5 Mobile Apps That Can Help You De-Stress At Work

Whether you are an established entrepreneur, a mid-career professional, or a young executive – operating in any industry – stress is an inevitable part of your life. A 2018 APA study stated workplace stress to be more rampant than ever among millennials.

Working from home was often seen as the holy grail of work-life balance and stress relief, and then COVID-19 happened, and it changed work as we knew it forever. Now, you might have adapted to remote working beautifully; but the fact that travel is still restricted and one has to think twice before stepping outside can be depressing indeed!

Backaches, insomnia, irritability and restlessness are just some of the side effects that all professionals have felt at some in time while working from home. And let’s not forget loneliness! It can make one feel less productive and unmotivated, as per Buffer.

Sadly, the Coronavirus outbreak is pushing everyone into an extreme kind of working from home. Therefore, whenever your schedule gets a bit hectic, resort to these five apps to de-stress, unwind, and get your mojo back:

1. Calm

Calm is a mobile app that helps you unwind after work and combat stress by helping you meditate. It has a free introductory programme, “7 Days of Calm“, that lets you experience 10-minute guided sessions on the basics of mindfulness meditation daily for seven days.

The full course catalogue, for which you need a paid subscription, features guided and unguided courses that range from 3 minutes to 30 minutes in length and cover a variety of topics such as sleep aid, loving-kindness, self-esteem and calming anxiety.

Moreover, you can customize the background scenes and nature sounds on the app, and set daily reminders for meditation. The web-based Calm programme lets you access user communities on social media. My personal favourite is their blog on mindfulness

Calm’s monthly subscription starts at $12.99/month.

2. Headspace

Headspace introduces the basics of meditation with its 10-day introductory programme “Take 10 Free Trial”, which, as the name suggests, offers a 10-minute session every day along with six video infographics to illustrate meditation concepts.

The full library, for which you will need to take a paid subscription, offers around 365 meditation sessions in both one-off courses and themed session packs on different topics such as relationships, mindfulness, and health.

The app also features a Headspace tour, programmable reminders, user support and daily messages that come as “mindful moments.”

Furthermore, the web-based version of Headspace offers access to its blog “The Orange Dot” and online communities to connect with other users. Its buddy programme, available only on iOS and Android devices, enables you to invite your friends to sign up and track each other’s meditation progress, just like in a fitness app.

Then, there is also kid-friendly content in the session catalogue for children to learn the fundamentals of meditation and practice a relaxed kind of focus with you. The sessions have been customized for three age groups: 5 and under, 6-8 and 9-12.

Headspace’s annual subscription starts at $69.99/month.

3. Sleep Cycle

This is a useful app that tracks your sleep patterns and helps you wake up during your light sleep phases. Sleep Cycle uses sound analysis to track the different sleep states your body goes through, from light sleep to REM sleep.

The app uses a wake-up phase that ends at the alarm time you specify. During this phase, it will wake you up when your sleep is at its lightest. You will need to place your smartphone close to your head so that the app can pick up your sounds and movements.

When the app rings, you can put it on snooze simply by double-tapping. Additionally, the app features an “Intelligent Snooze” mode that gently brings you from the state of being asleep to being completely awake using shorter and shorter snooze durations throughout your wake-up phase. The app, moreover, is free for use on Android, iPhone, and Huawei.

4. Day One

Since it first came out in March 2011, Day One has topped multiple lists as the best journaling app, winning App of the Year, Apple Editors’ Choice and Apple Design Award. It is compatible with Mac and iOS and lets you write quick journal entries in a simple, minimalistic user interface.

You can use templates to format your journal entries more efficiently, add metadata about the weather outside and the music you are currently playing. Besides, upload photos and social media links, tag your entries with hashtags and password-protect your journal.

You can also customize the settings to give you multiple reminders throughout the day based on how often you would like to update your journal. Another unique feature is “On This Day,” which allows you to see your journal entries for the same day in previous years.

Day One is free to use for two weeks, but premium features such as real-time sync, cloud backup, and audio recording can be availed on a subscription basis for $34.99 per year.

5. The Mindfulness App

This is another top-notch meditation app that everyone will find useful. The Mindfulness App includes a five-day guided meditation course to introduce you to mindfulness, along with several 3 to 30 minute-long guided or silent from which you can select one that best fits into your busy lifestyle.

There are over 250 meditation classes for you to choose from on the app – each covering different topics such as stress relief, mindfulness at work, relationships, kids and sleep.

The Mindfulness App offers personalized meditation recommendations, customizable background sounds, and statistics for you to keep track of in your meditation journal.

Plus, you can download your favourite meditation courses, listen to them offline, and set “mindfulness” reminders for the whole day. Using the app is free for two weeks, and you can purchase the premium version and gain access to specialized meditation challenges to target specific symptoms such as stress or sleep quality for $9.99 per month or $59.99 per month.

Summing it up

I understand when you say your work gives you a sense of fulfillment and hence don’t mind pulling in long working hours. I am too. I love what I do, but I am also aware that stress takes a toll on my physical and mental well-being, which is not worth risking in the long run. Plus, the pandemic is temporary – it is essential to stay positive and hopeful.

Next time you feel overwhelmed working from home, pick one out of these apps and give it a fair try. Work hard but not at the cost of your health.

35 Ways To Be Super Productive When You Work From Home

I love working from home. I follow office hours set by me. I don’t have to commute to work for two to three hours every day. I can complete more tasks because there are no random meetings or phone calls, breaking my concentration. I even take critical work with me when I go on vacation – although I highly advise against that.

To be able to work remotely is a blessing for somebody like me, who is an introvert and prefers having a productive routine day after day. And I couldn’t be more thankful for that. All I need is a reliable internet connection, and I am ready to start my day. However, remote work is not all rainbows and butterflies.

Some days, there are a million different things that vie for my attention – Twitter, kitchen cleaning, dirty laundry, family members or friends who I haven’t spoken in a while, unfinished travel itineraries (yeah, I love making plans), emailing prospective clients, boring editing work that I have been putting off since long and oh, did I mention Facebook?

The list is endless.

So, how do I manage to get all the work done productively and efficiently – 90% of the time? Find out:

1. I have a fixed working space. It is nothing fancy, but it does get me in the work mode pretty quickly and allows me to think peacefully. Writing and quietness go hand-in-hand.

2. I have set office hours – kind of. And I stick to those timings. My work schedule revolves around my best creative times.

3. I don’t start work before noon. And so I don’t pick up calls or respond to emails and Slack messages before that, and I don’t feel guilty about it. I prefer to give my mornings to managing the house and spending time with my family. What’s the point of working from home when you can’t do that?

4. I get dressed, wear something comfortable before I open my laptop. At times, I even apply a bright shade of lipstick.

5. I somehow work better when I know the house is cleaned. I also have a fixation with clean beds.

6. I always make sure the internet connection is recharged, so that it doesn’t give me any trouble when I am in the middle of meeting a deadline!

7. I take small breaks between work and utilize them for making tea, cooking dinner, or calling up a friend!

8. I am very organized and always have everything scheduled on my Trello. (Seriously, I love Trello.) That helps me reduce the time spent on meeting a deadline or following up with people.

9. I have a love-and-hate relationship with emails. I love writing emails, but I don’t respond to emails immediately. I shut down my Gmail when I am writing. Seriously, no one’s going to come and bite me if I don’t reply promptly.

10. I sleep well. I think that’s one of the reasons why I can do many things simultaneously. I am a ball of energy most of the time. Of course, there are days when I want to have chocolate cake and watch The Mindy Project. I do that guilt-free, and it feels great!

11. I share every big or small victory of mine with my family. I love their reactions, and that’s such a mood-booster for me! I also reward myself by doing a bit of online shopping. 😉 That gives me another reason to work harder.

12. Ad-hoc tasks are workflow bugs. It took me a while, but I have learned to say “no” – not to the job but to meeting tight deadlines. If a client is okay with a delivery date that suits both of us, I am more than happy to accommodate that work.

13. I set daily, weekly, and monthly goals for myself. The exercise gives me an idea about my workload and helps me focus better.

14. I have started delegating some of my non-writing work to other people so that I have more space for creative thinking or writing. When you have help, take it.

15. I designate specific days for certain kinds of work, and I work in batches. It helps me to work more efficiently.

16. I always know what tasks I am to pick up first. Time saved, right?

17. I never have twenty windows opened when I am researching an article. I don’t have random bookmarks or lengthy reading lists. I know some people who have some hundred tabs opened on their desktop. That’s not me. I am all about reducing web clutter.

18. I maximize my browser window when I am writing. That helps not to bother too much about finishing an article within a specific timeframe. What’s funny is I end up writing faster!

19. I hardly browse through Instagram over weekdays. I think it is a waste of time. Seriously, stay away from it. I am not scared to miss out on things. #JOMO

20. I make use of many social media management tools like Buffer and AgoraPulse to schedule posts for my clients. When I am done, I am done. I don’t need to look into it unless required.

21. I have a few friends from the same industry, and we get on monthly calls to discuss our goals, challenges, and victories. That helps us in putting things in perspective and approaching our work with more focus. I think everybody should try this out.

22. I allow specific timelines for taking on personal tasks during a workday. If I miss that window, I miss it.

23. I plan crucial deadlines a couple of days in advance of actual client deadlines. So when I sit to work on those tasks, I am less stressed.

24. I pick up the most complicated article first to write every day. If I can finish that on time, I can sail through the entire day.

25. But sometimes, I finish simpler tasks to build a flow. Whenever I do that, I am charged to take on the difficult articles head-on.

26. I am a unitasker. I take one thing at a time. People, who say with pride they are multitaskers, are stupid. No, I am not the one who calls them stupid. This study does.

27. I say NO to having a phone call with people I know are only going to waste my time and suck my energy. Jeez! If it’s that important, write me an email. 😉

28. Like every other writer, even I suffer from Writer’s Block from time to time. But the worst part is I can’t afford to stop working for even a day since I am still building my business. So whenever that happens, I usually watch something on YouTube, put on an OST I love or eat good food to put myself in a sunny spot and enter the work mode. Food. Always. Helps.

29. Sometimes I put on ambient music to pay more attention while I am my writing or researching.

30. All the essential work apps that I use are synced with my phone. That helps me look up and update on critical projects when I am not in front of my laptop.

31. I have started taking trainings, attending events, reading case studies – anything that helps me grow as a professional. It is a relatively recent development, but I have realized that by doing such things, I feel empowered to do more and better.

32. I don’t take the weekends off, which is horrible. But I feel if I work on a Sunday, the start of my week is less crazy. Even if I sit to work for an hour or two, it helps!

33. When work is getting too hectic, I take a break – head to a weekend getaway, meet family in another city or unwind at home with a bottle of wine.

34. Sometimes, I only make notes on paper when I am too tired. I don’t use my laptop to write. That triggers a different kind of creative thinking.

35. Over time I have realized that comparing myself with others has never done anything good. It made me more self-conscious about my career choices and reduced my inclination towards doing the job that was in my hands. These days, my mantra is to focus on my journey solely. Trust me – I am already doing a better job. 🙂

Find what works for you.

I am sure a few of you won’t agree with how I work. But guess what? It works for me, and that’s good enough. The key to being super productive when working from home is to find something that works for you. It may take you some time to find the most efficient way to do that, but it will happen.

I am continually optimizing my schedule, and the results are better each time. So, how do you work from home?

Rising Tide published the article here; although it is slightly different. What do you think? 🙂

Productivity Hack – Get, Set, Let’s Go On A Vacation!

2019 has been a year of travel for me. Not only did I explore new countries and new cities in India but also I went on multiple weekend getaways – without missing deadlines and important calls. But, despite the jet-setting schedule, one thing that I occasionally struggle with is completely switching off from work.

If you run a business of your own, you will agree “switching off” is not an option. As a solopreneur, I know how much blood and sweat goes into delivering quality work. But when one is obsessively passionate about their business, they are more likely to burn out – no matter how satisfying their job is to them.

I am no exception.

I understand a holiday is a perfect opportunity for me to take a much-needed break and step back from my monotonous routine. But I am still learning to do that guilt-free because, at the end of the day, I don’t want to be stressed or find it harder to perform at my best:

So, here’s what I try to do:

1. Go off the radar (almost)

As soon as I reach my destination, I put my phone away and only use it for a few minutes when I am back in my hotel room after a long, exciting day of sightseeing. In fact, I have noticed that my mobile consumption reduces dramatically when I am on holiday.

I also check my emails once or twice to which I don’t respond immediately. It is always good to be in the know, but it’s terrible to get sucked into the email vortex when this (👇) is your view.


2. Embrace JOMO

Believe it or not – Instagram is not the first thing I check in the mornings. It’s not even my second or third choice. I don’t care about Facebook and have never downloaded the app on my phone. And I usually forget about Twitter, so that’s there.

Out of the three, Instagram is my absolute favorite. However, when I am on holiday, I don’t scroll through the feed at all. Nothing seems to interest me when I am sipping Mimosas by the beach or strolling the streets of Paris. It’s great if my Instagram connections are getting married, partying hard or vacationing at an exotic location. Good for them!

But at that moment, all I care about is relaxing and rejuvenating myself. I don’t want to be bothered with the digital clutter in my life.

I embrace the Joy Of Missing Out!

3. Enjoy the local cuisine

I am a foodie, and I love trying out local dishes of different countries and states. Ah! The excitement as my palette welcomes exotic dishes, spices, and tastes. I know not every food item is supposed to turn around a hectic day or de-stress, but when I am on holiday, every meal with the family tastes even better and elevates my mood.

There is nothing quite like it, and frankly, eating my way through the local cuisine is one of the first things I look forward to when I travel. I live for food for sure!

4. Step back, reflect, and plan

I think we millennials get burned out rather quickly. This interesting BuzzFeed News article supports my statement. We work too hard and often pull extended hours in the office. No wonder, we get exhausted quickly and sometimes find it difficult to even get up and go to work. There’s no balance.

When I am on vacation, I take a step back from my daily routine and take out time to introspect the weeks that have gone by. I try to find ways to optimize my life. I discuss the trials and tribulations of being a solopreneur with my family.

“How can I do things differently,” is something I ask myself a lot. Trust me – it’s not all about work. I also want to make a positive impact on my everyday life, and that’s not possible if I spend 12 hours a day in front of my laptop.

Pausing and taking a break really helps me here because life is only well-lived if improved continuously in every aspect.

Life is only well-lived if improved continuously in every aspect. Well said!

Wrap up

Given our crazy work schedules, it is vital to go on vacation frequently even if we visit the nearest hill station or a neighboring state. It is necessary to designate free time to relax and recharge our batteries. Now that you have read this far, can you tell me what’s next on your agenda?

How I Overcome My Productivity Slump In Eight Ways

For the last few days, I have been feeling way too sleepy. That could be because the weather is fantastic where I live or I am overeating (I just ordered Mexican food from Chili’s) or both. The point is I am a solopreneur, a freelancer. I am in the phase of scaling up my business and feeling sleepy at two o’ clock in the afternoon is not something I can afford.

I have too much on my plate at the moment. For starters – I want to get my website up and running. Don’t worry – it will be live by the time you read this article. My husband and I have family visiting us, so there’s that. We are traveling a bit too much in the coming months, so we have to plan for that.

And these are just non-work related tasks. There are assignments to be scheduled for the clients I signed up recently, and articles to be delivered before the month gets over.

Too much to do. Too little time.

These days, by the time I look up after finishing one assignment, it’s already nighttime and I can’t help but wonder if there is a way to break this productivity slump and complete all the tasks on my to-do list faster.

To answer my own question, I usually follow these eight nifty tips to staying productive. Check them out:

1) Write even when I don’t want to

Since a significant part of my job revolves around writing, I can’t escape it even when I want to. I have deadlines to meet and some critical clients who I can’t disappoint. Therefore, whenever I feel lazy or unproductive, I write. The output may not be as good, but I still get the job done. And, that’s what matters at the end of the day!

Continue reading here.

How I Crush My Mondays And Get Control Of The Week


Yes, I genuinely do. I am sure I am the first (or maybe second or third) person you have ever come across who sounds THIS excited about the first working day of the week. Trust me — there is something special indeed about a Monday.

Perhaps, because it allows us to reflect on the week that has gone by, and plan essential tasks for the week ahead of us. Or because it gives us another chance to have a more fulfilling and productive week, professionally and personally.

For someone like me, who is all about optimizing her daily routine, Mondays help establish priorities, keep track of goals, limit procrastination, and focus better. When I know how my week will pan out, I am more driven and enthusiastic about starting work and fulfilling all my social commitments, whatever they may be. Mondays help me achieve a winning frame of mind.

I understand most people see Monday as the most depressing day of the week as it marks their return to work and routine after a well-deserved weekend. They get panic attacks on Sunday evenings or generally start feeling low because of how generally chaotic and messy Mondays are.

I often hear my friends and colleagues moan about how short their weekend was and how they need one more day to recuperate. That’s not true for me. Believe it or not — in my six years of work-life, I have never even once experienced Monday Blues, and I am always happy to get back to my not-so monotonous routine after a weekend of fun and rest.

Do you also want to start loving Mondays? Well, you are in for a treat. There are five tips I follow religiously to crush the first day of the workweek, and I shared them on The Ascent!