In a lot of ways, the cultural and physical demands of work ironically set us up for fuzzy brains and injuries, both of which tank the creativity, productivity and overall results companies are pushing for. But technology can be an ally in the fight to stay sharp-minded, comfortable, healthy and successful, provided they connect to what scientists have figured out. Rather than choose any old app, focus on these, which all are built with scientific relevance.
F.lux is a cross-platform app similar to Apple's Night Shift function that will automatically shift the color of your computer monitor. The adjustments are made both on the time of day and your geographical location. But essentially, the closer you get to bedtime, the more blue light the program takes out of your display. Scientists know that blue light can mess with the brain's ability to downshift and cue the body to sleep, so in theory, the app could help you wind down and fall asleep faster. The app also gives you notifications to let you know how many hours you're waking up in, a subtle nudge for you to get off the device and into bed. And yes, you can adjust settings so it's suitable even for shift workers.
Scientists have figured out that constant use of computer screens and screen-based devices can cause eye fatigue and strain. That's a huge problem given that, according to the American Optometric Association, a typical worker spends seven hours a day on the computer for their job or at home. They also know that the brain needs to downshift regularly through the day (ideally every 90 minutes), and that regular movement and stretching is necessary to maintain good muscle function and strength.
Eyeleo is a simple app that reminds you to take regular breaks so you can get up, move and rest your eyes. The app features both short and long breaks. The short ones offer guided eye exercises. The longer ones, which you can prevent yourself from cheating on via strict mode, will block your screen. You get a notification in advance of the long break, so if you've set up strict mode, the screen block won't take you by surprise.
3. Posture Man Pat
Posture doesn't just affect your back and neck. It also can affect areas like mood, digestion and general breathing and circulation. If you're sad, in pain or not getting the nutrients and oxygen you need, you're probably not going to focus and perform as well. So Posture Man Pat uses your webcam to monitor you head height. If you slouch, the app holds you accountable with an audio alert, dimming your screen or both. If you're used to bad posture, you might want to start using the app in more limited sessions so your body has time to adjust and strengthen without soreness.
4. Cold Turkey
Ever find yourself inching your mouse over to Facebook or your email when you're supposed to be working? Or maybe you can't help but ping between a lot of sites. That's not surprising, given that the brain is built to want what's novel and will give you a little jolt of dopamine every time you finish a job (like checking email) or find something new. But scientists also know that multitasking--which in reality is just the brain rapidly switching between different functions--drains the brain's energy. Cold Turkey lets you block particular sites, the entire Internet or applications based on a schedule you pick. It will even lock you out of your computer. SelfControl, Freedom, StayFocusd, Leechblock and Anti-Social are other good options.
It's important to note that these apps, like any other product, need some more review to help quantify just how effective they are. But they're not baseless. Each has data to support you giving them a try. Think about your specific needs and habits and then choose which ones are your ideal downloads.