There is no shame in admitting it: We all need a little help right now. Even the most weathered of home-officers are finding it difficult to stay focused with all that’s going on. So, here are some apps to stay afloat while working from home with your family there
Keeping a stable work schedule can help you achieve some normalcy and stay on top of things while you try to navigate these #IStayAtHome times. Change into comfy work clothes at the beginning of your workday and make sure everyone respects the hours you assign as “office time”. And be sure to respect your partner’s office hours if you’re splitting responsibilities. Apps will help you stay sane, but you’ll have to stick to the plan in order for the ship to run smoothly. (And here are 10 things you can do to stay sane!)
Create a Quiet Place for Yourself
First thing’s first. Assign a workspace. It’ll help you get “in the zone” and (hopefully) it will make it easier to draw boundaries with your children and partner. Try to keep in mind that kids wander into rooms with shut doors so don’t stress too much about it if it happens. What matters is for you to have a space that can help you “leave” – or the closest thing to it.
Move things around a bit. If you’re not sure of what to do, you can apply for a free session with designer and Feng Shui expert, Kelly Robinson. Among other things, Robinson will help you make simple changes that will significantly improve your mood and support productivity. Pinterest is another good place to find practical ideas to work with what you’ve got. A nice corner of your own will make you more motivated to get to work.
Administer Your Time
To Do Reminder is an app to set up simple reminders you can create with a speech-to-text option. With so much on your mind, the additional help will make it easier to remember everything to do while trying to manage the different challenges of working from home with your family. Remember the Milk is similar, and allows you to prioritize tasks, which will be important to keep you afloat.
Apps like Swipetimes can help you keep track of your projects, progress and the time you put into it. You can also set alarms to remind you of when to take a break or stop working. It has a punch-in and out tracking feature and can be synchronized with your Google calendar to make sure you stay up to date with deadlines and projects.
Apps like Tick Tick are more thorough, letting you set up a full schedule and use timers that boost your efficiency. If you want something simpler, you can use Marinara Timer, which is free and allows you to either customize your timer (and add team members) or use the Pomodoro method, which times 25-minute work blocks followed by 5-minute breaks.
The truth is that at times like these, staying focused and productive can be a battle while working from home. Luckily, technology can help you deal with this too.
1Focus lets you make a list of sites you usually waste time on and then blocks them for you for your chosen duration (Simple Blocker works similarly). This means you won’t be able to wander over to Facebook, Instagram or whatever else is distracting you while you’re supposed to be working. Focuster is a little more ambitious and helps you regain your concentration (which takes about half an hour after being lost) through schedules, to-do lists and goals that help you be extra productive during office hours.
Don't miss my 8 Ideas to Make the Most out of Working from Home!
Manage Teams Successfully
When it comes to apps to stay afloat while working from home, anything that can help with teamwork is key. At a time when you are not spending any face-to-face time with your team, it’s super critical to have an effective way to connect and collaborate. So, if your company hasn’t set up a platform yet, or if you are an entrepreneur, consider the following options:
Microsoft Teams, for example, is a comprehensive, intuitive, simple to use solution with a great free version.
Trello allows a collaborative experience even while working remotely and lets you all keep everyone’s responsibilities organized. Similarly, Asana makes it easy to stay organized and meet team deadlines while everyone works from home.
You can also use apps like Doodle to schedule meetings when they work best for everyone on the team, something that everyone will appreciate.
Stay in touch with your colleagues throughout your workdays. It helps with a feeling of normalcy and provide some much-needed socializing while interactions are limited. Skype allows multiple users to join on video and voice chats, with options for screen sharing. In its free plan Zoom lets up to 100 users join video conferences with options to record, share and even broadcast for 40 minutes.
Other Useful Apps to Stay Afloat While Working from Home
There are other apps that you probably already now, things like Dropbox and Google Docs to share documents among teammates, WeTransfer and Terashare for large file sharing and Evernote, which will help you take notes in different formats and prioritize ideas.
This is only a selection of some of the most popular apps keeping all of us afloat while working from home. Which ones are you using? What’s working for you? Please share in the comments!
Aline Cerdan Verástegui
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