Need some help with your work-life balance?

If only an app existed to assess the usefulness of apps.

The Office of Work, Life and Engagement tried to make the review easier by asking faculty and staff to share their favorite work-life apps and hacks as part of National Work and Family Month, celebrated in October.

Thanks to your Johns Hopkins colleagues, you can survey their suggestions to look for apps or hacks that might contribute to your own healthy mix of work and life.

Apps

Picking and choosing among these faculty and staff suggestions can help you manage and monitor your health, wellness, relationships, finances, professional development, and work-life effectiveness. Check out the list and see who submitted them as one of their favorites. Note: Some apps are designed only for iPhones or Android devices.

Work-life effectiveness

  • 1Password: saves passwords and lets you log into sites with a single click (Aimee Stone)
  • Asana: manages team projects and tasks in one place (Joe Flack)
  • Brain Focus: a time-management application (Alison Papadakis)
  • ColorNote: lets you take notes on a stylized notepad and organize them by color and category so they stand out (Amanda Gatewood)
  • Evernote: organizes work and declutters life (Alison Papadakis)
  • Instacart: delivers groceries from local stores in two hours (Hillary Fisher)
  • Nozbe: to-do, task, project, and time-management application (Alison Papadakis)
  • Slack: real-time messaging, file sharing, powerful search, screen sharing, and instant messaging (Aimee Stone)
  • Todoist: task management and to-do list (Joe Flack)
  • Wunderlist: capture, share, and complete to-dos (Joe Flack)

Professional development and personal growth

  • Duolingo: a fun and science-based way to learn a language (Arline VanWie)
  • OverDrive: lets you borrow eBooks and audiobooks from a local public library (Anonymous)
  • Podcast Addict: manages users' audio and video podcasts as well as YouTube channels and RSS news feeds (Amanda Gatewood)

Financial well-being

  • Mint: personal finance software for budgeting, tracking, and paying bills online (Anonymous)
  • Splitwise: tool for friends and roommates to track bills and other shared expenses (Anonymous)
  • Venmo: peer-to-peer bank transfers (Anonymous)

Health and wellness

  • Chronometer: tracks nutrition, fitness, and health data (Bobbie Barron)
  • Fooducate: in addition to sugar counts, helps monitor carbs, colorings, mood, hunger, sleep, and exercise (Anonymous)
  • Headspace: teaches the skills of meditation and mindfulness (Lisa Moreland)
  • Moodnotes: captures mood and improves thinking habits through journaling (Janet Gomez)
  • Pacer: personalized fitness plans and guided workouts, pedometer, support groups, and community (Carol Jackson and Ermeen Marcos)
  • Plant Nanny: turns a virtual user into a plant and sends occasional push notifications to encourage the person to drink water (Jen Olivia)
  • Samsung Health: fitness app and health monitoring system (Ermeen Marcos)

Family support

  • Elmo Calls: fun phone calls from Elmo that will help teach children about healthy habits, self-confidence, and the alphabet (Nicole Utech)
  • Forest: lets users stay focused and present while working by setting a timer that locks his/her smartphone (Anonymous)
  • Kids Mode: fun, child-safe content (Nicole Utech)
  • Kid Weather: real-time weather conditions, forecasts, science, and fun facts about the weather (Syeira Anthony)

Hacks

Faculty and staff shared some interesting hacks that help them manage their time and daily activities in a more efficient way. Which ones would work for you?

Work-life effectiveness

  • I assemble my work outfits for the week on Sunday while watching the TV shows I recorded. (Carlotta Chappelle)
  • Plan vacation days as soon as you have your child's school calendar. Requesting time off in advance of days that schools are scheduled to be closed can help prevent last-minute stress from trying to find child care, and it also gives you time to plan fun activities for you and your child to do together on days off. (Jennifer Coveney)
  • Implement your own work uniform (e.g., all blue suits or all black pants) to reduce decision fatigue and help you get dressed faster in the morning. (Anonymous)

Professional development and personal growth

  • Listening to 30-minute podcasts during my lunch-break walk serves two purposes: a timer and an educational tool. (Hillary Fisher)
  • Pin profiles, LinkedIn pages, etc., from people whose careers you can learn from and people to reach out to for professional development. (Amanda Gatewood)
  • Put your clothes away in your drawer or closet in the order that you wash them. For instance, hang all freshly laundered clothes toward the back of your closet. Pick the clothes hung in the front so that you rotate clothes. (Anonymous)
  • Use work apps on your phone while waiting for appointments. (Kathy Gresh)

Health and wellness

  • To decrease morning stress, prepare as much of your breakfast as you can the night before, including any medications. Pack your lunch at night. (Anonymous)
  • I purchase dinner in the hospital cafeteria on my lunchtime two times per week. The food service chef includes the nutritional information on the food. When I get home, all I need to do is reheat the chicken and rice and add vegetables or salad. (Joanne Frantz Doggett)
  • Keep small portions/single servings of healthy food within your reach or in the fridge at work—e.g., apples, almonds, frozen individually packed steel-cut oatmeal that can be easily microwaved, hard-boiled eggs, crunchy veggies—to eat every three to four hours to prevent becoming ravenous at your next meal. (Jodi Rehak)
  • My favorite life hack AND app is refusing to get sucked into the 'always on, always accessible' culture promoted by smartphones. By using my flip phone as a, well, PHONE, I preserve my privacy, sanity, and dignity. (Deborah Buffalin)
  • Use baking soda and vinegar as an everyday cleaner and disinfectant. (Melissa Fernandez)
  • Used coffee grounds from K-cups make good plant/garden compost and polish for pots and pans. (June Fernandez)

Family support and relationships

  • Keep blank cards at home and in the office to share appreciation or kindness. (Aimee Stone)
  • My closest friend and I text each other motivational pictures and videos. We try to cheer each other on in life, especially when one of us is struggling. When I receive these texts, my day gets bumped up a notch. (Carl Broker)
  • Share child care with friends. (Mindi Lutwin)
  • Use blackboard paint on walls for notes and kids' artwork. (Nicole Utech)
  • Keep thank you cards in your car to use while you're waiting for your child's karate class to finish; take a minute and write one or two notes. (Meg Stoltzfus)
  • Purchase gift cards here and there to have on hand for unexpected occasions. (Aimee Stone)

Work, Life and Engagement welcomes any other suggestions of work-life apps and hacks at worklife@jhu.edu. Additional suggestions will be published in the future.

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