Color & Control:

Work from home helps

woman sitting in her living room on her computer with a large white wall in the background

More of us are washing our hands amid the COVID-19 pandemic, but  1 in 4 don’t lather up when they need to, such as after blowing their nose, according to a new CDC report.

  1. Forest: Even before 2020 sent our brains into panic mode, our attention spans were waning — and now it’s even harder to stay focused. This productivity app offers a double-dose fix: It discourages you from wasting time while making you feel like you’re contributing in a small way to helping save the planet. Make a list of the sites that most distract you, set a target length of time you want to stay off them, then use the app to plant a virtual seed. If you visit any of these sites, your tree withers. If you make it through the time, you get a tree — and the app offers a service that allows you to grow real trees when you plant in the app.


  1. Noisli: Call it white noise for work hours. Sometimes all you need is to feel like you’re working among others again. Noisli helps you by recreating background noises such as coffee shop and office sounds that will make things feel a bit more familiar to you.


  1. Focusmate: Just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean you have to work alone —  even if you don’t typically have co-workers. Pick a time and date and Focusmate assigns you a random virtual accountability buddy. When you log in, tell the person what you’re working on and for how long, and they’ll do the same. Then you two just … quietly get to work and share your progress when the session ends.


  1. ErgoErgo: Sitting on an exercise ball at your desk is very Dwight Schrute — and will remind you how long it’s been since you did Pilates — but this active stool provides similar benefits while making you feel like an overgrown, bouncy kid. Winner of multiple design awards, the ErgoErgo was created to keep you active, even if only via micromotions, throughout the day.

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