Most entrepreneurs' lives are wrought with stress, and mine is extra-normally infused with chaotic anxiety and the disorganization that continues to push it. It's hard to put into words, but there are times when you need to actually focus on not working to be a better worker. It took me many years of owning a business to work on my own (and my employees') corporate wellness, an obfuscated term that means "feeling better and working better." Some of the best advice I can give, as a young entrepreneur, is that you sometimes have to unwind so that your workday doesn't grind you down. Here're some apps I've found that help.
1. Like a Local
When I'm traveling, I often make the mistake of just sitting inside my hotel room brooding or working. I have found Like a Local to have overtaken Yelp as my go-to exploration tool, as it's a significantly quicker way to, well, explore a place like a local. It's curated entirely by local residents, rather than aggregating content from other sites, as a few competitors have tried. It has reliably been a way to enjoy what would otherwise be a drab business trip.
Hangtime has occasionally been a lifesaver (it's available on iOS and Android) as it has shown me, wherever I happen to be in a particular week, what my Facebook friends are actually up to. You can even flag specific things you're interested in and the app will give you a surprise notification when someone you know locally is doing something similar.
3. Oh, Ranger! ParkFinder
It's trite to say, "Oh, you should get outside more," but when you're locked in a local Sheraton and all you've seen are beige conference walls for hours, there's a great value to seeing, say, some trees. Oh, Ranger! ParkFinder, available on iOS and Android, features a comprehensive database with every park in the U.S., along with what things you can do while you're there. You can even search by activity, which is useful if you're a lot less lazy than I am.
4. Movies, Trailers, Showtimes by Marquee
It's hardly rocket science to decide, "Get away from the conference and distract yourself." However, for some reason Fandango has become remarkably unreliable at finding the movies that are actually on. Movies, Trailers, Showtimes by Marquee is a free, location-aware iPhone app that makes it easy to scroll through a list of films playing at your local theater. It displays everything as a series of movie posters, rather like Apple TV, and for each film lets you see a synopsis and, far more important, the run time (and the box office so far, if you care). This app is useful if you want to duck out before a late-night meeting.
5. Spa Week
Taking 60 minutes out of my day to get a massage on particularly grueling, multiday business trips has been one of the ways I've survived meetings without a violent act. Strangely, to simply look up and find a spa outside of the five-star resorts has become a lot harder, with many sites tricking you into Groupon-esque deals. Spa Week's free iOS app sticks to showing you more than 8,000 spas, and while it has offers, they're not shoved down your throat immediately.
My old book agent once told me that he listened to everything, long-form, he was sent, as it was far more relaxing and yet made him pay more attention. Umano does this on the fly, turning articles into audio, and I've found it to be particularly useful when I pass up my daily PR, tech, and business article updates and need to catch up while lying in bed. Each article listing on Umano includes a brief synopsis and a run time, so you'll know what you're getting into. It's available for free in the iTunes and Android app stores, and has helped me keep up to date on things without staring any further at the bright, ever-distracting hell of my laptop.
I can't meditate, thanks to a constant ringing in my ears and ADHD, but I've found (even though it sounds clichÃ©d) breathing exercises to help calm me down during a particularly intense day. Breathe2Relax (iPhone and Android) talks you through breathing exercises, of the type a psychologist or counselor might, that in my personal experience, and others' anecdotal conversations, really do help.
It may seem hokey, but after a few hours of intense (and at times dull) breakout panels, meetings, and other business activities, it's worth remembering that you're a human. Humans need rest, and they most certainly need to calm down. If you learn to give yourself a break--even a small one--during a trip or an event, it'll do you a world of good.