More of the American workforce is working from home than ever before; 42% is now working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As these employees keep up with their day jobs, many workers are also simultaneously overseeing home schooling and caring for elders. If you’re juggling all these responsibilities, then your time, focus, and productivity is at a premium. Here, we share 8 must-have apps for working from home effectively.
Wunderlist is a to-do list app for the way we live today. This app aggregates all of your to-do lists in one place. You can set up folders for work, home, and kids (for example), and sort by categories or see everything in one place. Wunderlist allows you to share your professional tasks with co-workers, and personal tasks, like grocery shopping, with partners.
Tracking time is incredibly important these days. Timely uses AI to automatically track your tasks for you. It creates a private timeline so you can see how long different tasks take you, identify distractions, and/or figure out your peak productivity times during the day. If you want to make your timeline public, Timely will create a time sheet you can share with co-workers and managers.
This tracker helps you stick to the pomodoro technique. Based on the assumption that it’s difficult to work for indefinite periods of time, the pomodoro method suggests you focus on one task for 25-minutes then take a five-minute break. This timer helps you stick to that schedule for maximum concentration, and, hopefully, productivity.
Post-meeting follow-up can be a bear, but you’ll cut down on the time it takes with this transcription app. Otter turns your words into sharable text, effectively taking meeting minutes without the hours of transcription and formatting later. It also generates smart notes and organizes audio, text, and images in one place to remind you of what happened in the meeting and get you started on your action items faster.
Do you have 49 tabs open on your browser and five programs floating around on your desktop? Yeah, us, too. If you’re finding yourself pulled in a lot of different directions and are having trouble focusing, HazeOver might be the solution. This app literally fades out other distractions (anything that’s open but you aren’t using) in your workspace so you can focus on one task at a time.
The Harvard Business Review found that on average people check their email 15 times per day or every 37 minutes. That’s a lot of time spend in inboxes. Limiting how many times you check your email each day and designating certain times to do it helps in two ways. First, it defends your focus while you’re working on other things. Second, it maximizes your focus while you’re in your inbox so you can triage messages quickly and get back to other tasks. With the Chrome extension Inbox When Ready, you’ll set up designated times to check your email and the lockout feature will keep you from drifting back to it.
7. Time Out
Many times while working from home, breaks happen without intention. You’ll get up for a second cup of coffee and end up loading the dishwasher, talking to your spouse, and helping your kid with a math problem. Before you know it, getting that second cup of coffee took an hour. With Time Out, you can plan and track your breaks. You’ll also get a gentle reminder when it’s time to get back to work.
Yes, Calm is a meditation app. You may be thinking, “Doesn’t this take me away from my work?” In the short term, you’ll spend a few minutes away from your tasks completing the daily mediations or one developed to address a certain concern, like anxiety or stress. However, meditation has been shown to improve focus and mental wellbeing. In the long run, this might be the best investment you can make in your productivity.
Even as the dust settles from the COVID-19 pandemic, some estimates suggest that 25-30% of the employees will remain working from home multiple days a week by the end of 2021. We hope these tools serve you now and in the future.