Monday, December 19, 2016

Are Your Breaks Not Quite Refreshing Enough? Try These 9 Apps!

There are remarkably few people on the planet capable of filling an entire workday with 100 percent productivity. The human body simply needs to be refreshed. Fortunately, there are a variety of techniques and technologies that let you do just that!
Give the Pomodoro Technique a Try
The benefits of a break can give an employee a definite advantage in completing the rest of their daily tasks, especially if a single task drags on and on for the majority of their day. Allowing their brain to take a rest from this single initiative and focus elsewhere, even briefly, can help prevent them from becoming sluggish and unproductive.
This is where the Pomodoro Technique comes in. Invented in the 1980s by Francesca Cirillo, and named for the tomato-like shape of a kitchen timer, the Pomodoro Technique’s claim to fame is the division of available time into work and break periods. The idea is to not only keep the brain fresh throughout the day, but also to better manage the amount of time spent on each task. After all, a deadline is often a very effective way to promote a focus-benefitting urgency in order to complete a goal.
The Technique dictates that a practitioner work dutifully for a set amount of time, break for another set time, repeating this pattern throughout their day.
Apps that Might Help
  • ClearFocus: An Android app-based timer, ClearFocus uses the Pomodoro Technique without calling it the Pomodoro Technique. A user can set timers dedicated to certain tasks, and the app will count down until it’s time for a break, or to move on to the next task.
  • Focus Booster: Available online or as a native download, Focus Booster also applies the Pomodoro Technique to benefit the user’s focus, with the added benefits of time tracking and reporting for use in a business setting. However, it is not a free solution. Subscriptions start at a rate of $2.99 per month.
  • PomoDone: Another native web app that’s also available for download, PomoDone is another timer that a user can configure to suit their schedule, once it is established how long the subscription will be available.
Get Up and GoA great way to make sure that your break gives you a break from your task is to use it for exercise. Whether or not sitting is all that bad for you, it’s an accepted fact that a bit of movement certainly can’t hurt. If one of your business perks is a gym membership or access to a company exercise facility, commit to utilizing it whenever possible and stick to that schedule.
Of course, not all exercise requires equipment. A simple walk outside can give the body the break it needs and your brain the bonus of a change of scenery.
Apps that Might Help
  • Wherever Workout: This Android app gives suggested exercise regimens for an assortment of scenarios, including a workout that can be done in the office. With options that range to accommodate almost any environment, you can get in a healthy bit of activity, wherever you happen to be, and all for free.
  • Workout Trainer (Android and iOS): Another free-to-install app, Workout Trainer provides detailed descriptions of a variety of exercises, including those that can be done in the office. Plus, there is very little risk of performing an exercise incorrectly, as Workout Trainer provides plenty of resources to ensure that the user knows how to properly perform an exercise.
  • Pedometer & Weight Loss Coach: (Android and iOS)This app serves as a simple step and calorie counter. Once this free app is open, it will track the user’s steps, no matter where they happen to go. Its “History” functions can even provide a pattern of behavior that can be used to make better decisions.
Just BreatheWorking in an office environment can admittedly be stressful. There are deadlines to meet, clients to appease, not to mention the savage jungle of office dynamics to navigate on a daily basis. The thing is, stress isn’t always part of the ideal state for productivity. As a result, employees need to have the chance to collect themselves and clear their heads. Breathing exercises have a long history of allowing just that. In fact, it may include some of the methods we’ve already discussed. The main focus here is that everyone is different, and may relax in different ways.
Apps that Might Help
  • Calm: A simple web app that allows the user to listen to some pleasant ambient noises in order to catch their breath and refocus for a moment. Just for a moment, however, as Calm allows them to preprogram a periodic noise to remind them of where they are and what they need to be doing.
  • Breathe2Relax: (Android and iOS) If an employee ever feels the need to just take a few deep breaths and refocus, this app can not only inform them on the adverse effects stress can incur within the body, it also provides access to some deep-breathing guides to stabilize their mood.
  • Smart Breathe: (Android and iOS) Another deep-breathing app, Smart Breathe simply guides the user through a few simple, centering, deep-breathing exercises. While limited in its accessibility, this app does what it sets out to do. It also doesn’t hurt that the app is free to download and try out.
We all deserve a break every now and then, but there’s no reason that these breaks shouldn’t be used to our advantage in the workplace. These apps, and the strategies they rely on, might help even the most stressed and unproductive employee refocus on the task at hand.

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