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Workplace stress has escalated over the past few decades as our business world becomes increasingly fast-paced and demanding. Workplace psychologist David Lewis reports that a high percentage of workers are seriously stressed at work, feeling overwhelmed and unable to cope with their responsibilities. Work-related stress is so prevalent that Americans have grown to accept it as our inescapable fate. But it doesn’t have to be.
As the head of a company that specializes in home and office organization and relocation logistics, I’m continually evaluating new technologies that boost effectiveness and productivity while alleviating stress. Here are some tools that I have found essential:
Portable Battery Packs
Like many busy professionals, I’ve found myself in the situation of facing a long day with a cell phone that has a low battery. That’s why I never leave my home or office without at least two fully charged mini power packs. They are small, practically weightless, and ensure that I am never without portable power. This way you can always be “in charge” of your phone or tablet.
Scanners and Cloud Storage
Ever arrive at a client meeting with a document missing from a file? Who hasn’t! Now I use a high-speed scanner to save all documents to my server or the cloud. I use two web-based repositories with OCR (optical character recognition), like Evernote, so retrieval is as easy as recalling a word or phrase within the document. Not only does this eliminate paper clutter, but it also significantly improves access to important information.
Community-Based Navigation Assistance
If you’ve ever experienced unanticipated traffic conditions that made you late for an important appointment, forget your GPS and instead download a real-time navigation app — I use Waze — that allows you to join drivers in your vicinity to share traffic and road updates. Save gas and improve your daily commuting time to the office and appointments.
Personal Mobile Hotspot
Thanks to my cell phone’s mobile hotspot, I no longer need to search for public Wi-Fi or rely on wireless connectivity at a client’s location. I use my carrier's mobile hotspot to work online from almost anywhere, connecting multiple devices simultaneously.
I have a cloud-based task list called Toodledo on my iPad and iPhone that syncs across devices. In the rare event that I am phoneless, I log in to its web-based platform. SMS and e-mail reminders are sent to me so I don’t overlook important items or miss deadlines. Unfinished work automatically carries over to the next day. Tasks can be prioritized and also shared with my team and family members.
Secure Password Keeper
With SplashID, my digital password manager, I am never without login data. Usernames, passwords, account information, and personal data are all stored in a secure, encrypted cloud-based system. The info is synced across platforms and available for immediate retrieval from my portable devices or computer.
Mindfulness and Meditation Apps
Meditation has been proven to promote calm and creativity and to enhance the ability to focus. It’s not surprising that it has become a vital practice among top executives. At a recent conference, entrepreneur and best-selling author Tim Ferriss spoke about mobile apps that facilitate meditation and mindfulness. I downloaded one called Calm that allows me to pull up “serene sounds” and a variety of guided meditations. I customize the length of a session depending on how much time I have, whether it’s two minutes or 20. It’s like having a guru in my palm.
There is no question that the digital age has streamlined how we live and work while introducing new challenges. Smart technology can mitigate some workplace stress. Many of the app detailed here offer free and premium subscriptions, and most have introductory free trials, so you can experiment to find the one that works for you. After all, you have nothing to lose but your stress.
Denise Caron-Quinn ’95, RN, is founder and director of In Order to Succeed, a NYC- and CT-based business consulting and moving assistance firm. Caron-Quinn is also an Evernote Business-certified consultant working with individuals and businesses to help them maximize productivity and achieve work-life balance.