Top 6 Applications for Thanksgiving and the Holidays for at Home and the Office

Mark Flesch
Author: Mark Flesch Date: 11/20/2018

Stressed by the holidays? There’s an app for that! The holidays can leave many feeling frazzled. Whether you’re having a simple family get together or planning an extensive office party, getting a handle on all the details and making life simpler is a good thing.

Make the holiday season a little less stressful this year with one of many apps on the market. You’ll find them useful for your personal life and your work life, too. And they can be used year-round. Here are our top six to consider.

1. RescueTime

Price: Free
Platform: iOS and Android

Getting together with family and friends for the holidays reminds us about what’s most important in life and can make us reconsider our priorities. All those late nights at the office or answering emails while on vacation can take time away from those we love, and we can often lose sight of our personal goals in pursuit of professional ones. While this time tracking app can help you know how much time you’ve spent in meetings, help you identify inefficiencies and understand your work habits, it also serves its purpose in making you aware of whether you have a healthy work/life balance.

It sends you a weekly report of its findings in addition to a three-month history. It’s a simple app that runs in the background on your computer or mobile device and tracks the time spent on applications and websites, or you can manually track time with the click of a button.

2. My Gratitude Journal

Price: $2.99
Platform: iOS

Even if you’ve had the worst day at work, there are things you can be thankful for. Science has proven that when you repeatedly focus on gratitude and the good feelings associated with it, your brain rewires itself to more easily experience those feelings in the future. And with this app, it only takes a few minutes.

This app helps you track things you’re thankful for each day, and you can even upload photos of that amazing sunrise on your smartphone or use emojis to get the point across. You can set up daily reminder notifications to help you form the habit of practicing gratitude and, if you can’t think of anything to be thankful for, you can look back at your journaling history to be reminded of all those things of the past and be thankful you did.

3. FlightView

Price: Free – $3.99
Platform: iOS and Android

Whether heading home for the holidays or heading out on a business trip, traveling is a stressful endeavor, especially if you have to fly. Airports are congested and weather can be unpredictable during the winter months, and this app gives you real-time flight information with a flight tracker map, airport delays, arrivals, departures and more.

Receive alerts regarding your flight status when you forward your itinerary which will automatically upload to the app. Plus, you can integrate your calendar, social networks and texts to keep family, friends and colleagues updated. It will even show weather conditions and where to park. Upgrade to a paid version and you can eliminate the ads, which some reviewers have stated is well worth the price.

4. Google Duo

Price: Free
Platform: iOS and Android

For those times when life and circumstances keep you from traveling home for the holidays, you can still see family and friends thanks to technology. Google Duo is a high definition video chat service that, unlike some other video chat apps, works across both iOS and Android operating systems. You can even leave a video message if the person you’re calling doesn’t answer, which is great if you’re trying to capture and share a moment.

It’s Knock Knock feature allows you to see video of the caller before you pick up, helping you visually sense if you should step out of that meeting to take the call or not. While it’s mostly touted as an app for personal use, Duo is increasingly being used at work to improve communications.

5. Spotify

Price: Free
Platform: iOS and Android

Music is a must at any office party or family get-together and, of course, cranking up the holiday tunes while driving to and from grandma’s house or the office can definitely get you in the spirit of the season. You can create your own Thanksgiving or holiday-themed playlist in Spotify and even share it through email or text, or with others who have a Spotify account. There are ready-made playlists that can be found via a simple search as well.

Not to be overlooked are the podcasts and spoken word categories available, covering everything from Ted Talks to storytelling. Premium plans are available for a fee that will remove ads and offer added features.

6. Giftster

Price: Free
Platform: iOS and Android

With Thanksgiving and Christmas displays showing up in stores earlier each year, chances are you may have already begun your holiday shopping. This app helps you organize all your gift giving, whether for family or for your Secret Santa at the office. Create your own lists for others or get a group of others to join and you can view their wish lists — similarly to a gift registry. Yes, you can also upload your own wish list, too.

Include links to products and conveniently purchase them directly through the app. A handy feature is its “Reserve” button, showing everyone (with the exception of the person who added the item to his or her wish list) that someone is purchasing the item, avoiding duplicate gifts.

7. Paprika

Price: $4.99
Platform: iOS and Android

What is the Thanksgiving holiday without food? Keeping the office potlucks and family get-togethers straight can lead to multiple trips to the grocery store for that one missing ingredient. This app helps you plan your meals with ease. Browse recipes online and simply tap a button to save it in the app. Its Smart Grocery List feature automatically sorts ingredients by aisle (dairy, produce, etc.), saving precious time and, since it syncs across devices, you can save it on your tablet and still access the information on your smartphone while out and about.

The timer automatically detects the cooking time shown in the recipe, and ingredients can be scaled to your desired serving size and even convert them from metric to imperial and vice versa. Check off ingredients as you go along and upload images of your creation when you’re done. A small but brilliant addition is how it keeps your screen on when viewing a recipe, so you don't have to worry about the screen turning off while you're cooking and trying to turn it back on with sticky or greasy fingers.

With hundreds of thousands of apps available, it’s difficult to narrow it down to just a few recommendations. What’s clear, however, is that some applications can pose unknown security risks, especially when unapproved apps, also known as Shadow IT, are used on devices at work. Learn more about Shadow IT and what you can do about it in our interactive guide. Simply click the link below. Then, reach out to the IT experts at Gordon Flesch Company to help address potential threats. You’ll be thankful you did.

Shine A Light On Shadow IT And Employee Risk

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Written by Mark Flesch

Mark joined the Gordon Flesch Company in 2008, rising from Account Executive to Vice President of Sales, Eastern Region. Today, he is Chief Operating Officer of the Gordon Flesch Company.

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