Apps to Enhance Work-Life Balance, Save Precious Time to Spend with Precious People
The #MindfulTech series of posts we have been featuring this year focuses on ways to use technology wisely, to make your life run more smoothly without making it more complicated. We’ve now entered the holiday season and this time of year always seems to make us appreciate our friends, families and loved ones more than ever. Now is the time for anything that will help us create a better work-life balance.
In the ever-more-demanding course of making a living today, time is harder and harder to come by and getting a great work-life balance is challenging to say the least. So I thought today I would provide an update on some apps for your tablet or smartphone that really will help you get through the workday more efficiently, and earn some time you can spend where it really matters.
News Apps—From NPR News to Fox News
Whether it’s for business purposes or your personal enrichment, keeping up with the news is essential but who has time to sit by the television? NPR News allows you to customize your news feed, specifying what you want to read, and in what sequence. Hourly updates keep you attuned to major happenings. Other news outlets, from The New York Times, Fox News, CNN, and USA Today and others, provide similar digest format news items. Whichever you prefer stylistically or politically, they make it easy for you to keep up throughout the day. Then the “evening news” can be about how the family spent their day.
Most of these news apps are free, and available for both Apple and Android devices.
Splashtop Remote Desktop
We’ve discussed often the fact that home is increasingly part of the workplace. Work-life balance calls for managing that reality effectively, and the Splashtop Remote Desktop may help. It provides access to your PC or Mac files from your smartphone or tablet. It can tap into browsers, office programs and entertainment applications, even permitting the streaming of audio and video from their desktop computers wherever they are. The app allows users to stream video and audio from their home or office PCs or Macs wherever they are. You may not love having to work while you are at home or out and about, but this app can make it far more painless.
Splashtop Remote Desktop is available for Apple and Android devices, at prices under $10. (With extra promotional savings available this week, you can pay as little as $2.99.)
Researching the latest news and topics of interest on line is interesting and rewarding. But we’ve all paid the price for getting caught up in reading articles only to learn we’ve donated almost an entire morning to the cause, negatively impacting our work.
The Instapaper app is an ideal solution. It allows you to easily bookmark articles and pages so that you can return to them easily when you do have a spare moment. Best of all, the app saves articles in text-only format so they are easily digested on tablets or smartphones. And they are not links—articles are fully saved off line so you can access them even when not on wi-fi.
Instapaper is available free for Apple and Android platforms.
Word, Excel & PowerPoint
Very familiar names, linked almost universally with office productivity. But some people still don’t realize you can get mobile versions of the Microsoft Office Suite for your smartphone. Having this synergy and compatibility between office and smartphone means you can make progress on documents, spreadsheets and presentations even when you are away from your desktop. Cloud storage services make it even easier to access, edit, upload and collaborate on projects as necessary.
The apps are available free for both Apple and Android devices.
Most of us are caught between the proverbial rock and a hard place today. We hear almost daily about huge data breaches that put financial security at risk. At the same time, we are so fed up with trying to remember dozens of different passwords for different sign-in screens, we just want to scream!
1Password is a great solution. It manages all your web log-ins by generating secure site passwords for you, and filling them in when you visit those sites. All you have to remember is—you guessed it—one (1) password. That saves time, adds security and eliminates frustration, putting you in a much better frame of mind for enjoying time with your loved ones.
1Password is available free for Apple and Android devices, though an upgraded version brings more features for $9.99.
Find Nearest Biggby Coffee or Starbucks
Okay, I had to toss in a couple of “bonus” apps for fun. Sometimes, work-life balance comes down to a good, relaxing cup of coffee at the right time. While sometimes it seems like you can find the nearest Starbucks by turning your head both ways, that’s not always going to work, even with 12,000 locations. And one of the most exciting and unique coffee shop concepts around, Biggby Coffee, has over 200 locations in the United States and their app makes it easy to find a location wherever you might be.
Upon launch, the Starbucks app will display the five closest Starbucks locations, complete with maps and directions. Unfortunately, it’s available only for Apple devices at this time, for 99 cents.
The Biggby Coffee app helps you find locations, keep up with your nutrition choices and calories on menu selections and even lets you keep track of your Biggby points. The app is available for iPhone and Android for free.
We’ll Improve Your Work-Life Balance, Too
Contact us today to learn how our print supply chain and promotional product management solutions can save you time in your workday, and get you out the door to the things in life that matter most. We’re not an app just yet, but you’ll “app-reciate” what Superior Business Solutions can do to get you home sooner.