While the integration of modern technology into our everyday lives helps in a myriad of ways, it can also negatively affect our health and wellness at the same time. According to a recent study from Nielsen, the average American spends 11 hours a day online with 62% of that time spent on a tablet or smartphone. Why not make that time work for you?
Mobile-apps continue to revolutionize the way people shop, communicate, share and work. For those who are health-conscious, apps can even help maintain a healthy lifestyle. If you’ve read our 360-degree view on workplace wellness, then you’ll know that corporate programs, no matter how well intentioned, will not succeed on their own. They must be fully integrated into the workplace community and company culture —while also aligning with personal behaviors in order to make a positive impact. To this end, here are some of our favorite apps that support the goal of helping people optimize their work experience in ways that matter most to them.
Go With The Workflow
Managing your own time can be difficult, let alone managing an entire team. While there are many apps that simplify this process, they still require all users in their group to notify others when there are updates and changes to a schedule. Trello (Android/iPhone), however, streamlines this process by adding a collaborative element to project management.
Trello is more than just a productivity app. Its simple and intuitive interface allows you to work collaboratively and synchronously from start to finish. With Trello, every project starts with a board that allows you to add lists or cards to organize tasks and reminders. It also lets you link to a broad range of other productivity apps, including Google Suite, Evernote and Slack. Best of all, this service is free.
Give Yourself A Break
Personal time management can be a huge source of anxiety if it isn’t managed properly. The Pomodoro Technique provides a method to break your work into intervals. If you are a multi-tasker, this might be a novel solution for you, since the technique promotes focusing on one task at a time.
Tide (Android/iPhone) markets itself as a relaxation app but can also be used as a Pomodoro timer in combination with soothing music. You can customize the time for each interval, as well. Every interval is followed by a short break when you can take a walk or grab a coffee. As the number of intervals increases, you also can expand the time allotted for breaks. Say goodbye to burning out.
Minimize Access to Blue Light
Have you been having trouble going to sleep? Are your eating patterns becoming abnormal? Problems like these can have an effect on your work performance, but what causes them? Chances are your circadian rhythm is being affected by some outside force…and artificial light may actually be to blame.
Luckily, there are simple and free solutions to this dilemma that don’t involve an intervention for putting the phone down (but if that is a problem, there’s an app for that, too.)
Flux (MAC OS/PC) is a free desktop software that monitors the position of the sun based on your timezone to display temperature. It displays the type of light that you should be taking in based on the time of day. There are ways of customizing this feature so you can disable it while you’re watching videos or editing content.
Twilight (Android) is similar to Flux in that it adjusts based on the setting of the sun, and is again, customizable. The main difference is that it emits light with reddish tones instead of the tungsten glow offered by Flux.
For iPhone users, simply switch to Night Shift mode in your display and brightness settings. It works just like Flux in that it adjusts depending on the time of day.
Did You Forget Your Mantra?
Meditation has made its way into the mainstream, becoming less intimidating as more lifestyle guides tell us what has been known for centuries: meditation reduces stress. While fitness is an important key towards maintaining a healthy lifestyle, often we forget that the mind is a muscle that needs to be exercised as well. However, the practice takes discipline and for some, it is difficult to dedicate the 5 to 20 minutes a day it requires. There’s one app that promises to make meditation an easy daily routine:
Headspace (Android/iPhone) answers the question that has been the minds of skeptics for years: how does one meditate? The app offers several free guided meditation packages perfect for beginners, along with subscription packages that deliver personalized meditations for those looking to boost their emotional health and intelligence.
Put the Phone Down
In the age of wireless connectivity, the smartphone has become one of, if not THE essential item to never be without. But, like all good things, too much can become a bad thing. Ironically, the best productivity app might be the one that tells you stay off the phone in general.
Space (Android/iPhone) might as well be an intervention. Once you enable it and fill out a quick survey, the results of which are hauntingly accurate, you are given an allotted amount of time to check your phone. Once that time is reached (thankfully there are alerts before you hit that mark), your phone will automatically lock, and require you to override the action (unlock your phone) to keep using it. Space essentially trains you to use your phone for essential tasks, and not to be enveloped by one app in particular.
Learning to become less dependent on your devices is an ongoing process. And while these apps don’t provide immediate results, they do offer a path towards greater freedom. The ultimate goal is that you’ll reach a point where you don’t need an app to assist you in making better life decisions. Until then, taking advantage of some help from the app world can make a real difference in optimizing your work-life balance.