Technological Tools for Making Life Manageable
It’s no secret that a turbulent mental state can ruin your productivity in a big way. Unfortunately, family emergencies, calls from creditors and the various disasters cats so effortlessly create continue to occur without respect for what we were planning to do on any given day. Meanwhile, neither deadlines nor supervisors are likely to care much. While being able to keep functioning regardless of what life throws at you is something of a learned skill, we can all use a little help from time to time. The following apps and services are designed to help you hack your internal life, mentally, emotionally and physically, in order to get the most out of both good and bad days.
A number of people swear by the “Pomodoro Technique.” The name refers to a tomato shaped egg timer. The basic principle is to divide your working time into segments lasting between 20 minutes and an hour, taking a break after each. This enables you to plan a task more effectively, ignore interruptions, stop procrastinating, and retain more of what you read. A number of apps are available to act as a pomodoro timer.
If you’re experiencing life challenges or feelings that make you think of consulting a therapist, but you’re either not sure it’s necessary or can’t afford it, an innovative service now allows you to do effectively the same thing online. All therapists are qualified, experienced and licensed, total confidentiality applies, and there’s a free introductory period after which very reasonable rates apply.
Many of us suffer from the delusion that we can work until midnight, then just shut down the computer and go directly to bed. Strangely, this never works: computer screens produce blue light wavelengths proportional to what our eyes would typically be exposed to outside during daylight hours. This stimulates the brain to remain awake, a state which can persist for quite a while after you’ve stepped away from the screen.
This app allows you to adjust the color temperature of your display manually, or based on when sunset and sunrise occurs in your location. Highly recommended!
The basic, free app allows you to keep tabs on how your mood and physical health changes, hour by hour and day by day. You can also log your sleeping patterns, daily thoughts and goals for each day. With a $3 /month subscription, you also gain access to professionally designed relaxation exercises, as well as various audio lessons on subjects like anxiety.
Based on cognitive behavioral therapy techniques and designed with lots of input from the psychological end, this can be a very effective self-help tool, which incorporates tracking your experience from day to day and even provides personalized feedback.
Few people can concentrate while their neighbors are living la vidaloca, and absolute silence can be even more distracting. Enter the Noizo app, which simply plays ambient noises from raindrops to whales singing to a fire crackling. If the sound of cars passing disturbs you and music does bad things to your attention span, this is one app you can certainly benefit from.
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Note that most or all of these apps have competing products out there; which is better in any particular case is not part of this article’s scope for reasons of space. All of them do what they claim, though, so try out whatever takes your fancy.