoro”, and after every four to five pomodoros (or pomodori to be precise), you can take a longer break. While the number of pomodoros done each day depends entirely on your schedule, this method allows you to fit more focused time into your schedule, whilst making sure that you take regular breaks, which further enhances your ability to accomplish more during the course of a given day. 2. Getting Things Done (GTD) David Allen developed the Getting Things Done (GTD) method as a time management method that...

The Future of Work: What Will Change?

As we continue to work harder and find more productive ways to achieve our goals, how are our workspaces going to evolve in relation to this? We all know that technological developments are changing the way we work as well as the tools at our disposal. There will no doubt also be physical changes that will take place to accommodate or counteract all the technological developments in our working environments. To get an idea of just some of the ways our workplaces are set to change, here are just five approaches to the future of work: 1. Incorporating Nature While we may be heading towards a world of densely populated cities and interconnected digital devices, that’s not to say that nature will not play an important role in the future of work. Something as simple as an office plant is used daily to invigorate a dull space, but nature is also being incorporated into the workplace on a greater through the implementation of biophilic design. This approach to interior and exterior design incorporates natural elements into all aspects of a workplace, from surfaces to building material, all of which has a profound effect on our sense of wellbeing. 2. Interactive Technology A recent video from software behemoth Microsoft delves into what the future of technology might look like. From holograms to interactive screens, the process of working and sharing information is shown to be as simple as swiping a finger. While touchscreens may be a relatively new introduction in the greater scheme of things, the fact that we’ve become so accustomed to them in relatively short space of time...