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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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                              Published on January 16, 2019

                              How to Effectively Manage a Heavy Workload at Work

                              How to Effectively Manage a Heavy Workload at Work

                              We’re all busy, but sometimes we go through periods where the work piles up and it seems like it might never end.

                              You might have such a heavy workload that it feels too intimidating to even start.

                              You may have said yes to some or too many projects, and now you’re afraid you won’t be able to deliver.

                              That’s when you need to take a step back, take a deep breath, and start looking at what’s working and what’s not working.

                              Here’re 13 strategies you can use to get out from under your overwhelming workload:

                              1. Acknowledge You Can’t Do It All

                              Many of us have a tendency to think we can do more than we actually can. We take on more and more projects and responsibility and wear numerous hats.

                              We all have the opportunity to have and take on more work than we can reasonably expect to get done. Unfortunately, our workload is not static. Even now, while you are reading this article, I’m guessing that your inbox is filling up with fresh new tasks.

                              To make real, effective progress, you have to have both the courage and resourcefulness to say, “This is not working”. Acknowledge that you can’t do it all and look for better solutions.

                              At any given time in your life, there are likely many things that aren’t going according to plan. You have to be willing to be honest with yourself and those around you about what’s not working for you, both personally and professionally.

                              The more you exercise your ability to tell the truth about what’s working and what’s not working, the faster you’ll make progress.

                              2. Focus on Your Unique Strengths

                              Whether you’re an entrepreneur, a leader or working as part of a team, every individual has unique strengths they can bring to the table.

                              The challenge is that many people end up doing things that they’re simply not very good at.

                              In the pursuit of reaching your goals or delivering a project, people end up doing everything themselves or taking on things that don’t play to their unique strengths. This can result in frustration, overwhelm and overwork.

                              It can mean projects taking a lot longer to complete because of knowledge gaps, or simply not utilizing the unique strengths of other people you work with.

                              It is often not about how to complete this project more effectively but who can help deliver this project.

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                              So, what are your unique strengths that will ensure your workload is delivered more effectively? Here’re some questions to help you reflect:

                              • Are you a great strategist?
                              • Are you an effective planner?
                              • Is Project Management your strength?
                              • Is communication and bringing people together your strength?
                              • Are you the ideas person?
                              • Is Implementation your strength?

                              Think about how you can bring the biggest value to your work and the projects you undertake.

                              3. Use the Strengths of Your Team

                              One of the simplest ways to manage your workload effectively is to free up your time so you bring your highest level of energy, focus and strengths to each project.

                              Delegation or better teamwork is the solution.

                              Everyone has unique strengths. It’s essential to think teamwork rather than working in isolation to ensure projects can be completed effectively. Besides, every time you give away a task or project that doesn’t play to your unique strengths, you open up an opportunity to do something you’re more talented at. This will empower both yourself and those around you.

                              Rather than taking on all the responsibilities yourself, look at who you can work with to deliver the best results possible.

                              4. Take Time for Planning

                              “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe”. – Abraham Lincoln

                              One hour of effective planning could save hours of time. Rather than just rushing in and getting started on projects, take the time to map everything in.

                              You can take the time to think about:

                              • What’s the purpose of the project?
                              • How Important is it?
                              • When does it need to be delivered by?
                              • What is the best result and worst result for this project?
                              • What are the KPIs?
                              • What does the project plan and key milestones look like?
                              • Who is working on this project?
                              • What is everyone’s responsibilities?
                              • What tolerances can I add in?
                              • What are the review stages?
                              • What are the challenges we may face and the solutions for these challenges?

                              Having absolute clarity on the project, the project deliverables and the result you want can save a lot of time. It also gets you clear on the priorities and timelines, so you can block out the required amount of time to focus and concentrate.

                              5. Focus on Priorities

                              Not everything is a priority, although it can often feel, in the moment, that it is.

                              Whatever you’re working on, there is always the Most Urgent, Important or Most Valuable projects or tasks.

                              One tool you can use to maximize your productivity and focus on your biggest priorities is to use the Eisenhower Matrix. This strategic tool for taking action on the things that matter most is simple. You separate your actions based on four possibilities:

                              1. Urgent and important (tasks you will do immediately).
                              2. Important, but not urgent (tasks you will schedule to do later).
                              3. Urgent, but not important (tasks you will delegate to someone else).
                              4. Neither urgent nor important (tasks that you will eliminate).

                              James Clear has a great description on how to use the Eisenhower Matrix: How to be More Productive By Using the Eisenhower Box

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                                The method I use with my coaching clients is to ask them to lay out their Top Five priorities for the day. Then to start with the most important priority first. At the end of the day, you review performance against these priorities.

                                If you didn’t get everything accomplished, start the next day with your number one priority.

                                If you are given additional task/projects during the day, then you will need to gauge their importance V the other priorities.

                                6. Take Time Out

                                To stay on top of a heavy workload, it’s important to take time out to rest and recuperate.

                                If your energy levels are high and your mind and body is refreshed and alert, you are in more of a peak state to handle a heavy workload.

                                Take time out of your day to go for a walk or get some exercise in. Leave early when possible and spend time with people who give you a lot of energy.

                                In the background, it’s essential to get a good night’s sleep and eat healthily to sharpen the mind.

                                Take a look at this article learn about The Importance of Scheduling Downtime.

                                7. Maintain a Healthy Work-Life Balance

                                Maintaining a healthy work-life balance can be tough. The balance we all crave is very different from one another.

                                I’ve written before about 13 Work Life Balance Tips for a Happy and Productive Life. Working longer and harder doesn’t mean achieving more, especially if you have no time to spend with the people that matter most. The quality of who you are as a person, the relationships you have, the time you spend in work, deciding on what matters most is completely within your control.

                                Work-life balance is about finding peace within yourself to be fully present, wherever you are, whether that be in the office or at home, right now. It’s about choosing what matters most and creating your own balanced life.

                                If you feel there is not enough balance, then it may be time to make a change.

                                8. Stop Multitasking

                                Multi-tasking is a myth. Your brain simply can’t work effectively by doing more than one thing at a time—at least more than one thing that requires focused attention.

                                So get your list of priorities (see earlier point), do the most important thing first, then move to the next item and work down your list.

                                When you split your focus over a multitude of different areas, you can’t consistently deliver a high performance. You won’t be fully present on the one task or project at hand.

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                                If you allocate blocked time and create firm boundaries for specific activities and commitments, you won’t feel so overwhelmed or overworked with everything you have to do.

                                9. Work in Blocks of Time

                                To keep your energy up to produce your best results it’s essential to take regular breaks.

                                I use the 60-60-30 method myself and teach it to my coaching clients.

                                Work on a project for a sustained period of 50 minutes.

                                Then take a 10-minute break. This could be taking a walk, having a healthy snack or just having a conversation with someone.

                                Then continue to work on the project for a further 50 minutes.

                                Then take another 10-minute break.

                                Then take a complete 30-minute break to unplug from the work. This could be time for a proper lunch, a quick bit of exercise, reading or having a walk.

                                By simply taking some time out, your energy levels stay up, the quality of your work improves and you reduce the risk of becoming burned out.

                                10. Get Rid of Distractions

                                Make an estimation on how many times you are distracted during an average working day. Now take that number and multiply it by 25. According to Gloria Mark in her study on The Cost of Interrupted Work, it takes us an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to return to the original task after interruption.[1]

                                “Our research has shown that attention distraction can lead to higher stress, a bad mood and lower productivity.”

                                Distractions don’t just take up your time during the distraction, they can derail your mental progress and focus for almost 25 minutes. So, if you are distracted 5 times per day, you could be losing almost 2 hours every day of productive work and almost 10 hours every week.

                                If you have an important project to work on, find a space where you won’t be distracted, or try doing this.

                                11. Commit Focused Time to Smaller Tasks

                                You know sometimes, you need to simply tackle these tasks and take action on them. But there’s always something more pressing.

                                Small tasks can often get in the way of your most important projects. They sit there on your daily To Do list but are often forgotten about because of more important priorities or because they hold no interest for you. But they take up mental energy. They clutter your mind.

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                                Commit to spending a specific period of time completing all the small tasks you have on your To Do list. It will give you peace of mind and the space to focus more on your bigger priorities.

                                12. Take a Time Audit

                                Do you know exactly where your time is going each day? Are you spending too long on certain projects and tasks to the detriment of bigger opportunities?

                                Spend a bit of time to analyze where you are spending your time. This insight will amaze you and give you the clarity to start adjusting where you focus your time and on what projects.

                                You can start by taking a piece of paper and creating three columns:

                                Column A is Priority Work. Column B is Good Work. Column C is low value work or stuff.

                                Each day, write down the project or task and the time spent on each. Allocate that time to one of the columns.

                                At the end of the week, record the total time spent in each column.

                                If you are spending far too much time on certain types of work, look to change things so your focused time is in Column B and C.

                                13. Protect Your Confidence

                                It is essential to protect our confidence to ensure we don’t get overwhelmed, stressed and lose belief.

                                When you have confidence as a daily resource, you are in a better position to problem solve, learn quicker, respond to anything, adjust to anything, and achieve your biggest opportunities.

                                Confidence gives you the ability to transform fear into focused and relaxed thinking, communication, and action. This is key to put your mind into a productive state.

                                When confidence is high, you can clearly see the possibilities at hand and create strategies to take advantage of them, or to solve the challenges you face each day.

                                Final Words

                                A heavy workload can be tough to deal with and can cause stress, burnout and ongoing frustration.

                                The key is to tackle it head on, rather than let it go on and compound the long-term effects. Hopefully, you can take action on at least one of these tips.

                                If it gets too much, and negatively affects your physical and mental health, it may be time to talk to someone. Instead of dealing with it alone and staying unhappier, resentful and getting to a point where you simply can’t cope, you have to make a change for your own sanity.

                                Featured photo credit: Hannah Wei via unsplash.com

                                Reference

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