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Advice / Succeeding at Work / Work-Life Balance

6 Apps That'll Make Work-Life Balance a Reality (and Not Just a Fantasy)

Even if you love your job, working 24/7 simply isn’t an option. Strike that. It is an option, but only for a limited period of time. Because eventually you will burn out. And that’ll stink because all that passion you once had for your work will disappear.

So, needless to say, you have to strike a balance between time at your desk and time away if you want to stay happy, healthy, productive, and sane.

If you need some help keeping things in check, these six apps offer unique and effective solutions. From blocking your email to staying calm, they’ll help you make work-life balance a reality—and not just something your friends tell you that you need to work on.

1. Spot Issues

Before you can find the perfect work-life balance for yourself, you have to know where you stand with the job-time/free-time split now. How much are you in the office? What about finishing up projects from home? Oh, and how about business trips, networking lunches, and industry events?

TimeTune for Android and ATracker for iOS follow your routines and give you data on them so that you can analyze how you actually spend your days. Then you’ll be ready to work out how you can shift toward a more realistic ratio of working to relaxing. Because odds are high that you’re doing way more than you even realize.

2. Control Connectivity

Smartphones and always-increasing Wi-Fi access make it easy to work from anywhere, anytime—which is great if there’s a workplace emergency you need to fix. But it can also wreck your personal life if you don’t manage it well. Who hasn’t been on a plane, preparing for take-off, only to get an urgent email that requires immediate action?

Space gives you the tools to control your digital life by understanding how tied you are to your phone. It monitors which apps you use and for how long, then it pings you if you spend too much time with any of them. So, if you’ve promised your family not to read work emails during the weekend, you can look at your Space history to see if you’ve kept your word. Or you can even set a schedule so that it blocks your access to incoming messages (or any other app) at certain times to keep you reined in.

3. Manage Stress

Anxiety. Worry. Fear. Sound like a typical working day for you? Probably. Also for your colleagues, friends, and family, too. But that doesn’t mean it has to be your normal way of operating.

Pacifica aims to ease your mind so you can be your best on the job or at home. The app offers easy-to-use mood monitoring, meditation and relaxation, journaling, and wellness tracking. With these tools, you learn to both manage your stress and handle hectic situations so that you move back and forth from the office to home, without always feeling like you should be doing something else.

4. Keep in Touch

When’s the last time you saw your cousin who lives in the same town? Or when you talked to your grad school roommate? Maintaining connections with friends and family is one of the best ways to stay grounded. Plus, meeting up with them forces you to leave the office on time—or, at the very least, slip out for a quick afternoon coffee break.

The Connect app makes getting together as simple as a few clicks. It puts you in touch with your contacts from your phone, email addresses, or social media accounts, shows you when someone is visiting nearby, and lets you quickly make plans for the evening. No more sorry-I-haven’t-called-I’ve-been-working guilt. Lots more let’s-grab-dinner fun.

5. Stay Organized

Sometimes the biggest barrier to staying focused at work is all the “moving parts” of your life outside the office. You can’t concentrate in the sales meeting because you can’t remember if you put out the recycling, or you can’t answer your boss confidently about tomorrow’s schedule because you don’t remember what time you have to take your partner to the airport.

Cozi cuts out these concerns by putting all your personal information in one place. It includes a calendar, to-do list, shopping list, journal, and even a recipe manager. And everyone in your family can have access to it so there’s no having to whisper through frantic phone calls at work to coordinate schedules or set up doctor appointments.

6. Plan Your Time

It happens to all of us. You have the best intentions to hit the gym before work, spend your lunch hour reading in the park, and leave the office in time to start that new drawing class you’ve been dreaming of. Then suddenly it’s Friday afternoon, and you’ve logged 63 hours at your desk and aren’t sure if you have anything other than pickles and peanut butter in your fridge at home.

Weekly Planner for Android or Week Plan for iOS pushes you to plan out your week so that you make sure you have time for what matters. Both apps are simple but effective for scheduling important routine tasks like household chores, exercise, or self-improvement—and they, of course, remind you to keep those promises to yourself.

You can easily lose yourself in your career. But taking care of yourself mentally and physically should still be your number one job because keeping that at the top of your to-do list will mean you’re both a better employee and a better you.

Photo of man using app courtesy of Shutterstock.

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