6 ways to use technology to find your work-life balance

As technology evolves, so do the cries against its impact on our personal lives To some, more apps means more time spent staring at a smartphone and less time spent with loved ones. While times certainly are changing thanks to the new tech in our lives, I beg to differ: tech isn’t hurting us, but actually helping us to find more balance.

Life’s short, and many of the technological advances that roll out on a daily basis are hoping to help us get more out of it. Rather than looking at tech as the downfall of humanity, we should consider it a way to improve our lives and help us to make more time to spend with people we love the most.

While you may be on the hunt for the mythical work-life balance, I prefer to look at my life as a mesh of both personal and professional endeavors. And the growth of tech has only helped to further my productivity and time spent with my loved ones.

Here are a few examples of how tech can help balance your life.

1. It can get you there faster

Whether “there” is home, work, or a quick errand, tech advancements are helping us race the clock faster than ever before. Whether you’re simply using Google Maps or a more focused app like Waze or Beat The Traffic, you’re now able to find the fastest route quickly.

The minutes you’re saving will likely go back to spending time with your family, significant other or even your hobbies. In fact, a shorter commute may even save your relationship — one study found commutes longer than 45 minutes mean you’re 40 percent more likely to get divorced. You should never let work affect personal relationships, especially if it can be salvaged with better time management.

2. It can give you a much-needed productivity boost

We all know productivity and technology don’t always get along, which may even be how you happened upon this article in the first place. But when used correctly, tech apps and tools can be your productivity secret weapon.

Take Evernote, for example. This app syncs all of your notes, to-do lists, clipping and general reminders across devices, ensuring you never forget anything again. An app like CloudOn will help you boost your productivity by creating documents across Microsoft Office platforms on the go. These, along with countless other tools — like ActiveInbox or Google Drive — are here to help you get your work done and spend more time with those you love.

3. It streamlines your news and information consumption

Gone are the days of timely news reading (think back to starting your day with the newspaper). Thanks to tech, we can now get news and information faster than ever before and in a more organized, digestible way.

Take the multisource video news service Newsy, for example. It analyzes world news for you and produces two-to-three minute, streaming video clips. Or consider The Skimm, a daily newsletter that simplifies headlines. Less time spent sifting and consuming leaves you with more time to get to the things that matter.

Alternatively, if you do find something you want to devote more time to reading later, there are always apps like Pocket and Instapaper. Better yet, save the long reads for the commute if you use public transportation and kill two birds with one stone.

4. It saves you money

Budgeting, saving, and checkbook balancing aren’t just time consuming, they’re also frustrating. But thanks to tech, there are a number of ways to keep your budget in check and find ways to get more for your money.

This could mean booking a cheaper flight, using sites like Kayak, so you can finally go on vacation or finding a low-cost concert ticket. It could also mean earning extra cash by selling old items on Craigslist or getting your daily to-do list done with help from TaskRabbit. Years ago, these things just weren’t as easy as they are today.

5. It cuts normal tasks in half

Think back to the days when a movie night with your family meant a lengthy trip to Blockbuster. Today, you’re able to cut the time spent choosing a movie to watch in half with Netflix.

Grocery shopping has already been made easier thanks to services like Peapod and soon, Amazon Fresh. Both will deliver groceries straight to your door, no need to enter a grocery store.

Tech has provided us with seemingly endless options for getting things done more efficiently. I even built Open Me, my online greeting card company, around this very concept. Being thoughtful and sending a greeting card is a whole lot easier without having to go to the dreaded stationery aisle and spend who knows how long picking the “right” card.

6. It helps us get the best option

Thanks to the numerous online review sites for every product, service, company or experience, we’re now able to save time and go with the most-approved option. Sites like Yelp mean you never have to go without a personalized review again. This means less dinners ruined by poor service and food and more time enjoying life.

Tech isn’t just helpful, it’s becoming an unmatched part of how we find balance and efficiency in our daily lives. Just remember to use them effectively instead of relying on them to begin making choices for you. You still have to be control of your own life.

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