May 29, 2015
A fatter incentive or an extra hour of playtime with your kid? Quicker growth up the corporate ladder or time spent unwinding with friends at a bar? Overtime or vacation time? These are daily conundrums every employed individual has to deal with, whether they like it or not. Work-life balance, that mythical unicorn of a concept has everyone from Human Resources heads to CEOs to motivational speakers to employees themselves hunt for it at the unlikeliest places. I’m not sure about nirvana in a bottle, but I do know from experience that work-life balance eventually boils down to doing the little things right.
Here’s a peek at how technology can be your best friend in this quest for a great professional life bolstered by a satisfied personal one.
Making the most of travel time
The U.S Census puts the number hours Americans spend going back and forth between work and home every day at about 50 minutes per day. Fifty minutes is a long time to be stuck behind the wheel in traffic or inside a train or bus somewhere.
Why not make the journey a little shorter with apps like Waze, which will tell you which routes to take to minimize traffic and reduce travel time. For public transport users, there’s Moovit, an app that tells you about delays or cancellations on your chosen routes. It also suggests alternative buses / trains that will get you ASAP to your destination.
Reducing travel time is one thing, making it count is a completely different ballgame. Invest in an app like Audible to listen to audio books and broaden your mind while you travel between work and home.
Reduce Timewasters at Work
Even though we often spend over eight hours every single day at work, we don’t really work for the entire 8 hour period. Most people average at around 5 to 6 hours of productive work while the rest is taken up by a range of time wasters.
Reduce your coffee breaks by keeping a coffee cup warmer on your desk. An app that tracks your productive time on your computer can help you identify activities which are a time suck and avoid them. An app like Rescue Time not only offers a detailed breakdown of your day’s activity on the computer, it even blocks time wasters like social media to help your focus better on your work.
Avoid a million meetings a day by using online collaboration tools that track projects and assign accountability. An app like Asana not only keeps you on track with your project deadlines, it also helps you communicate with your team members instantly, without the need for a face to face meeting.
Eat Healthy and Move That Butt
Exercise and healthy eating are the two great mantras to a fit mind and body. With so many technology aids to help you along, you are spoilt for choice. Bring your own lunches to work, instead of opting for greasy and fried cafeteria food. Need help in planning your meals? MyFitnessPal is probably the simplest and most exhaustive app that helps you control your calories and choose the right foods for each meal. Don’t feel like cooking? Use Foodtripping to find the closest healthy alternatives to fast food around your area and you’re good to go.
Burn off those calories that you’ll pile on by hitting the gym or even the pavement with a fitness tracker like Fitbit. You cannot just measure your activity levels, it also helps you keep yourself motivated for your workouts by having your friends egg you on via social media. Don’t have time to hit the gym every day? Use the 7 minute workout app to squeeze in a high intensity workout right at your desk.
Get a Pet
Pets have been scientifically proven to have a calming effect on people’s bodies. Their unconditional love is a huge bonus to look forward to on your way home. Their steadfast companionship is a great antidote for depression and loneliness that envelopes most overworked professionals today.
If your pet offers so many lifestyle benefits, it’s your responsibility to ensure that your furry friends are well taken care of too. A secure pet fence around your home coupled with an electronic pet door on your main door ensure that Buster has the option of running around the yard when he’s all alone during the day. A pet tracker like Fitbark allows you to monitor your dog’s health as well as activity levels using GPS. Many pet trackers even have cameras mounted on them, which you can track and virtually accompany your pet on their little adventures every day.
Who needs to go to the grocery store, when the grocery store can come to you? Use a tool like Amazon Dash to scan items that you need to buy and pay with your smartphone to have them delivered to your doorstep as per your convenience.
Another trick to save some time and as well as money is with an app like ShopSavvy. Once you tell the app what you want to buy, it will scour retailers that carry the products at the cheapest price. It also updates you about current sales and discounts at major retail stores, both online and offline.
Take a Vacation
A well-deserved vacation every now and then is a must to recharge those batteries and come back to work all raring to go. Terrible at travel planning? Check out Tripomatic that will build complete itineraries for you once you specify where it is you want to go. An app like Rome2Rio offers you multiple ways of getting from your home to your holiday destination based on a variety of criteria like low cost, low environment impact, shortest amount of time etc.
While all of us love going on vacations, nearly all of us hate to pack. Get over your packing worries with a packing app like PackPoint which automatically builds custom packing lists based on your destination, time of year and activities you plan to do there. The app even checks for weather at your destination and makes suggestions accordingly.
Over to You
With all of these options, you have no real excuse for slaving away at your desk and neglecting your ‘real’ life. Which tools do you use to manage the balancing act in your own special way? Share with us, we’d love to hear from you!
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