Apps for Balance

Apps for Balance
Attaining a successful work-life balance is no small task. Those needing a little help in getting there should look no farther than their pocket. Busy workers can now talk to an assistant, find a Starbucks, listen to the radio and track how much they walk each day all from a smartphone. Here are 10 smartphone and tablet apps designed to improve work-life balance.

Simply Yoga

Simply Yoga
Achieving work-life balance is easier when the mind and body are both relaxed. But fitting in time each day to take in a yoga class isn't always doable.

The Simply Yoga app lets busy employees squeeze in a 20-, 40- or 60-minute workout wherever they are. The app walks users through more than 60 poses, each demonstrated by a certified personal trainer. Simply Yoga also includes options for creating custom routines.

Platform: Available for Apple and Android devices

Price: $1.99 to $2.99

NPR/Fox News

NPR/Fox News
In today's always-on-the-go society, catching up on what's going on across the world can be a chore. The NPR News app makes the process easier by letting users customize which stories they want to hear, and in which order. It makes sure users can take in the news they are most interested in first, without the need to wait through stories they don't care about. In addition, the app provides hourly news updates, and a program guide tells users where their favorite programs are playing live so they can tune in. It also offers the option to read stories while listening to live stations or on-demand audio. And don't worry, if NPR is too liberal for you, there's also an app for Fox News.

Platform: Available for Apple and Android devices

Price: Free

Splashtop Remote Desktop

Splashtop Remote Desktop
Part of what plays into a successful work-life balance is breaking away from the office now and then. However, sometimes work just needs to get done. The Splashtop Remote Desktop gives users access to all their PC or Mac files and programs from their smartphone or tablet. The app is able to stream video and audio from users' PCs or Macs, allowing them to interact with their PowerPoint, Keynote, Word, Excel, Outlook, Quicken, IE, Firefox, Safari, "World of Warcraft" files, and other PC and MAC applications. The app gives busy employees the freedom to get work done from places other than their office.

Platform: Available on Apple and Android devices

Price: $4.99

Find Nearest Starbucks

Find Nearest Starbucks
Sometimes it's mixing in a few of life's simple pleasures that give stressed-out employees a sense of work-life balance. For many, those pleasures come in the form of a hot (or cold) cup of coffee. The Find Nearest Starbucks App does exactly what its name suggests: shows users maps and directions to the Starbucks location that's nearest to them, wherever they happen to be. The app includes maps and directions to almost 12,000 locations, with the five closest displayed each time the app is launched.

Platform: Apple devices only

Price: 99 cents

Speak To It Assistant

Speak To It Assistant
The only way that many feel they'll ever have a successful work-life balance is to clone themselves. While the Speak To It Assistant app doesn't go quite that far, it does give on-the-go workers a virtual assistant at- the-ready to answer questions, find information and connect them with various Web services, such as Google, Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and Evernote. The app works with the smartphone to get maps, search for news and images, look up weather reports, convert currency and measurements and send emails. Users simply speak in everyday language, and the assistant will understand and respond with what they need. A fun feature of the app is selecting the appearance of the virtual assistant. Choices include pretty blonde and brunette girls, handsome agents and old professors.

Platforms: Available on both Apple and Android devices

Price: The app is free on Android phones and 99 cents for Apple devices.

Timer+

Timer+
A critical step toward balancing work and life is setting aside time for each. The Timer+ app is an easy-to-use timer for diligent workers to ensure they aren't running over their allotted time for working on a project or shopping at the mall. The app is a simple countdown timer that can run multiple timers at once and send out alerts even when it's running in the background.

Platforms: Available on Apple devices only

Price: Free

All-In Pedometer

All-In Pedometer
Walking at work is an easy way to fit in a quick workout during a jam-packed day. Using the same special algorithm used in hardware pedometers, the All-In Pedometer app counts steps, monitors the distance covered and the time spent walking and tracks the speed and pace, average speed and how many calories were burned. The app also offers a body tracker that determines how quickly weight is lost and what activities are the most efficient in that process.

Platforms: Available on Apple devices only

Price: $1.99

CrunchTime

CrunchTime
The CrunchTime app is an all-in-one source for helping achieve an effective work-life balance. The app lets users set work-life balance goals, with achievement badges awarded each time a goal is met. It has the ability to track work hours, sleep time, overtime worked, mood, weight and vacation taken. The goal is to provide busy employees better knowledge of how their time is really spent, and to give them a sense of how to improve their overall quality of life. The app also offers the option of adding friends and colleagues to see who’s plugging away at the overtime.

Platforms: Available on Apple devices only

Price: $2.99

Daily Routine

Daily Routine
The Daily Routine app is designed to keep busy employees on-task. The app keeps track of everyday routines and sends users notifications on what they should be doing and when. Users can schedule routines for specific days of the week or month and have special reminders sent to them for tasks they often forget. The app also syncs with each user's online calendar to include new events as they are scheduled.

Platforms: Available on Apple devices only

Price: $2.99

Instapaper

Instapaper
The Instapaper app gives users a bookmark that lets them save articles and Web pages they want to read but just don't have time for. When users do snare some free time, whether it's on their commute home or while waiting in line at the bank, they can access the app and start reading the articles they saved. The app makes articles less cumbersome to read by saving articles in a text-only format and stripping away the full-size layout to optimize for smartphone and tablet screens. Everything saved is also available offline, giving users the ability to read the articles whenever they prefer and not just when they are connected to Wi-Fi.

Platform: Available on Apple and Android devices

Price: $4.99

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