Why aren’t more people as productive as they should be? Procrastination seems obvious, but is there more to it? People of all ages simply don’t do the things they could potentially do to deliver their highest quality product or service. Why is this?

Often, the best product or service is simply the end result of an appropriate plan. When we plan, we increase productivity, reduce stress and experience fewer episodes of critical eyes.

As a health academy high school teacher, I find that deadlines, lead times, group activities, board presentations and dozens of other time tables are the foundation of productivity determining whether or not students receive their fair share of instruction while gaining opportunities for work-based learning with our business partners. Students need structure and guidance, which evolve from planning.

What is the key ingredient to planning (which is often easier said than done)? In the 21st century, few can plan without the use of technology. Nowadays, most problems are solved with, “there’s an app for that.” Sounds cliché, but it’s true. What’s the right app? Some of the best apps are free. Remind.com allows the leader / teacher to be able to create groups and send email and text messages 24 hours a day. Messages can even be scheduled to be sent in the future. It’s like Star Trek, for the regular guy (or girl).

While Google is well-known, few actually use the calendar functions to their full potential. It’s like driving your Corvette in second gear everywhere you go; you haven’t yet seen what it can really do. Google allows the user to sync their Google calendar with their phone, so whatever is entered on the phone, is also entered on the calendar, and vise-versa. You can even import and export calendars to make them visible to others. If your phone is lost, your calendar and contacts are saved.

The purpose of using apps like Google calendar and Remind is to reduce repetition; if you have to do an activity more than once, you can automate. The number of people who still rely on a paper planner and individual text messages would shock the masses. The sooner you take advantage of technological options, the quicker productivity will increase – no matter the profession.

Another benefit of effective planning through technology is to empower the team. While micromanagement seems to contribute to productivity, it actually reduces efficiency. When employees are given leeway to deliver their version of the mission, they learn to deliver.

There are thousands of apps in our electronic world which can enable the leader to be a more effective leader. The use of technology and termination of the micromanager can also empower the team and increase productivity.

In the health care industry, without effective plans in place, the end result will likely not match up to expectations. Educating future health professionals is only possible with the use of technology and creative planning. Just remember, there’s an app for that!

Editorial by Simon Moore, a ten-year teacher, Lead of the Coachella Valley High School Health Academy, and health services contributor with over twenty years EMS and public relations experience.

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