The Ten Best Sanity Apps for the Micro-Business Workaholic


Vasilisa the Brave and her doll that helped her finish the impossible tasks given to her by Baba Yaga
Vasilisa the Brave and her doll that helped her finish the impossible tasks given to her by Baba Yaga

There was a time when I would mock people with smart phones.  I wondered, how smart could a phone be, really? And then I got one. I wasn’t that fussed.  I lived in London and used the tube map a lot but that was about it, so I slowly let it die a death of obsolescence.  I went for years without one, but when I started missing trains in Yorkshire and getting lost I decided I should get a new one.  My biggest surprise was how helpful the phone was in not only helping me run my business but also at keeping me sane, giving me perspective and making sure I make time to take care of myself.  In many ways my phone has become like the little magic doll that helped Vasilisa the brave complete the impossible tasks given to her by the witch Baba Yaga.

homeroutinesHome Routines– This is the most used app on my phone.  This app allows you to list things you do daily, weekly, monthly and then renews these.  There is also space for a to-do list, for week day scheduling and a built-in timer.  It is designed for housework, and allows you do group tasks into “zones”, but this can be adapted to zones in your business or work life. I wish they would introduce a second app for business– that way I could have two running at the same time– one for my personal stuff and one for my business.  Also I find the gold stars you can give yourself when you complete a task totally satisfies the 7 year old girl in me.

insight_timerInsight Timer–This is a simple app that I use as a timer. It is a meditation timer but I use it for deep-breathing breaks as well as a task timer.  I find the gong sounds appealing.

stand_up!Stand Up!— This simple app reminds you to stand up.  This sounds like a basic thing, but much of my job is sitting– at the computer or my work table. When it rings it reminds me to take a break.  These breaks protect me from RSI, eye strain, and perhaps and the other maladies that come with sitting all day. This app is very adaptable– you can program it to ring only on certain days, and only while you are in certain locations. You can also tell it to leave you alone!

office_stretchesStretches— I use this in tandem with the Stand Up! app.  When the Stand Up! app rings, I sometimes do my own stretches or the stretches from this app. I like this app because all the stretches can be done at a desk or office area.  I am on the lookout for an app that is perhaps not so robotic.  The voice on the app is like an old school robot voice– the lack of human inflection is comical, but not in a good way.  Also the video is a bit glitchy, but in the mean time it will do.


Measures— This app is very handy when converting currency of my items or dimensions when helping customers from other countries.  This is an older app.  I’ve had it since my first go at iPhone ownership, years ago, and have never seen the need to switch to one of the newer conversion apps.

Shopify App— Shopify is the new platform I’m using for my online shop.  It helps you manage orders and stock, you can sell from your phone and you can also glean data about shop traffic.  Handy and comprehensive, I find it an invaluable tool.

sell-on-etsy-1000000-l-124x124Sell on Etsy App– Etsy has a similar app but it doesn’t provide you with any shop stats and the ability to manage inventory is annoyingly limited.  It also will ring whenever anyone favourites your items or gives you feedback. If you have a busy shop, this means your phone will be dinging constantly unless you turn these off.  In fact, I recommend setting yourself regular work hours and turning the app off when you are “off work”. I have disciplined myself to switch off the other functions as well, otherwise I would be chained to my store 24-7 and that’s not good for anyone!

yoga_iconYoga App— Another old favourite. I have been a yogi for 30 years and find it an indispensable tool for health.  As my handmade business involves a lot of limited, intense movements and loads of sitting, yoga is essential to keeping limber and flexible after work.  Lovely, simple and adaptable, this app really is a yoga studio in your pocket.  With the option to build your own sessions by adding poses from the extensive list available, you can customize your practice.  So far I find the pre-made sessions perfect for my needs.  This is a slightly more advanced yoga app– not necessarily for the absolute beginner.  I wish they would introduce an office yoga routine on this app–  yoga that can be done beside a desk or in limited floor space for small intervals.

Bloom-MusicBloom— Another favourite app of mine.  Developed by ambient pioneer Brian Eno and musician / software designer Peter Chilvers, this app is completely therapeutic stress-reducer.  Aural, tactile and visual delights calm and occupy the mind, getting you back to your happy place.

SkyViewSkyview— and if Bloom didn’t work, there is Skyview.  I don’t wait for night, and I don’t need to go outside to use this.  I love holding it up and seeing Aquarius beside Venus, floating over my potted ivy, or Ursula Minor and Mars gliding over my anvil. If I’m feeling overwhelmed with orders, red tape or other difficulties, this never fails to give me a bit of perspective.



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