Since Tuesday my region declared a mandatory closing of all nonessential businesses. This means I’m back home, suddenly semi-unemployed for the time being. Having freelanced for the last several months prior to finding a full-time gig, I am not a stranger to working from home. Yet I do miss going to coffee shops and other public venues when I get restless.
Luckily for us, we have the technology to make isolation bearable. But with the vast amount of apps to choose from, how do you decide which is right for you?
Maybe you don’t have to overthink it, because I’m about to tell you 6 apps that make my stay-at-home life bearable.
For 10 dollars a month I have access to so many magazines that I will never finish all of them. It’s a great way to stay informed and be inspired by what’s going on in the world outside of your apartment or home.
I get to read articles of my choosing in the New Yorker. Or I can look up work out advice in Women’s Health. Maybe I’m in the mood for interviews only found in great publications like Fast Company. Honestly, the selection is pretty amazing for the price you pay. Also can bookmark articles for later and read across devices. So if you are already in the Apple ecosystem, then don’t hesitate to grab this app
For those of you who can’t don’t have or can’t figure out how to attach your library card to Libby, there is another option. Scribd is an app where you can read an almost unlimited number of books and listen to 3–5 audiobooks a month. The catch? There is a limited selection.
Though you may not find everything, there is enough new stuff cycling through, and many older books as well, so you’re not likely to run out of reading material anytime soon. This app is particularly good for anyone looking for a sweet hit of nostalgia, as many children’s and YA books are available as well.
Instagram and Twitter
This is the time to use social media for good. Twitter keeps me in touch with writing groups, important updates, and much-needed comic relief. Instagram gives me an endless supply of inspiration when I’m in a creative rut.
I should mention that these apps only do this because I’ve aggressively curated my interests to the point where my feed is mostly positive and full of creatives. I can always get news when I need it, but I don’t want to fall into a black hole of despair whenever I open social media.
We all find it hard to not scroll through social media sometimes. Getting on Instagram for inspiration is one thing, but spending 2 hours falling down a well of cat videos really doesn’t do much for you work-wise. Yes, you will be happier, but that cat bliss will be wiped away the moment you realize how much time you’ve let slide out from under you.
Forest is perfect for those who want to try the Pomodoro Technique of timed working but lack the willpower to pull themselves away from distractions. You set a timer on the app and the tree starts growing. It continues to grow into a full-fledged tree by the end of your allotted time.
However if the app senses you are moving away from its screen, to do some sneaky Facebook stalking, you’ll be rewarded with a dead tree. Since you can actually use your points to have the company plant real trees, you will feel like a jerk if you squandered the opportunity to beautify the Earth just to read a Tweet.
If left to my own devices I would binge-watch every TV show I have on my list. Yet I know that I need to be using this precious time wisely. Not only on side-gigs but also to keep working on my skills.
This is why I have Skillshare, an app, website, and platform where you can take all sorts of online classes. Next time you want to binge a trashy television show, alternate it with binges of these lessons. There’s no shocking season finale, but you’ll still feel satisfied by the end of an hour with your newfound skill.
Spotify is my solace for background sounds. Coffee shop, rain, cat purrs, library whispers, whatever I’m looking for Spotify has it. I enjoy the silence, but now that I have to work with a partner in my home I sometimes need headphones to drown out conference calls from ten feet away.
Spotify’s podcast library is not insubstantial and you will feel less lonely during your social distancing period if your favorite host is speaking into your ear. Not to mention there are tons of free kid’s programs that perfect for keeping the children distracted while you work.