I’ve worked at home on and off for most of my career, though for the past five years, I’d been in an office. Now, I have a job enables me to work from home when I’m not on the road, and I am re-discovering some pitfalls. You know the big one: laziness.
I mean, really– how easy is it to not shower, not brush your teeth, and to eat cereal right out of the container when you literally won’t see anyone for hours?
Yeah, can’t do that. For one, I’m not productive. And for two, that reminds me a little too much of some of my darker days after I got laid off this past summer.
Being the gadget geek I am, I’ve turned to several apps to help me reinforce some good habits.
Moves: Moves is an app that tracks your movements and creates a “storyline” of where you’ve been. It uses GPS and the gyrometer in your iPhone to track distance without having a second gadget. It tracks steps, running, cycling, walking– anywhere where you’re moving (but not cars; I guess they’ve programmed it to realize that humans can’t run 65 mph). Today, I’ve really only walked around my apartment, but it also reminds me that movement is probably a good thing– and drives me to go out and walk in my urban neighborhood.
Lift: Lift allows you to check into pre-created habits. You can create habits like “Floss” or “Exercise” or “Make the Bed” (a big one for me). You can search popular habits to see what other people are working on VolumePills (and to remind you what you might work on– “drink more water” was a good one for me) and are also organized by categories like productivity, mindfulness and fitness. You can check on your friends’ activity, and support them with “props”. It’s like crowdsourced responsibility.
GymPact: Put your money where your mouth is, or something like that. GymPact makes you pay cold, hard cash every time you don’t go to the gym. Make a pact with yourself (mine is currently 3x/week), check in when you go to the gym or go for a run, and earn money. I found the checkins can be kind of buggy, but their customer service very quickly will credit you a gym visit that you missed because of their app. Users get paid by those who don’t go to the gym. I’ve earned, like, $7 so far– which doesn’t cut into my personal training budget, but hey, it’s better than paying $25 for not going. Ouch. If you want to join, they have a “get $5 when you sign up” promotion. Hey, I’ve never been paid to exercise, have you?
SparkPeople is something I’ve been using for years on and off– probably since 2006. They are a local-to-me company that is the largest fitness site on the web, and happens to have a great app. You can track calories, weight, measurements and exercise and it’s all free. The reporting features is pretty good on the app and even better on the website. Plus, if you have a Fitbit or other tracking device, you can sync it with SparkPeople’s tracking.