Laura Thomas-Gilks is managing director and digital strategist at Salt & Candy. Picture: Supplied

Laura Thomas-Gilks, who heads up Durban-based global brand communication agency Salt & Candy, shares her tips on how apps can help maintain a healthy work-life balance.

Set the mood is like a radio station to help you focus. They use specific sounds backed by science to help you get in the mood to work. They claim that it only takes about 10 minutes for the music to start affecting you.

So why music? Music works as a stimulant and influences cognitive states. In a nutshell, the app uses sound waves and artificial intelligence for sleep, focus and creativity.

There are 4 mental states to choose from: focus, meditation, relaxation, naps or night time sleeps. also partnered with the USA Olympic Wrestling team to help their insomnia and performance anxiety during preparation for the 2016 Rio Olympics. So chances are that it must work.


Newsfeed eradicator

If you are easily distracted and wonder where the time went when browsing cute cat videos on Facebook, then you should consider this. The browser extension replaces your Facebook newsfeed with a motivational quote. It’s simple and brilliant at the same time.

No more mindless scrolling through other people’s holidays giving you instant FOMO during working hours. It also saves you from the anguish over political posts and fake news.

The extension is for those that don’t want to eliminate Facebook altogether, but gives you access to messages, notifications and groups.


Password reset

If you have too many accounts on different sites, LastPass will save your life. It is a tool which stores all passwords to any account you have ever created.

The problem of losing or forgetting your passwords is no longer an issue. With LastPass, you can easily manage your passwords, remove those inactive and add new ones.

Another advantage is that your LastPass account is backed up and synced across all devices for access to your passwords - no matter where you are.


Up your smarts

Blinkist gives you key ideas from the world’s best nonfiction books in 15-minute text and audio. Learn something new everyday with unlimited access to over 2500 of the world’s best titles in 19 top categories. Every insight is referred to as a "blink" and is able to fit into a few pages (or few minutes of listening).

The people behind Blinkist review bestseller lists, talk to thought leaders, and read many book reviews to pick and choose which books they want to turn into “blinks.” Once they choose a book, their group of readers and writers extract the most valuable insights (or "blinks") and summarize them to highlight key ideas.


Healthy digital lifestyle

Studies show that an average adult checks their phone at least 110 times a day - once every 13 minutes.

BreakFree is the first of its kind mobile app aimed at controlling smartphone addiction and helping you maintain a healthy digital lifestyle.

The app monitors phone and app usage and tracks how addicted you are to your phone and apps. With visually appealing characters, graphs and stats, it guides you on how you can control phone usage.

Using a highly advanced algorithm, the app studies your phone usage pattern and calculates an addiction score in real time. You can track your progress with daily, weekly and monthly graphs.