So this is happening - the world is crumbling. But life isn't, yet. I've worked from home for over two years and I'm a self-described introvert with crippling social anxiety. So, I've got this lockdown covered.
(Though all the work I've done on my mind - like forcing myself to interact with the world, going outside, to an office with strangers for work, starting random conversations with people in shops etc has gone down the drain. So, yay for covid-19 mental health issues! Am I right?)
But for some people, I know it's going to be tough. You're going to feel like you're on holiday. Then you're going to wish you could hang out with your friends. Then you're going to make yourself a friend out of a volleyball and a bloody handprint. THEN you're going to make yourself a raft out of toilet roll tubes and sail it around your house but then your friend will fall off the raft, tearing the two of you apart forever...
I know, it sounds crazy but I saw a documentary just like it once...
So here are my favourite apps to keep a routine that somewhat resembles real life. (NB. they're not just apps but websites, youtube channels and just a little bit of advice.)
- Fitbit - Get one. It counts your steps and tracks your activity. Mine buzzes me every hour, reminding me to move - most of the time I ignore it - but it tries it's best. During isolation, we're going to be moving a lot less so let's keep ourselves accountable!
- 30 Day Fitness Challenge - Everyday, this app gives you around a 5-minute fitness challenge that you can do in your bedroom. It's got simple exercises, including star jumps, push-ups, plank, that don't require any exercise equipment. I like this app because it encourages you to come back every day. (It has a bonus meal planner too.)
- Yoga with Adriene - A YouTube Channel. Adriene hosts wonderful guided yoga classes in a variety of lengths, strengths and focuses. Seriously, she has something for everyone! Yoga is going to be your best friend whilst you're stuck inside. Giving you permission to slow down, forget work, forget the world. Give it a try.
- To be honest, I just use a notebook and pen to keep track of my daily tasks. But anything like Evernote, Microsoft OneNote digitally do the same thing. The point is - write a to-do list for your daily tasks! And include a variety of different tasks - including the mundane things like doing the washing or stacking your toilet rolls into a mountain.
- Pomodoro Timer - This is the writer's worst kept secret! If you're struggling to focus because the world is breaking apart outside a Pomodoro timer will help try to reset your brain. Set a timer and aim to complete something within that time. I use it for freewriting, emails and emptying the dishwasher... though for the latter the timer is my toaster... and the prize is buttered toast.
- Clockify - This is a timekeeping app. It'll help to organise where you're spending your time during the day. (To be honest, I've only just started using this but it's made me realise how long I spend doing pointless things...)
- Habit trackers: Loop, Habitica(HabitRPG), Fabulous. I've used these guys sporadically over the years to help me keep on top of the things I want to achieve. They all have their strengths and weaknesses and there are loads of other options. Just give them a fair try. If you keep at them they WILL help you develop some healthy habit whilst we're all stuck in our apocalyptic prisons.
- Rowena Tsai, a YouTuber who specialises in blogs about productivity and inspiration. (Also makeup but that's unrelated.) If you need a little help figuring out your new work system she's got some informative videos to help you out.
More on what not to do here:
I'm not sure what to write in this section. Everyone has their preferences so I'm not going to bother linking them. Just please make sure you have a good quality camera and microphone or you'll drive everyone mad during voice chats and online meetings!
I'm going to skip the obvious options like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Youtube, Steam Games, Animal Crossing. Because, well, duh!
- TED Talks - There's a risk that we're all going to vegetate in isolation. We're 'stuck at home' so 'might as well' watch all the seasons of Brooklyn 99. (Random choice... not something I've been doing.) So take advantage of brain-stimulating websites like TED.
- Future Learn, Open Learn, Udemy, Skill Share, Masterclass, Pluralsight, Professional Writing Academy - Online courses (varied prices) will be a huge game-changer to your evenings! So take the time you'd spend commuting or in the pub to learn something new or finally finish that novel...
- Google Podcasts, Audible, Radio Public, Spotify - Podcasts, audiobooks and music can become your best friend whilst doing mundane tasks around the house. Or take a moment during golden hour to find a patch of sun, close your eyes and listen to your favourite audio entertainment. This might seem obvious but it can be so easy to forget these small pleasures! When was the last time you listened to a whole album? (I challenge you to listen to Rolling Stones 500 Greatest Albums of All Time)
- Shut down the screens! I know this is a post about apps to help you work from home but do not underestimate the power of a screen-free lunch hour! You will go back to work feeling refreshed, inspired and energized! Read a book, talk to your quarantine buddies, take a walk. (Because YES! we are still allowed outside once a day for exercise use it to exercise your mind!)
That's all I can think of for now! I hope this helps keep you all a little more sane in these strange and trying times.
Take a look at a my in depth guide to working from home:
Take care everyone and thanks for reading!