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14 Smart Apps To Improve Your Work/Life Balance

14 Smart Apps To Improve Your Work/Life Balance

Some days we just have too many demands competing for our precious time – between work, family time, hobbies and personal goals, managing our time in a way that leaves us content rather than frazzled, could be a particular challenge for a lot of us. Luckily, we have technology to help us cope.

If you have the feeling you have been constantly busy, juggling too much things at a time and in the end of the day still feeling you haven’t accomplish everything you’ve planned, here are 14 smart apps to help you achieve the right balance between work and play time!

1.Timeneye (For smart time management)

Timeneye

    Timeneye is a free visually appealing, non-distracting time tracking app for personal use to monitor how you spend your time on basically anything – from work projects to hobbies. You can easily sync it with other software like Basecamp, Google Calendar, Asana, Trello and track your time without switching between them. In time the app will learn about your habits and automatically create suggested time entries for you! That means you spend less time on dull work and have more room for creativity and innovation.

    Timeneye is available as a web service, Android and iOS app for free for personal use and costs from $9/month for teams up to 5 people. You can check all available plans here.

    2. Tribesports (For regular workouts)

    Tribe Sports

      With Tribesports you will have more motivation to stick to your workout schedule. This cool app allows sporty users to connect with each other, find inspiration for training and complete various fitness challenges. With an inbuilt GPS tracker you can monitor and analyze all your activity, keep all vitals in one place, make photos and record your routine to share it with the rest of community. The app tracks your fitness goals and gives you a detailed visual overview of your progress each week/month/all time to keep you inspired to find more time and energy for sports!

      Available for free for iOS and Android devices.

      3. Focus Booster (For staying on task)

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      focus booster

        Focus Booster encourages you to stop wasting time on unneeded tasks and get straight to business. Based on the Pomodoro technique, the app allows you to set ‘focus’ time windows and breaks and switch on the timer to start work. During your work time you can’t stop the timer as your session won’t be recorded and added to your time sheet. This app is essential for freelancers to bill their clients correctly by setting up hourly rates for each client and then just auto-tracking the time you’ve spent on the project. And pretty much everyone else planning to use their time wise.

        Available as a desktop app for free with premium features starting from $2.99 per month.

        4. Slice (for smarter online shopping)

        Slice app

          Slice is a handy email add-on that will search your email inbox to find and collect all online order receipt information and store it in a neat list.  In fact you can create different handy lists, e.g. to track package delivery dates or a smart wish list that will automatically send you notification if a product’s price drop.  With Slice, you can spend less time on browsing through numerous shopping sites and have your inbox flooded with different alerts and notifications at once!

          Available for free as an iOS and Android app.

          5. SavedPlus (For saving money the smart way)

          SavedPlus

            SavedPlus encourages you to save money without even realizing it (or doing some crazy math). To start saving all you need to do is connect your credit cards and bank accounts and set a percentage that will be auto transferred to you savings account. For instance, if you spend $50 on eating out, and you’ve said you want to save 10 per cent of your total spending, then $5 will immediately go straight from you current account to your savings account. Try it and by the end of the month you’ll be surprised how easy saving money could be!

            Available for free as a desktop, iOS and Android app.

            6. Simply Yoga (For timely breaks)

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            Simply Yoga

              Simply Yoga app will help you squeeze in a 10, 20, 40 or 60-minute yoga workout wherever you are. The app walks you through more than 60 poses step-by-step and allows to built custom workouts. Remember, physical exercises help you stay productive and instantly reduce stress!

              Available for $3.99 for iOS devices.

              7. Splashtop Remote Desktop (For spending less time at the desk)

              Splashtop

                To get things done on the go no matter where on Earth you are, install Splashtop Remote Desktop. The app allows you to access all your PC or Mac files and programs from smartphone or tablet. It also streams video and audio from users’ PCs or Macs, and interact with PowerPoint, Keynote, Word, Excel and other application. Don’t feel glued to your desk and laptop longer than it is needed!

                Available for all operational systems and numerous types of devices starting from $4.99.

                8. Way of Life (For breaking bad habits)

                Way of Life

                  One of the reasons why you are struggling to achieve proper life balance, might be your habits – e.g. lack of proper sleep, pour diet etc. Way of life helps you get rid of the bad ones and develop good ones instead. You can plot daily/weekly goals and track whether or not you are meeting them. Your progress is visually displayed in form of bar charts with trend lines, scoreboards for instant feedback and multiple daily reminders.

                  Available for iOS devices for free.

                  9. Cozi Family Organizer (For more family time)

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                  Cozy

                    Make sure you always have time for the family with the help of Cozi Family Organizer. The app allows you to manage family members’ schedules, appointments and activities, so you never miss your kid’s football match once again. Sync it with Google calendar, share to-do/shopping lists and keep a family collection of recipes to shop by dish. The app is essential to organize your family life efficiently and always make sure you have time for everyone!

                    Available for free for iOS, Android and Windows devices.

                    10. Stress Tracker (For eliminating stress)

                    Stress Tracker

                      Capture and reduce stress levels thought the day with Stress Tracker. You can record your stress levels during the day. Add different info such as the source of stress, symptoms of stress, and overall mood. Afterwards use the app’s “insights” tools to identify your biggest triggers and learn to avoid them. After all, a balanced life is a less stressed life!

                      Available for iOS devices only.

                      11. Daily Routine (For managing your daily chores)

                      Daily Routine

                        The name says for itself in this case. Daily Routine app helps you keep track of all your daily tasks and sends notifications on what you should be doing and when. You can schedule routines for specific days of the week/month and add special reminders for those tasks you typically forget. Now, you won’t spend your precious time on running to the nearby corner store late at night when you forgot to buy cat food again. Besides, you can easily print out your daily chores created with the app and stick them to the fridge or cubicle-wall.

                        Available for $4.99 for iOS devices only.

                        12. SortMyBox (For online de-cluttering)

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                        Sort My Inbox

                          While de-cluttering your house seems like a daunting task, de-cluttering online files can get even more frustrating. Yet, SortMyBox can easily help you with that! The app helps you clean up and organize all your Dropbox files, so you could spend less time on digging for what you need! You can set special filters for different type of files (just like in your email) to avoid the mess later on.

                          Available as desktop app for free.

                          13. IFTTT (For eliminating routine)

                          ifttt

                            IFTTT stands for If This Then That and allows you to easily program repetitive actions and avoid spending time on them in the first place! For example, if the weather changes to rain, the app will send a text to warn me; if I post photo on Instagram it’s adapted and auto-shared on Twitter. This app saves you some valuable minutes each day that turn into hours by the end of the week.

                            Available as a web-based service for free.

                            14. Zirtual (For virtual assistance)

                            Zirtual

                              If you are still struggling with finding more time for play, get help from Zirtual. The service assigns you a dedicated virtual PA to take some of the administrative and organizational tasks off of your plate. Zirtual assistants can respond to emails, coordinate and schedule travel plans, manage your calendar, create itineraries and pretty much anything else you assign them to do.

                              Plans start from $399 per month and you can check all options available here.

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                              Elena Prokopets

                              Freelance Writer

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                              Last Updated on September 20, 2018

                              8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

                              8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

                              You go to the gym to train your muscles. You run outside or go for hikes to train your endurance. Or, maybe you do neither of those, but still wish you exercised more.

                              Well, here is how to train one of the most important parts of your body: your brain.

                              When you train your brain, you will:

                              • Avoid embarrassing situations. You remember his face, but what was his name?
                              • Be a faster learner in all sorts of different skills. No problem for you to pick up a new language or new management skill.
                              • Avoid diseases that hit as you get older. Alzheimer’s will not be affecting you.

                              So how to train your brain and improve your cognitive skills?

                              1. Work your memory

                              Twyla Tharp, a NYC-based renowned choreographer has come up with the following memory workout:

                              When she watches one of her performances, she tries to remember the first twelve to fourteen corrections she wants to discuss with her cast without writing them down.

                              If you think this is anything less than a feat, then think again. In her book The Creative Habit she says that most people cannot remember more than three.

                              The practice of both remembering events or things and then discussing them with others has actually been supported by brain fitness studies.

                              Memory activities that engage all levels of brain operation—receiving, remembering and thinking—help to improve the function of the brain.

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                              Now, you may not have dancers to correct, but you may be required to give feedback on a presentation, or your friends may ask you what interesting things you saw at the museum. These are great opportunities to practically train your brain by flexing your memory muscles.

                              What is the simplest way to help yourself remember what you see? Repetition.

                              For example, say you just met someone new:

                              “Hi, my name is George”

                              Don’t just respond with, “Nice to meet you”. Instead, say, “Nice to meet you George.”

                              Got it? Good.

                              2. Do something different repeatedly

                              By actually doing something new over and over again, your brain wires new pathways that help you do this new thing better and faster.

                              Think back to when you were three years old. You surely were strong enough to hold a knife and a fork just fine. Yet, when you were eating all by yourself, you were creating a mess.

                              It was not a matter of strength, you see. It was a matter of cultivating more and better neural pathways that would help you eat by yourself just like an adult does.

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                              And guess what? With enough repetition you made that happen!

                              But how does this apply to your life right now?

                              Say you are a procrastinator. The more you don’t procrastinate, the more you teach your brain not to wait for the last minute to make things happen.

                              Now, you might be thinking “Duh, if only not procrastinating could be that easy!”

                              Well, it can be. By doing something really small, that you wouldn’t normally do, but is in the direction of getting that task done, you will start creating those new precious neural pathways.

                              So if you have been postponing organizing your desk, just take one paper and put in its right place. Or, you can go even smaller. Look at one piece of paper and decide where to put it: Trash? Right cabinet? Another room? Give it to someone?

                              You don’t actually need to clean up that paper; you only need to decide what you need to do with it.

                              That’s how small you can start. And yet, those neural pathways are still being built. Gradually, you will transform yourself from a procrastinator to an in-the-moment action taker.

                              3. Learn something new

                              It might sound obvious, but the more you use your brain, the better its going to perform for you.

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                              For example, learning a new instrument improves your skill of translating something you see (sheet music) to something you actually do (playing the instrument).

                              Learning a new language exposes your brain to a different way of thinking, a different way of expressing yourself.

                              You can even literally take it a step further, and learn how to dance. Studies indicate that learning to dance helps seniors avoid Alzheimer’s. Not bad, huh?

                              4. Follow a brain training program

                              The Internet world can help you improve your brain function while lazily sitting on your couch. A clinically proven program like BrainHQ can help you improve your memory, or think faster, by just following their brain training exercises.

                              5. Work your body

                              You knew this one was coming didn’t you? Yes indeed, exercise does not just work your body; it also improves the fitness of your brain.

                              Even briefly exercising for 20 minutes facilitates information processing and memory functions. But it’s not just that–exercise actually helps your brain create those new neural connections faster. You will learn faster, your alertness level will increase, and you get all that by moving your body.

                              Now, if you are not already a regular exerciser, and already feel guilty that you are not helping your brain by exercising more, try a brain training exercise program like Exercise Bliss.

                              Remember, just like we discussed in #2, by training your brain to do something new repeatedly, you are actually changing yourself permanently.

                              6. Spend time with your loved ones

                              If you want optimal cognitive abilities, then you’ve got to have meaningful relationships in your life.  Talking with others and engaging with your loved ones helps you think more clearly, and it can also lift your mood.

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                              If you are an extrovert, this holds even more weight for you. At a class at Stanford University, I learned that extroverts actually use talking to other people as a way to understand and process their own thoughts.

                              I remember that the teacher told us that after a personality test said she was an extrovert, she was surprised. She had always thought of herself as an introvert. But then, she realized how much talking to others helped her frame her own thoughts, so she accepted her new-found status as an extrovert.

                              7. Avoid crossword puzzles

                              Many of us, when we think of brain fitness, think of crossword puzzles. And it’s true–crossword puzzles do improve our fluency, yet studies show they are not enough by themselves.

                              Are they fun? Yes. Do they sharpen your brain? Not really.

                              Of course, if you are doing this for fun, then by all means go ahead. If you are doing it for brain fitness, then you might want to choose another activity

                              8. Eat right – and make sure dark chocolate is included

                              Foods like fish, fruits, and vegetables help your brain perform optimally. Yet, you might not know that dark chocolate gives your brain a good boost as well.

                              When you eat chocolate, your brain produces dopamine. And dopamine helps you learn faster and remember better. Not to mention, chocolate contains flavonols, antioxidants, which also improve your brain functions.

                              So next time you have something difficult to do, make sure you grab a bite or two of dark chocolate!

                              The bottom line

                              Now that you know how to train your brain, it’s actually time to start doing.

                              Don’t just consume this content and then go on with your life as if nothing has changed. Put this knowledge into action and become smarter than ever!

                              Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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