There’s no denying COVID-19 is making many of us rethink how we work and live. Zoom has replaced meetings at work and Instacart has replaced trips to the grocery store. Technology is filling in the gaps while everyone stays home in the name of public health.
With everyone working from home for the foreseeable future, here are eight free online tools you can take advantage of to stay on top of both work and your personal life.
When you need to send out mass communications to clients or customers, automation is a godsend. HubSpot has always had a 14-day trial period for its suite of tools, but they’ve also recently added free meetings, quotes, e-signature tools and video creation for 90 days for existing users. That’s on top of their already-free CRM with email marketing.
If you need something fast, HubSpot’s CRM is a great tool to track your business’ contacts and leads, and the email marketing feature enables you to send out critical communications quickly without needing a mail merge.
If you need something for the long-haul, their suite of marketing and sales tools make it easy to get full visibility of your sales pipeline. Plus, you’ll have access to more features for 90 days at no cost to you.
If you haven’t moved to the cloud yet, working remotely has probably been a unique challenge for sharing files. If your team stored everything on local computers before the pandemic, Box (not to be confused with Dropbox) is offering a free trial for 90 days as a response to the ongoing crisis.
As a versatile cloud-based tool, Box can integrate with Office 365, Salesforce and GSuite. The 90-day free trial includes unlimited storage and data loss prevention, so you and your team won’t be hamstrung in your productivity.
One of the most important technical aspects of remote work is ensuring data stays secure. To help companies and businesses do that, Okta is offering access to its single sign-on and multi-factor authentication products for free for emergency remote work and teams.
Okta is a great tool for securing your business’ data from leaks or breaches. The single sign-on tool will streamline logins across apps and platforms while also protecting your team’s data from breaches. It’ll be like having your own private security.
Jing has always been a free screen or image capture tool. But for those with older computers, sharing screens over a Slack call is suboptimal at best, computer-crashing at worst. That leaves screen capture recordings as the best way to share what you’re seeing without risking laptop death (RIP).
You can download Jing for free and use it to capture and share screen recordings with your team members. This is especially helpful for troubleshooting technical issues you can’t describe in words!
Life (And Work, Too!)
As we all navigate the uncharted waters of COVID-19 together, it’s easy to forget to take a breath. Simple Habit can help with that.
Simple Habit is a meditation app to help you achieve mindfulness and sleep better. You can pick from meditations to guided sleep sessions. The app is designed for on-the-go life, so even if you only have five minutes to spare, you can still get in a quick meditation session. Designzillas has actually partnered with Simple Habit for our own team!
They say the best way to eat an elephant is one chunk at a time. While we absolutely don’t condone eating an elephant, the saying applies for balancing out your work.
Pomofocus will track time and help you stay productive without overworking yourself. The Pomodoro technique splits up work into 25-minute chunks with a 5-minute break afterward. After an hour, you can take a longer 15-minute break.
The Pomodoro Technique works because it focuses your attention and energy on these small, manageable chunks of time. Instead of work-work-working yourself for four or five hours on one project, you can jump between priorities and rest your eyes and stretch.
Who doesn’t love a list? Todoist is like a sticky note list on steroids, and it’s totally free. You can add tasks, prioritize them or set them to recur. So there are no more excuses for “forgetting” to take out the trash every Thursday!
You can use Todoist for separating your tasks out for the day, like scheduling time to help with your kids’ homework, ordering groceries and mowing the lawn. With the world in quarantine, now is the perfect time to get some things done you may have procrastinated up until now (like cleaning out the garage at home or finally achieving Inbox Zero at work). Separating out your day into tasks and to-dos can de-clutter your brain. Mari Kondo would be proud.
Never underestimate Google Calendar. The Calendar can sync to apps like Slack and your Gmail to keep you on top of everything going on in your work life and home life. You can also schedule your own time and block out critical time for yourself, or set reminders to unplug from work for the day.
Google Calendar is a tool for times when you don’t have enough time. You can coordinate your schedule down to the hour to ensure you get the “me time” you need. Think of it as insurance for your peace of mind. 😉
Times are stressful, to put it mildly. While we don’t know when things will get back to normal, we can help ourselves now with the right work/life balance tools. So take a deep breath, find your comfiest blanket and remember: we’re all in this together.