8 Productivity Apps to Help You Win at Remote Work
When so much of the world transitioned to remote work at the start of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, many people were interested in how different workers would take to, or struggle with, the challenges and opportunities provided by this shift. Here at Jobsity, we were curious too: we’ve been a 100% remote workforce since day 1.
The results have been mixed. People working from home, faced with the challenges of family distraction and digital fatigue, dealing with the external challenges of school closures and the limited social opportunities because of the pandemic, have reported high rates of dissatisfaction and stress, and the challenge of “disconnecting” from work and transitioning into “after work” has been real for many.
We’ve covered a handful of productivity apps before: Google Drive, Slack, Trello, and Asana all qualify, and we wouldn’t be able to do the high-level software development and coding work we do daily without them. But in this blog, we’re going to explore some other apps -- apps maybe not as central to the “main” work you’re during, but which can be game-changers when it comes to facilitating the successful completion of this “main” work within a complex work-from-home world.
These 8 apps may not revolutionize your work, but they have the potential to give you that extra edge so that remote work doesn’t feel as difficult, and your productivity -- and work-life balance -- can reach new heights.
- Time Zone Ninja
If your team is spread across Latin America (like ours is here at Jobsity), Time Zone Ninja can help you avoid those awkward mix-ups when someone in PST thought you meant EST and can keep at bay the organizational hazards of trying to plan a call for 5 people in 6 time zones. Easy, simple, and direct help for any dispersed team.
You may be a master wordsmith, or you may be working in your third or fourth language. Grammarly is a grammar and spelling correction app that lives inside your browser and helps you avoid awkward errors, lazy mistakes, and bad puns (OK, more the first two). It can even upload external documents, so you’ll never submit a report or send an email with a poorly used semi-colon again.
- Take a Break Please
Work-life balance is hard at the best of times. When the world is in panic mode, kids are doing school from the living room, and your office is half of your bedroom, it can feel almost like a myth. The Take a Break Please app helps you schedule pauses throughout the day and triggers your adherence to those pauses by dimming your screen and telling you to take a break. It’s like a pushy friend who’s got your best interests at heart, saying: C’mon, take that break, already!
Ever get the feeling that you spent 8 hours on that project, but only an hour has gone by? Toggl will help with that: it's a time tracking app that shows you how much time you’ve spent doing what, both so you don’t overwork, and so you can stay on top of optimizing your time. If you’re billing time per project, this can be extremely helpful as well. But even if you aren’t, Toggl can help you divide your time up efficiently so you can avoid falling into overwork or burnout.
This (free!) Mac apps use scientific wisdom to get you working to the best of your abilities. The app prompts you to pick one big goal every day and helps you stay focused on achieving that goal before the day ends. The idea is to help you cut down on multitasking and gin up your focus, so each day ends with a win. In a world of remote distraction, this can be a lifesaver.
This app is all about the To-do list. It is one. But it isn’t just one; it’s also a well-designed, master list with optimum UX that helps you organize a list of lists in such a way that you’ll never forget an important task again (and if you try to, Todoist will email, text, and alert you until you do!). You can also share tasks across users; ideal for the dispersed team.
Ever been faced with the urge to print out a document, mark it up with pen and paper, and then mail it to a colleague on the other side of the world? And then you think: wait, that’s absurd. I’ll just write another email... Well, Skitch solves this problem, by allowing you to highlight, draw on, write across, and sketch on top of PDFs, JPGs, and other documents, without having to convert the doc or print it out, and then sharing that annotation with teammates. It's novel, it’s useful, and it’s a lot faster than the mail.
- Last Pass
How often has your workflow been slowed by the realization that...you can’t remember the password for the app or site you need, and you have to spend time waiting for rescue emails or trying, desperately, to remember your mother’s maiden name (it’s Sanchez!). Last Pass is a solution: it’s a one-stop-shop for all your passport reminder needs. Simple, secure, shareable, and safe. It’ll make remote work feel as simple as it used to before everyone (including your mother) was doing it.
We think these apps can be lifesavers and have seen, time and time again, their skillful implementations take people from remote work struggles to remote work heroes. If you try them, let us know in the comments below. Or if you have others you like, share them with us! We’re always working to remain the best remote work team around.
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