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5 Free Tools to Boost Productivity While Working From Home



Ah, working from home. It’s every aspiring digital nomad’s dream.


The thought of waking up with no commute, no visible co-workers and no obligation to be tethered to a desk all day fills us with a sense of longing.


And why wouldn’t it? In a 2018 survey on remote work, 86 percent of respondents said having a flexible job would make them less stressed and 77 percent said it would allow them to be healthier.


So, you might be thinking, “Just give me a laptop with some decent Wi-Fi, and I’ll be good,” right? Well, yeah, it can be that easy. But let’s be honest with ourselves: Distractions are everywhere. And if we’re not careful, we can find ourselves in a position where nothing’s getting done and we’re just as stressed as when we were in the office.


Thankfully, we have technology to help us. Check out this short list of free software programs to help you make the most out of working from home.


1. Trello



Using the Kanban method, Trello is a helpful project management tool that can help you and your team track your work. The free version lets you make unlimited personal boards, unlimited cards and unlimited lists. Use it for your to-do lists or to track the progress of work. You can also collaborate with your team members for up to 10 boards, which is helpful for shared visibility. There’s also a cool feature called Power-Ups, which allows you to sync your board with apps like Dropbox, InVision, Jira, Google Drive and Slack.


2. StayFocusd


Distractions are everywhere when you’re working from home. YouTube, Instagram, even that little dinosaur game when the internet goes out, can suck you into the swirling vortex of distraction. StayFocusd helps you minimize those distractions so you can get more done. By blocking those apps and websites, StayFocusd is a great way to manage your digital space and optimize your productivity.Download the extension for Google Chrome to get started.


2. Microsoft Teams


As of 2018,Microsoft released a free version of Teams software for small teams who don’t already have an Office 365 account. As Microsoft’s answer to Slack, Teams offers users many of the same chat and video conferencing capabilities that Slack users know and love. And people are loving it. In 2019, Teams reached13 million daily active users. Use it to chat with your teammates or collaborate on projects. Teams integrates seamlessly with the other Microsoft applications, if you have them. You can edit Word docs, Excel spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations in real time, right in the app. And similar to Slack, you can integrate it with other third-party apps too.


3. Zoom


For most remote employees, telecommuting and video conferencing are part of their new normal. Zoom is an awesome web conferencing tool for small and large meeting groups. You can meet with up to 100 participants for 40 minutes per meeting with the free version. Zoom also allows you to record and share your meeting. Oh, by the way, if you want to have some fun during your meeting, check out the virtual background feature. You’re welcome.


4. Google Drive


Let’s face it, the entire G Suite has changed the game when it comes to working remotely, and this one’s a classic. Google Drive is a free cloud-sharing and file-storage software that allows users to find files instantly. The seamless integration with other Google programs (like Google Docs and Gmail) and the great price tag (free for the first 15 gigs) have made connecting and creating a breeze. Google Drive is a great way to share documents, photos and videos back and forth. You can access it in your G Suite if you already have a Gmail account, or you can download the mobile app.


5. Pomofocus


There’s a lot of science out there that says taking breaks can actually improve productivity. And if you’re the type who gets caught up in work and forgets to take breaks, then this might help you a lot. It’s based on the Pomodoro Technique, where you set a timer and work for 25-minute increments. When the timer goes off, you can take a break for five minutes and a 15-minute break after the third timer. There are lots of different timers out there, but this one has a nice design and allows you to customize the timer to your liking.


Check out these free software tools and leave a comment with some of your own recommendations!


This blog was originally posted on Medium.com.

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