Mobile apps can either make you more productive or less, depending on how you use them. If you’re playing Angry Birds at work, you won’t get as much done. If, however, you use apps that help you schedule your workday, stay on task and collaborate with coworkers, you’ll probably see your efficiency go up.
Big data analytics works in much the same way. Companies use it to give you suggestions on products to buy or shows to binge — which admittedly might not boost your productivity.
Data can also, on the other hand, help you get more done. When you harness the power of big data analytics through mobile apps, you can turn it into a powerful tool instead of a source of distraction.
How Big Data and Mobile Apps Are Related
The more we use our apps, the more data we generate. When you download an app, you typically have to agree to let it access information such as location and contacts. Apps can also track how you use them. For instance, they often keep tabs on which features you use most often.
All of that data gets fed back to the app’s creators, who can use it to make the app better. You can also access some of the insights gathered from analyzing your data to learn more about your habits. You can then use that information to boost your productivity.
Here are a few of the ways you can use mobile apps and big data to do more quality work in less time.
1. Track How You Spend Your Time
There are many apps available for tracking your work time. Some of them require you to manually input the amount of time you spent on a task, while others automatically track it. Some apps do this by categorizing websites as either productive or unproductive, and others identify keywords on webpages that help it determine what task a site is related to.
As you mark more pages as productive and unproductive, these apps could use this data to improve their predictions of a site’s impact on your efficiency. When you look back at reports on how you spend your time, you can see patterns in the kinds of sites that distracted you, how long you were distracted versus actually working and what times of day you were most often off-task.
Companies could look at patterns across their companies to make sure workers are able to focus during their most productive times of the day.
2. Nudge You in the Right Direction
Most apps use push notifications to keep users interested and engage. The issue with this is that only about half of consumers think these messages are useful. App makers are using data analysis to try to increase that number. They analyze the circumstances in which people ignore and engage with notifications. They might find that people open them more at certain times of the day or when they’re in certain locations, for instance. They then use that information to decide when to send users these notices.
When app creators use this strategy for apps that distract you, this could have a negative impact on your productivity. If it’s an app that helps you stay on task, such as a workplace collaboration tool or a scheduling application, this would be helpful.
To give yourself an edge, disable notifications on all apps that disrupt your workflow. If you really want to get in the zone, you might even put your phone on silent or “do not disturb” mode. According to recent studies, just hearing the buzz of a notification can reduce your productivity.
3. Continual Performance Improvements
Analyzing time-tracking data and other performance information can help you continually improve your own performance as well as the processes of your company. When you collect more useful data, you get a better idea of where you’re doing well, what areas you can improve and what you can realistically achieve.
Marketing and sales teams, for example, often use data heavily. They collect and manage it within customer relationship management, or CRM, apps and other similar platforms. They use the insights gained from assessing this information to inform their approaches.
By analyzing your marketing campaigns, you might find that people respond better to emails than website banner ads. You might also realize that people like your tweets more when you post them at night. A salesperson might notice that people seem to respond better when they get a call on a Monday versus a Thursday.
Businesses can also use these types of insights when making strategic decisions and implementing company policies. A report from Sodexo cites an example in which a company realized that their remote employees were 18 to 22 percent more productive than those who worked in the office. Because of this insight, they created a new work-from-home policy.
Big data is powerful and mobile apps are pervasive and varied. Combine those two technologies and you have a prime opportunity to boost your productivity as well as the efficiency of your company.
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