In an age where technology has given us so many “shortcuts” to make life easier, why do we all feel so stressed? Take one pandemic, add in difficulties adjusting to work, school and life at home, and that equals a whole lot of anxiety. The main reason for these problems, though, doesn’t always lie in the technology, but in the way – or how much – it’s being used.

For example, a study from Common Sense Media shows that smart phones, something designed to give people more “freedom,” actually rarely leave our sides – even at night! According to the study (pdf link), a third of teens actually sleep with their devices — girls more than boys, according to findings (PDF) in The New Normal: Parents, Teens, Screens, and Sleep in the United States. Parents aren’t better, with 62% keeping phones in reach of their bed.

Screen addiction aside, technology does have potential for good, we just have to pay attention to how we use it. That’s why we’re sharing a few ways technology can help cut back on the chaos, boost productivity, and provide a much-needed break.

Email autoresponders

When you work from home, it can be easy to fall into the trap of sending and responding to emails at all times of the day, outside of traditional office hours. According to Harvard Business Review, the average office worker spends 28% of their workday reading and replying to emails. And according to Fast Company, 22% of American workers check their email in the middle of the night, while 58% check it in bed just after waking up.

If you want to cut back on your Inbox time but still be available, email autoresponders can help. An email autoresponder can be as simple as sending a reply confirming receipt of an email and when they should expect your full response, or it can be used to roll out multi-email sequences for things like keeping your email list engaged, building relationships and reminding someone to make a purchase if they’ve abandoned their eCommerce shopping cart.

Project management software

Managing a project at any time is fast-paced, high-pressure work — even more so when you’re doing it from your home office. By streamlining your project management process, you will be able to improve time- and cost-efficiency, have a greater ability to predict and solve issues before they blow up, increase collaboration and decrease inefficiency throughout your team. Though there are several task management tools that will get the job done, check out top-rated ones including Asana, BaseCamp and Trello.

Automation software

When it comes to productivity, having a technology shortcut that can automate common tasks for you can be a gamechanger. Zapier is one tool like this that can automate workflows across the various software solutions you use for your business. For example, you could set up Zapier so that it will send copies of attachments received in Gmail to Dropbox, then alert you about the new files in your project management software such as Asana.

Stress Breaks

Finally, one of the best ways to reduce stress in your workday is to take advantage of technology that was created for this very task.

  • Stress-relieving apps number in the millions and provide everything from mood tracking, to games that reduce anxiety, to squeezing a virtual rubber duck.
  • Fitness trackers and smart watches are for more than just counting steps. Many have features that help reduce stress such as breathing exercises or simple reminders through the day.
  • Streaming services on phone or tv also include music or videos that promote relaxation and stress-reduction.