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People Turning to Analog Tools for Greater Productivity in a Digital World

Working remotely can be very challenging. To avoid distractions, many people use analog productivity tools to stay focused.

Amid COVID-19 lockdowns, many businesses had to accelerate moving towards a remote workforce. According to Pew Research, 20% of Americans worked from home before the lockdowns. This jumped to a record high 71% after COVID-19 mandates were implemented. Without proper training and experience, some workers had difficulty adapting to the new environment. To reduce distractions at home, many workers have turned to utilizing analog tools to improve their productivity.

Every time you touch your phone, it’s a chance for you to just go down a rabbit hole, which is the opposite of being focused.”— Ellen Goodwin

STING: The Easy Way to Sneak Focus Into Every Day – Ellen Goodwin, Productivity Consultant

In an interview with Snackable Solutions, Productivity Consultant Ellen Goodwin presented the STING productivity framework, to keep people focused in short bursts of productivity while avoiding procrastination. According to Goodwin, STING stands for: (S) – Select one task, (T) – Time yourself, (I) – Ignore everything else, (N) – No breaks, and (G) – Give yourself a reward. She said, “A lot of people think that when it comes to focusing, you have to have lots of time with nothing to do, in order to really focus. But that’s not true.”

For this version of STING, Goodwin recommends four analog tools: a kitchen timer, sticky notes, index cards, and a pen. According to Goodwin, “Every time you touch your phone, it’s a chance for you to just go down a rabbit hole, which is the opposite of being focused.” By utilizing these analog tools, Goodwin suggests that workers can avoid distractions associated with mobile phones and other devices.

A number of studies indicate that mobile phones decrease productivity significantly for most people. One study found that students without mobile phones scored a full letter grade-and-a-half higher on a multiple choice test than students who were actively using their mobile phones (Jeffrey H. Kuznekoff & Scott Titsworth (2013) The Impact of Mobile Phone Usage on Student Learning, Communication Education, 62:3, 233-252, DOI: 10.1080/03634523.2013.767917).

As more people revisit analog devices, businesses and workers could see a boost in productivity as more people continue to work from home.

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Dennis Consorte
Dennis Consorte

I work at Consorte Marketing as a fulltime content strategist, digital marketing and operations consultant for a handful of clients. I am also a digital marketing expert at Digital.com. I often build teams to execute on these strategies, and agile frameworks for workflows, inspired by Scrum. I work to improve my leadership and communication skills, including periodically re-centering myself, and helping others to find purpose in their work.

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