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These 5 apps and services can restore your work-life balance

Simplify communication, sneak in a workout, hire an extra set of hands, and more.

These 5 apps and services can restore your work-life balance
[Source photo: Jonathan Borba/Unsplash]
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The modern career: a twisted, interconnected minefield of work and life. The rigor of the former and the joys of the latter—which, legend has it, were in balance at one time—sometimes feel mutually exclusive.

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If you’re fortunate enough to be able to integrate work with your home life, hats off to you. If, however, you’re finding it’s easier said than done, give these sites, services, and tools a shot.

Cozi: domestic harmony

Nothing spoils work-life balance like getting done with work and coming home to a life that’s all over the place.

Thankfully, Cozi offers an easy way for families to share schedules, plan meals, coordinate grocery lists, delegate chores, and more—all in real time. It’s a handy tool for parents who want to get their days back on track so they can enjoy what’s left of them after work.

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There’s a free, ad-supported version with a healthy lineup of features, and a $30-per-year premium version that covers the entire family and offers upgraded calendar features, enhanced notifications, and other goodies.

Twist: company communication, all in one place

Okay, close your eyes and imagine Slack or Teams, but easier to use and designed so you can ditch internal email.

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That’s the concept behind Twist, which structures company-wide communication into high-level Channels (which can be public or private), Threads (which behave like super-elegant emails), and Messages (which behave like instant messages).

Threads are the star of the show here. And while threading isn’t a new concept, Twist bills itself as “asynchronous by default” and puts extra emphasis on making its threads the linchpins of internal knowledge and problem solving. Unless you mark them private, they’re public and searchable across your organization. Anyone you specifically add to them will be notified when they’re posted and updated, but, again, everyone else can find the information if they search for it.

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Real-time chatting, on the other hand, is seen by Twist as suffocating and anxiety-provoking. In other tools such as Slack and Teams, the channels and threads become so overwhelming that it’s hard to keep on top of every little update that’s posted, so people naturally default to private direct messages to get their coworkers’ attention. In Twist, chatting feels almost like a necessary evil and is to be used “for quick questions or just to socialize,” while Threads are meant to organize knowledge and make it easily accessible later.

Twist is free for an unlimited number of users and five integrations, though messages and comments will be viewable only for the past 30 days. The full version costs $5 per user, per month and unlocks unlimited history, file storage, and integrations.

Darebee: At-work workouts

One day, we’ll view the office chair as the most underrated and underappreciated piece of equipment in the history of business.

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To wit: Not only are office chair workouts easy and convenient but they also offer great health benefits such as improved mood, reduced stress, better posture, strengthened core muscles, and increased energy levels—all important things in the quest for better work-life balance.

There’s an excellent, free collection of 100 office workouts over at nonprofit fitness site Darebee.com, available as a downloadable PDF or as an Android app.

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The workouts can be done with limited time and space, and feature office-friendly routines like “No-Sweat Cardio” and an entire section of exercises that can be done with your trusty ol’ chair. It’s a great way to fill a few minutes in between meetings.

Time Etc: Hire a remote assistant

You’ve tried everything, but work still overpowers life. Time to call in some reinforcements.

If you’ve ever joked that you’re so busy you need an assistant, you may be pleasantly surprised to find that you can hire someone to take a bunch of busywork off your plate for around $300 a month.

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Services like Time Etc will match you with an experienced, U.S.-based remote assistant who can manage your inbox, check things off your to-do list, keep you organized, bill your clients, book travel, handle social media, run your email marketing, and a bunch of other tasks.

Pricing starts at $290 per month for 10 hours of work, with a free one-task trial available so you can get a feel for the process.

Sleep Cycle: Better bedtime

Look: Nothing’s in balance if you’re not sleeping well. And if you can’t figure out why you’re not sleeping well, it’s tough to fix it.

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Fire up the excellent Sleep Cycle app before you go to sleep, and it’ll privately record sounds you make throughout the night and then leverage artificial intelligence to analyze periods of regular sleep, deep sleep, and restlessness to gauge your overall sleep quality. From there, you can pinpoint areas for improvement.

You can also set a wake-up window of up to 90 minutes wherein the app will detect when you’re in a period of light sleep so that you wake up less groggy than you would by being startled awake by a statically timed alarm.

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The free version offers basic sleep analysis and the wake-up window feature, while the $30-per-year premium version offers in-depth stats, snore detection, sounds to help you fall asleep, online data backup, and more.