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  • Writer's pictureMJ Fievre

Tips to Set-Up Your Home Workspace

Here we are again, heading into another year of working from home. My colleague, Becca Anderson of Badass Affirmations, and I have compiled a list of handy tools/apps to help you balance your work and home life. Here are some things that we recommend:

1) Focus: Using the Pomodoro technique, Be Focused (available on your Mac) keeps track of your tasks and will interrupt you at regular intervals to make sure you’re taking your needed breaks to rest. Focus Keeper (for iPhone and iPad) also uses the Pomodoro technique; Daywise schedules notifications to stop work and reminds you to take some free time. Ambient Noise is great for concentration. Serene is another tool that cuts out distractions, helping you stay focused and complete tasks faster.

2) Time Management: Toggl keeps track of how long it’s really taking you to complete tasks. Zapier saves you time on repetitive tasks and switching between apps by automating processes (e.g., automatically saving Gmail attachments to Google Drive). Create your to-do list with Evernote. The app also allows you to jot down notes, take photos, make voice recordings, or otherwise preserve your ideas for future use (before they slip your mind).

3) Email Solutions: Spark is a smart email client that stops your inbox from getting in the way of productivity and turns it into an asset. Inboxcube sorts your emails in cubes so it’s easier to hunt for a particular message.

4) Scheduling: Use Doodle to set up meetings. Google Calendar also helps you manage all your calendars and events in one place and arrange meetings without exchanging dozens of emails.

5) File Creation and Sharing: Microsoft Office (including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook) is still the productivity software chosen by many businesses. Alternatively, Apple’s Pages creates rich text documents. Chrome Remote Desktop allows you to access your computer securely from any device and screen-share with teammates for stronger collaboration. Google Drive allows for document creation, cloud storage, file sharing, and collaboration. You and your coworkers can work on the same document simultaneously to make sure all necessary voices are heard on projects. DropBox allows you to access your stored files from any device with an internet connection; you can also share collaborative folders. TeamViewer is a remote desktop support tool that lets you connect to another computer over the internet and take control of it.

6) Collaboration: Asana is a full-featured, easy-to-use project management platform. Trello is one of the best apps to help you organize tasks and track your team members’ progress. Check out Monday and Smartsheet as well.

7) Communication: Slack is a real-time communications tool that allows you to create topic-based channels, direct-message with coworkers, and make audio and video calls. Zoom offers video and voice calls for groups and one-to-one. Skype offers instant chat, calls, video chat, and SMS messaging—all from the same interface. Microsoft Teams is also a great resource.

8) Finances: Expensify is expense management software with a cloud-based app that allows you to easily record expenses, store scanned receipts, and submit reimbursement requests.

9) Professional Networking: The LinkedIn app helps you stay connected with colleagues, professionals in your field, and friends—an especially important feature for people who work from home, which can be isolating at times.


A creator of safe spaces, and an initiator of difficult conversations, M.J. Fievre, B.S. Ed, spent much time building up her Black students, helping them feel comfortable in their skin, and affirming their identities. Her close relationships with parents and students led her to look more closely at how we can balance protecting our child’s innocence with preparing them for the realities of Black life. When―and how―do you approach racism with your children? How do you protect their physical and mental health while also preparing them for a country full of systemic racism? She began to research the issue and speak to school counselors and psychologists to find (and apply!) strategies parents and teachers can use with their children to broach uncomfortable but necessary topics.

M.J. is the author of Badass Black Girl, a daily dose of affirmations for Black Girls

“You'll come away from Badass Black Girl feeling as if you've known the author your entire life, and it's a rare feat for any writer.” ―“Mike, the Poet,” author of Dear Woman and The Boyfriend Book

#1 Gift Idea in Teen & Young Adult Cultural Heritage Biographies, Publishers Weekly Select Title for Young Readers

Affirmations for strong, fearless Black girls. Wisdom from Badass Black female trailblazers who accomplished remarkable things in literature, entertainment, education, STEM, business, military and government services, politics and law, activism, sports, spirituality, and more.

Explore the many facets of your identity through hundreds of big and small questions. In this journal designed for teenage Black girls, MJ Fievre tackles topics such as family and friends, school and careers, body image, and stereotypes. By reflecting on these topics, you will confront the issues that can hold you back from living your best life and discovering your Black girl bliss.

Embrace authenticity and celebrate who you are. Finding the courage to live as you are is not easy, so here’s a journal designed to help you nurture creativity, positive self-awareness and Black girl bliss. This journal honors the strength and spirit of Black girls.

Change the way you view the world. This journal provides words of encouragement that seek to inspire and ignite discussion. You are growing up in a world that tries to tell you how to look and act. MJ Fievre encourages you to fight the flow and determine for yourself who you want to be.

Badass Black Girl helps you to:

  • Build and boost your self-esteem with powerful affirmations

  • Learn more about yourself through insightful journaling

  • Become comfortable and confident in your authentic self

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