Healing The Work Environment – Part VIII: Top services that can be used to enhance the work experience

6 minutes read
crafted by , on 22 July, 2015, in

They’re alive! Apps and gizmos everywhere!

I think I’m not wrong by saying that the computer was invented with the purpose of aiding the man, by reducing its daily tasks, through processing speed, in the end allowing more free time to be dedicated to other important life aspects.

In the past decades we’ve witnessed an exponential growth of this entire segment, defined by personal computers, mobile devices, web applications and the Internet. The problem is that instead of feeling liberated (having more time for us, for enjoyable activities, spending quality time with our beloved ones), we sank so deep in the vast world of backscratchers (yes, that’s how I see the apps and gizmos).

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However, many of them are fantastic and do have the power of helping us. It’s just a matter of knowing what can be useful, where, when and how. The key here is to carefully plan your Everything. Ponder about how much time should go under the ‘work category’ and how much under ‘personal time’. Define your work process, how you want to collaborate with other people, maybe even define some rules of procedure. Once you know exactly what you want to accomplish, go ahead and search for what you need, in order to help you accomplish it – the apps and gizmos should provide solutions to your problems, but without defining your true problems how could you find the cure?!

We aren’t all facing the same obstacles, but I’m going to tell you what I’ve discovered to be useful in my case.

Apps

1. Breezee

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Going from one project to another, trying to remember what links you should open, recalling ideas from a past chat and establishing which are the most urgent tasks… and all of this on a daily basis – it’s a messed up way of living and working. Luckily now we have Breezee – group links, notes and tasks… per project!


2. Time Doctor

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Know where and how you spent your time during your workday. More than just an accurate time tracking software, Time Doctor gives you data on websites visited, apps used and so much more. It helps you monitor, evaluate and more importantly increase productivity. Plus, it integrates with almost every popular project management tools out there which makes it more useful.


3. Rescue Time

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With so many distractions and possibilities in your digital life, it’s easy to get scattered. RescueTime helps you understand your daily habits so you can focus and be more productive. It tracks time spent on applications and websites, giving you an accurate picture of your day.


4. Toggl

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Insanely simple time tracking, easy and intuitive. Toggl is a timesheet killer and intended for anybody who needs an easy-to-use overview of time spent. It is popular with consultants, bookkeepers, programmers, designers, lawyers, students, non-profits, freelancers, smaller teams, bigger companies… basically everyone.


5. Todoist

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Achieve more everyday in your work and your daily life. Todoist lets you manage your tasks anywhere. At home. At school. At work. Online. Offline. And on 13 platforms and devices. Share tasks with anyone – colleagues, family, friends – and collaborate on shared plans and goals.


6. Slack

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Slack is a platform for team communication: everything in one place, instantly searchable, available wherever you go. Slack is most useful when you can see everything your team is doing — that includes all the tools you use outside of Slack! Integrations let you automatically pull information and activity from outside tools into Slack in a way that’s timely, relevant, and searchable.


7. Evernote

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From short lists to lengthy research, no matter what form your writing takes, Evernote keeps you focused on moving those ideas from inspiration to completion. Easily gather everything that matters. Clip web articles, capture handwritten notes, and snap photos to keep the physical and digital details of your projects with you at all times.


8. Trello

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Simple on the surface, with more under the hood. Trello has everything you need to organize projects of any size. Invite as many people to your board as you need. Start a discussion with comments and attachments. Whenever something important happens, you know instantly with Trello’s notification system. You’ll get notifications wherever you are: inside the app, via email, desktop notifications via the browser, or via mobile push notifications. Notifications stay in sync across all your devices.


9. Zapier

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Automate your workflow. Zapier connects the web apps you use to easily move your data and automate tedious tasks. You can wait for third-party app developers to offer the SaaS integrations you need. You can hire expensive freelance programmers to build custom software for you. Or you can simply do it yourself with Zapier, and then get back to the work that matters most to your business.


10. Invision

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Design better experiences for web and mobile. Quickly transform your designs into beautiful, fully interactive prototypes complete with gestures, transitions & animations for web, iOS & Android. Send a link to open designs in a browser or on a mobile device, or present them in real-time using the LiveShare presentation tool that revolutionises the design meeting. Simplify the feedback process by having clients & stakeholders leave comments on the design. No more messy email chains or feedback coming from multiple places.

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Useful websites

1. UI8 – Carefully crafted UI design assets. Just a small team of creatives trying to build ridiculously cool things while avoiding a constant barrage of nerf darts in the office.

2. Smashing Magazine – An online magazine for professional Web designers and developers, with a focus on useful techniques, best practices, and valuable resources.

3. Mighty Deals – A Daily Deals site that offered huge savings on products. Mighty Deals is dedicated to massive discounts for web and creative professionals.

4. Iversity – The European platform for online learning, that enables universities to share a broad range of courses with students from around the globe, providing them with the opportunity to earn recognised credentials, no matter where they are.

5. UpWork – The love child of Elance & oDesk. Get more done with freelancers. Find, hire, and pay the world’s best (or worst) freelancers, making it easier than ever to build successful companies and thriving careers.

6. Shutterstock – As a two-sided marketplace, Shutterstock’s mission is to connect creative business professionals with the best photos, vectors, illustrations and video from thousands of contributors around the world.

7. Unsplash – Free (do whatever you want) high-resolution photos. Ten pieces every ten days.

8. Soundclound – the audible colors of thoughts and emotions.

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Sidekicks

1. Le cafe – french for coffee – my daily booster, the terminator of sleepiness, after it I’m gonna rock down to Electric Avenue.

2. Das telefon – german for telephone – goes everywhere with me, just like a personal assistant, knows and hears almost everything, almost perfect if I could call it Her.

3. El ordenador – spanish for computer – the mini-factory of happiness, everything goes with this one – writing, designing, chatting… everything.

4. Il libro – italian for book – without books life would be sad. Experience the power of a bookbook

5. Prietenii – romanian for friends – all of the above are just crap without family & friends. A man is truly rich when he’s surrounded by his or her beloved ones.

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This wasn’t much of a stretch.

It’s pretty straightforward – think about your issues, where you need to improve stuff; explore the web and find solutions; develop a habit for self-improvement; go out, smile, laugh, eat some cake.

In the end, what defines us as top-notch professionals are: our attitude, our character, our humanity. And these are defined by our actions.

Think twice before acting!

About Ciprian Irimies

Ciprian is an UX Ninja, but what really makes him stand out of a crowd is the desire to venture into the unknown, to boldly face new challenges and the lack of hair on his head.