At LMD, we use lots of different tech tools to increase our productivity, communicate with each other and our clients, and manage our projects. I’ve discovered that many of these same tools are great for keeping your personal life organized and achieving greater work-life balance. Here are a few that have great crossover potential:
- Google Calendar: At LMD, we use a shared Google Calendar to schedule meetings, client lunches, and even after-work team-building activities--and for many of us, our schedules are just as busy outside of work as when we are in the office. We love to hang out with friends and family, but it can be hard to get everyone’s schedules coordinated. Wouldn’t it be nice if scheduling time with your extended family and friends could be just as easy? With Google Calendar, you can manage and view multiple calendars simultaneously, including work and personal. It may seem a little odd to blur the lines between professional and personal time, but once you see how much easier life is by doing so, you’ll become a quick convert.
By creating a shared “family and friends calendar,” you can schedule planned vacations or out-of-town days with “OOO” (Out of Office) and put a hold on an event day. Need to schedule a doctor’s appointment for a teenager with a busy schedule, a mini family reunion, or a surprise party? Just create a shared calendar to get everyone in sync.
I recently had a friend spend some time in the hospital and when she came home, she didn’t have enough energy to prepare meals. Some friends decided to create a shared calendar for meal delivery. Then we each just signed up for the day/time we would deliver a meal (and included the menu so she didn’t eat chicken for two weeks straight).
- Asana and Trello: Asana and Trello are two of many different project and task management tools used by businesses to keep projects moving and make sure nothing falls through the cracks. But why would you ever use a project management tool at home?
Most of us have projects going on at home that can be just as complicated as the projects at work. How about all those minor (and major) home improvements that last 3-6 months (or longer)? Vacations, parties, meals, chores…they all require planning. With Asana or Trello, you can share the planning and prep fun with the entire family.
A bonus: Use these tools with your teens! Mastering these management tools will help prepare them for college and beyond and may even help them appreciate all that goes into planning that ultimate family vacation. (Okay, don’t hold your breath on that last one.)
- AirPods/Wireless EarBuds: So, this one crosses from personal use to professional use. Sure, you use earbuds to listen to music and talk on the phone hands- and wire-free, but do you also use them to be more productive? In an age where open office workspace is getting more and more the norm, minimizing distractions is a real issue. Using wireless earbuds to listen to music or to join a conference call helps. Just be sure to avoid the ear tapping motion when a co-worker comes to talk to you or that conference call that you’re on will abruptly end.
- Alexa: Alexa is our personal assistant at home. “Alexa, turn on dance music.” “Alexa, what’s the weather going to be like today?” “Alexa, remind me to…” are all common phrases in my house.
Alexa is great, but I miss her and need her most when I’m in my car. “Alexa, turn on road trip playlist.” “Alexa, how do I get to the nearest Starbucks?” “Alexa, order my favorite Indian food to be delivered when I get home.”
Turns out, Alexa missed me too and is now available for road trips--well, kind of. Echo Auto is just starting to become available but there are also a few other devices that will enable Alexa to be your passenger, including a phone charger that brings Alexa along with you. Now on your commute to and from work, you can make phone calls, set reminders and leave yourself notes--without taking your eyes off the road.
What tech tools do you use at work that you have also found useful in your personal life, or vice versa? We’d love to hear from you on our Facebook page!