Maybe you're lucky to be productive and successful every day. And your work--which is always enjoyable and fulfilling--zooms by quickly. If that's you, congratulations. For everybody else, here are a handful of easy-to-use and free or affordable tech tools that can make work better.
1. Lumo Lift
Slouching at the desk all day can make people miserable. Not only that, confidence breeds success at work and in life and how you hold yourself plays a huge part in whether others perceive you as self-assured or not. This sleek magnetized sensor attaches to your clothing. You can wear the small black or silver square as jewelry on top of your clothing a few inches below your collarbone, or hidden under a collar or attached to a bra strap. It syncs with an iOS app and once configured can be set to coach you by vibrating every time you slouch. Lumo Lift's sensitive algorithm also detects the wearer's posture all day long in addition to steps, calories burned and distance walked and beams all this data to your phone when the Lumo Lift is in range. Lumo Lift is available for $100 at LumoBodyTech.com and you can get the app at the iTunes Store.
Email is a major pain point for most people but thankfully there are tools available to help you deal with the many messages flooding your inbox every day. For example, SaneBox is a popular email filtering tool that works well starting at $7 a month, and if you use Gmail, Google's free Priority Inbox works well. Another option: Inky, a free desktop and mobile email client that aggregates all your email accounts and organizes messages into smart views according to categories such as social, subscriptions, personal, daily deals and more. Inky includes useful tools such as one-click unsubscribe, maps for messages that contain addresses and ink drops that predict relevance, with lighter drops indicating a message will be less important to you. You can also send much larger files than email normally allows by uploading attachments to an ADrive account linked to Inky; a recipient will receive a URL where he or she can download them.
This free drag-and-drop design tool has been called "the easiest to use design program in the world," and is indeed a super simple way to create anything from posters, blog graphics, flyers and graphic posts for social media. You can upload your own images to the platform and use Canva to add interesting backgrounds to them as well as pre-designed text boxes, or you can search a database of more than 1,000,000 stock photos which only cost $1 each to use.
Hackers looking to gain access to your work and personal accounts can use powerful software to crack encrypted passwords by guessing millions of variations per second. So, if you're smart you'll use a unique and unguessable password (meaning it's a non-word alpha-numeric string) anywhere you log on online. That's right, a different password for every account you use. The only feasible way to do this is by using a password vault. LastPass is my personal favorite, but if you're on iOS you might try Dashlane, which will generate and store unique passwords when you're registering an account and serve you the proper login credentials when you need to log in to a site. It's also a digital wallet that stores your payment information to making buying things online a snap. Choose from free or a premium account, which is $30 a year.
5. Google Voice
You'll want this free service if you sometimes don't want to give out your real mobile phone number. Google Voice will assign you a different number that will ring to your phone and when people call it you can choose to accept the phone call or send them directly to voicemail. If you do the latter you can hear the caller leaving a message in real time with the ability to take the call out of voicemail if the person says something you want to respond to immediately. Best of all, using the Google Voice desktop client you can text people using your computer keyboard instead of tapping on your phone.