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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 March 21, 2019

                              11 Important Things to Remember When Changing Habits

                              11 Important Things to Remember When Changing Habits

                              Most gurus talk about habits in a way that doesn’t help you:

                              You need to push yourself more. You can’t be lazy. You need to wake up at 5 am. You need more motivation. You can never fail…blah blah “insert more gibberish here.”

                              But let me share with you the unconventional truths I found out:

                              To build and change habits, you don’t need motivation or wake up at 5 am. Heck, you can fail multiple times, be lazy, have no motivation and still pull it off with ease.

                              It’s quite simple and easy to do, especially with the following list I’m going to show to you. But remember, Jim Rohn used to say,

                              “What is simple and easy to do is also simple and easy not to do.”

                              The important things to remember when changing your habits are both simple and easy, just don’t think that they don’t make any difference because they do.

                              In fact, they are the only things that make a difference.

                              Let’s see what those small things are, shall we?

                              1. Start Small

                              The biggest mistake I see people doing with habits is by going big. You don’t go big…ever. You start small with your habits.

                              Want to grow a book reading habit? Don’t start reading a book a day. Start with 10 pages a day.

                              Want to become a writer? Don’t start writing 10,000 words a day. Start with 300 words.

                              Want to lose weight? Don’t stop eating ice cream. Eat one less ball of it.

                              Whatever it is, you need to start small. Starting big always leads to failure. It has to, because it’s not sustainable.

                              Start small. How small? The amount needs to be in your comfort zone. So if you think that reading 20 pages of a book is a bit too much, start with 10 or 5.

                              It needs to appear easy and be easy to do.

                              Do less today to do more in a year.

                              2. Stay Small

                              There is a notion of Kaizen which means continuous improvement. They use this notion in habits where they tell you to start with reading 1 page of a book a day and then gradually increase the amount you do over time.

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                              But the problem with this approach is the end line — where the “improvement” stops.

                              If I go from reading 1 page of a book a day and gradually reach 75 and 100, when do I stop? When I reach 1 book a day? That is just absurd.

                              When you start a habit, stay at it in the intensity you have decided. Don’t push yourself for more.

                              I started reading 20 pages of a book a day. It’s been more than 2 years now and I’ve read 101 books in that period. There is no way I will increase the number in the future.

                              Why?

                              Because reading 40 to 50 books a year is enough.

                              The same thing applies to every other habit out there.

                              Pick a (small) number and stay at it.

                              3. Bad Days Are 100 Percent Occurrence

                              No matter how great you are, you will have bad days where you won’t do your habit. Period.

                              There is no way of going around this. So it’s better to prepare yourself for when that happens instead of thinking that it won’t ever happen.

                              What I do when I miss a day of my habit(s) is that I try to bounce back the next day while trying to do habits for both of those days.

                              Example for that is if I read 20 pages of a book a day and I miss a day, the next day I will have to read 40 pages of a book. If I miss writing 500 words, the next day I need to write 1000.

                              This is a really important point we will discuss later on rewards and punishments.

                              This is how I prepare for the bad days when I skip my habit(s) and it’s a model you should take as well.

                              4. Those Who Track It, Hack It

                              When you track an activity, you can objectively tell what you did in the past days, weeks, months, and years. If you don’t track, you will for sure forget everything you did.

                              There are many different ways you can track your activities today, from Habitica to a simple Excel sheet that I use, to even a Whatsapp Tracker.

                              Peter Drucker said,

                              “What you track is what you do.”

                              So track it to do it — it really helps.

                              But tracking is accompanied by one more easy activity — measuring.

                              5. Measure Once, Do Twice

                              Peter Drucker also said,

                              “What you measure is what you improve.”

                              So alongside my tracker, I have numbers with which I measure doses of daily activities:

                              For reading, it’s 20 pages.
                              For writing, it’s 500 words.
                              For the gym, it’s 1 (I went) or 0 (didn’t go).
                              For budgeting, it’s writing down the incomes and expenses.

                              Tracking and measuring go hand in hand, they take less than 20 seconds a day but they create so much momentum that it’s unbelievable.

                              6. All Days Make a Difference

                              Will one day in the gym make you fit? It won’t.

                              Will two? They won’t.

                              Will three? They won’t.

                              Which means that a single gym session won’t make you fit. But after 100 gym sessions, you will look and feel fit.

                              What happened? Which one made you fit?

                              The answer to this (Sorites paradox)[1] is that no single gym session made you fit, they all did.

                              No single day makes a difference, but when combined, they all do. So trust the process and keep on going (small).

                              7. They Are Never Fully Automated

                              Gurus tell you that habits become automatic. And yes, some of them do, like showering a certain way of brushing your teeth.

                              But some habits don’t become automatic, they become a lifestyle.

                              What I mean by that is that you won’t automatically “wake up” in the gym and wonder how you got there.

                              It will just become a part of your lifestyle.

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                              The difference is that you do the first one automatically, without conscious thought, while the other is a part of how you live your life.

                              It’s not automatic, but it’s a decision you don’t ponder on or think about — you simply do it.

                              It will become easy at a certain point, but they will never become fully automated.

                              8. What Got You Here Won’t Get You There

                              Marshall Goldsmith has a great book with the same title to it. The phrase means that sometimes, you will need to ditch certain habits to make room for other ones which will bring you to the next step.

                              Don’t be afraid to evolve your habits when you sense that they don’t bring you where you want to go.

                              When I started reading, it was about reading business and tactic books. But two years into it, I switched to philosophy books which don’t teach me anything “applicable,” but instead teach me how to think.

                              The most important ability of the 21st century is the ability to learn, unlearn, and relearn. The strongest tree is the willow tree – not because it has the strongest root or biggest trunk, but because it is flexible enough to endure and sustain anything.

                              Be like a willow, adapting to the new ways of doing things.

                              9. Set a Goal and Then Forget It

                              The most successful of us know what they want to achieve, but they don’t focus on it.

                              Sounds paradoxical? You’re right, it does. But here is the logic behind it.

                              You need to have a goal of doing something – “I want to become a healthy individual” – and then, you need to reverse engineer how to get there with your habits- “I will go to the gym four times a week.”

                              But once you have your goal, you need to “forget” about it and only focus on the process. Because you are working on the process of becoming healthy and it’s always in the making. You will only be as healthy as you take care of your body.

                              So you have a goal which isn’t static but keeps on moving.

                              If you went to the gym 150 times year and you hit your goal, what would you do then? You would stop going to the gym.

                              This is why goal-oriented people experience yo-yo effect[2] and why process-oriented people don’t.

                              The difference between process-oriented and goal-oriented people is that the first focus on daily actions while others only focus on the reward at the finish line.

                              Set a goal but then forget about it and reap massive awards.

                              10. Punish Yourself

                              Last two sections are pure Pavlovian – you need to punish bad behavior and reward good behavior. You are the only person who decides what is good and what is bad for you, but when you do, you need to rigorously follow that.

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                              I’ve told you in point #3 about bad days and how after one occurs, I do double the work on the next day. That is one of my forms of punishments.

                              It’s the need to tell your brain that certain behaviors are unacceptable and that they lead to bad outcomes. That’s what punishments are for.

                              You want to tell your brain that there are real consequences to missing your daily habits.[3]

                              No favorite food to eat or favorite show to watch or going to the cinema for a new Marvel movie- none, zero, zilch.

                              The brain will remember these bad feelings and will try to avoid the behaviors that led to them as much as possible.

                              But don’t forget the other side of the same coin.

                              11. Reward Yourself

                              When you follow and execute on your plan, reward yourself. It’s how the brain knows that you did something good.

                              Whenever I finish one of my habits for the day, I open my tracker (who am I kidding, I always keep it open on my desktop) and fill it with a number. As soon as I finish reading 20 pages of a book a day (or a bit more), I open the tracker and write the number down.

                              The cell becomes green and gives me an instant boost of endorphin – a great success for the day. Then, it becomes all about not breaking the chain and having as many green fields as possible.

                              After 100 days, I crunch some numbers and see how I did.

                              If I have less than 10 cheat days, I reward myself with a great meal in a restaurant. You can create your own rewards and they can be daily, weekly, monthly or any arbitrary time table that you create.

                              Primoz Bozic, a productivity coach, has gold, silver, and bronze medals as his reward system.[4]

                              If you’re having problems creating a system which works for you, contact me via email and we can discuss specifics.

                              In the End, It Matters

                              What you do matters not only to you but to the people around you.

                              When you increase the quality of your life, you indirectly increase the quality of life of people around you. And sometimes, that is all the “motivation” we need to start.

                              And that’s the best quote for the end of this article:

                              “Motivation gets you started, but habits keep you going.”

                              Keep going.

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                              More Resources to Help You Build Habits

                              Featured photo credit: Anete Lūsiņa via unsplash.com

                              Reference

                              [1] Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Sorites paradox
                              [2] Muscle Zone: What causes yo-yo effect and how to avoid it?
                              [3] Growth Habits: 5 Missteps That Cause You To Quit Building A Habit
                              [4] Primoz Bozic: The Lean Review: How to Plan Your 2019 in 20 Minutes

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