The Best Online Productivity Tools and Apps You Can Use To Help You Work From Home Better
I’m writing this in bed on a Thursday afternoon, after getting an email from my bosses that Seedly has activated the Business Continuity Plan Simulation Exercise, mandating us to work from home today!
With Singapore going from DORSCON Yellow to Orange, more and more businesses are having workers work from home.
But let’s face it, not all of us are super productive workers at home. With a lack of structure coupled with the strong, magnetic pull from your bed, it is easy to get distracted when working from home.
As such, to help you stay on track, here are 8 online productivity tools and apps you can use, to stay on top of your game!
TL;DR: The Best Online Productivity Tools and Apps You Can Use To Help You Work From Home Better
1. Station: All In One Platform For Your Web Applications
One of the main distractions I deal with at work is a cluttered workspace on my laptop, especially when it comes to communication apps.
For example, I used to miss out on Slack messages, as I have 2 Slack channels, Whatsapp, and Telegram opened simultaneously on different tabs.
To help streamline your tools better, Station is a site aggregator that helps put your different communication tools on a single platform, making it much easier for you to access.
2. Serene: Freelancer Productivity Planner (macOS)
A macOS application designed to help remote workers, freelancers and digital nomads, Serene combines different productivity best practices, so that you start your day with a clear goal.
What’s more, the app is seamless in helping you track your sessions AND block distracting apps that are up to you to define, such as Facebook, Instagram or even Slack, when you start your session.
Unfortunately, this all-in-one app only works for macOS, so an android/windows user like myself won’t be able to enjoy its features.
Price: Free, $48/year for PRO version.
3. Loop: Good Habit Tracker (Android)
While most productivity apps look to minimize distractions and do away with bad habits, Loop is an app that helps you create good habits.
This is done by first identifying what are some of the good habits you want to achieve (e.g waking ), and setting up a specific schedule to help you make these habits more achievable.
4. Forest: Stay Focused and Plant a Real Tree
Forest motivates you by allowing you to ‘plant’ a seed. The more focused you are (i.e the longer you can go on without touching your phone), the seed will start growing to a plant, and then a tree.
This helps you set deadlines for yourself as you engage in a game that allows you to build your own forest!
The best thing about this app is that if you were to accumulate enough credits, you can pool your credits and spend it on planting a tree with Trees for the Future, where the company would plant a tree in your place, in areas such as Kenya and Uganda, which are affected by deforestation.
Price: ~$2 to install the mobile app.
5. Headspace: Mindfulness Meditation App To Start Your Day
If work stresses you out, you can always take some time off to meditate and calibrate your mind and emotions back to the task at hand.
Meditation comes with lots of benefits: it brings you back to the present, allows you to sleep better, and it helps calibrate your emotions. To kickstart your journey, you can try apps such as Calm or Headspace, which provides guided meditation sessions to start and end your day.
You can try out the free basics to meditation course, which gives you 10 sessions of basic guided meditation practices.
Price: ~$11.90-$17.90/month, depending on your plan.
6. Tomato Timer (Chrome Extension): Focus for 25 Min Intervals
Tomato timer is based on the Pomodoro technique to maximize productivity. The idea is to have highly productive, uninterrupted work for 25 minutes, and get rewarded with either a short break (5 minutes) or a long break (10 minutes).
If you’re interested in how the Pomodoro method works, here’s a quick breakdown on the process
|Step 1||Choose a task you'd like to get done|
|Step 2||Set the Pomodoro for 25 minutes
|Step 3||Work on the task until the Pomodoro rings|
|Step 4|| When the Pomodoro rings, put a checkmark on a paper
|Step 5||Take a short break
|Step 6||Repeat. 6. For every 4 pomodoros, take a longer break
7. Smart Power Nap – Accurate Nap Timer
Everyone knows that a little nap can go a long way for focus and productivity. Yet, there is always a constant fear of sleeping past a deadline or say an important meeting. The Smart Nap App helps by giving you short 26-29 minute naps, so that you will wake up refreshed and ready to take on your work.
When you’re ready to take a nap, lie down on your bed. Press the ‘start’ button, and lie your palm on the phone screen. Every two minutes Smart Nap will ask you to tap the screen to indicate if you are awake or asleep. If you are not fully asleep within two minutes, the countdown will be postponed for another two minutes, so that you will get a full 26 minutes nap.
8. Stretching Exercises
One of the best things about working from home is the freedom to stretch and go about doing weird poses without judgment from your co-workers. If you’ve been sitting on your chair for a long while, this Stretching Exercises – Flexibility Training app helps get rid of that stiff shoulder and lower back pain.
What’s more, you get a free 30-day workout plan, where you will get a combination of different stretching exercises. You can choose from neck and shoulder stretches, lower back stretches and pre/post-exercise stretches. The exercises are simple to do and are guided with videos and voice commands as well!
Productivity Apps and Tools For Singaporeans Working From Home
Working from home is a great experience, and if done right, it can improve overall workplace productivity, and improve the work-life balance of many Singaporeans. To ensure that you don’t slip into a sluggish or lazy routine, do consider using these apps to help build a better work-from-home system that can be mutually beneficial both for you and your boss!