The Holidays Are Coming. Get These Apps to Stay Sane and Productive.

How to manage your holiday workload

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and not too soon after comes Hanukkah, Christmas and then the New Year. It’s a time of food, and holiday parties, of friendship and family … and the time where we jam all of the work we can into the last few months of the year.

It’s easy to forget this is a time meant to be relaxing and refreshing. So here are three tools that will make your holidays more relaxing, while helping you stay productive.

1. Text Expander

Type smarter, not harder

I can’t think of an app I use as frequently or love as much as TextExpander. The premise: You type a lot of the same stuff every day. TextExpander lets you type a few letters, and your computer fills in the rest. It runs on the disability settings of your computer, and so it works across all computer programs, whether you’re in Word or Gmail.

TextExpander is brilliant for the holidays and online shopping because you can save your family and friends’ addresses in the snippets, typing something easy to remember like ‘momaddress’ and having your computer plug in the text.

Of course you can also use it to make work life more productive. Save that ‘happy holidays’ email in the snippets (complete with links, images, and whatever else floats your boat) so that you don’t have to go back and copy and paste the email each time.

2. Virtual Assistance

More people for your person

We’ve had remote assistants since starting our business, and I can’t overstate the benefits. From addressing and mailing client gifts, to helping plan the holiday party, to ensuring that that one gift the nephews want gets purchased, virtual assistants can make your life easier, allowing you to focus your time on the things that are important to you this holiday season.

  • Don’t Panic Management: For busy executives. If you’re a busy executive looking for extra helping hands on the work front, get in touch with Don’t Panic Management. Their elite professionals will “help you turn chaos into content, frustration into focus, and panic into productivity.” They’ll help with everything from event planning to podcasting.
  • Mezi: For those looking for ad-hoc support around shopping and travel. Mezi is an app that uses a natural language processor combined with real people to help you with your shopping needs. Looking for 5 tickets to The Nutcracker in your city? Mezi will return seat options and let you purchase via SMS. Need suggestions on hip gifts for a 16 year old nephew? Mezi will be back with a few options within a half hour, and can even make purchases on your behalf. With your permission, of course.
  • TaskRabbit: For specific in-person requests. If you’re looking for someone to wait in a line for you to get that gadget your wife wants, or clean your house before your mother-in-law shows up, or put together that Ikea dresser that’s been sitting boxed up for weeks, consider using TaskRabbit. There’s $1MM in insurance, and the workers are rated, so you’ve got the trust element covered.

3. Headspace :

Guided meditations to train your brain to relax

When all else fails, and you find yourself succumbing to the chaos, take a break with Andy Puddicombe and his incredibly calming voice. Start with ‘Take 10,’ which is a free series that helps you get started with meditation — and as the name implies, all you need is 10 minutes per day to discover the benefits.

Think of it as a gym membership for your mind.

It’s perfect to de-stress at the end of a tough day, whether it’s after telling your boss that you are in fact headed home for the holidays despite the big presentation coming up or after dealing with those in-laws who always pick a fight.

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