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Use an App to Make Voicemails Fun 
weekly upgrades

Use an App to Make Voicemails Fun 

Virginia K. Smith, Gawker Media

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When we rounded up our staff's Weekly Upgrades last Friday, our editors were prepping for various vacations, taking on impressive DIY projects, and re-thinking our organization strategies.

This week, we're focusing on diet and fitness, keeping up long distance friendships, streamlining our travel routines, and more.

What upgrades did you make this week? Let us know in the comments.

Track your office snack intake

A few weeks ago, I found myself unable to button my favorite jeans. And then other jeans I owned, the bigger-sized ones that don't look all the great-they were also getting too tight. Oh and also all of my pants. None of my pants fit, is what I'm saying. In an attempt to figure out the problem, I downloaded My Fitness Pal , a handy little app that tracks your food intake and exercise. One week in, I'm shocked (and a little embarrassed) to admit how profoundly this app has affected my daily habits. I realized that my weight gain wasn't due to some hidden thyroid problem but rather the fact that I have been enthusiastically taking advantage of free office snacks on the regular. I've found it far easier to cut down on unnecessary eating when I have to enter it into the app. And lo and behold, my jeans...well, okay, they still don't fit me. It's only been a week!

alice bradley, deputy editor

Keep in touch without constant texting

One of my best friends is off getting her PhD in the UK and the time difference makes talking on the phone a huge pain. Rather than just texting all the time, we've started sending each other voice memos through an app called Voxer. It's been a surprisingly great way to keep each other updated and feel connected. And in 2017, there's something pretty darn romantic about passing voicemails with your bestie.

Caitlin schneider, social editor

Slowly straighten out your teeth

I actually make this upgrade every week: I switch to my next set of dental aligners. I've been doing Invisalign (for medical reasons) since this spring. Whenever I move to a new set of aligners, my teeth ache, but I can see this proof that I've moved one step closer to well-aligned teeth that won't keep moving over time until they fall out. And each new aligner means one week closer to finishing, and no more brushing my teeth every time I have a snack or a beer.

nick douglas, staff writer

Improve your downward dog

I started going to yoga again. I bought an unlimited pass for the month and have been going twice a week. As someone who primarily sits and stands, my back is much happier.

claire lower, food & beverage editor

Quiet down your keychain

My keychain holds, in addition to my requisite trio of keys, my work ID, my gym membership tag, and a compact beer bottle opener (always be prepared). I keep it light because I also run with them in my pocket, and for the longest time they've been a metaphorical (and somewhat physical) thorn in my side. The rhythmic clatter of metal in my pocket gets bothersome after a while. As luck would have it, fate brought me into my local hardware store, and introduced me to both rubber key covers and stainless steel wire keychains , an improvement over the traditional keyring responsible for more than a few chipped fingernails. Now my keys are color-coded, rubber-coated, and more quiet than ever.

Patrick austin, staff writer

Track your habits to actually keep them

Right now I'm working on improving two different daily habits: meditating for at least a few minutes in the morning, and getting eight hours of sleep. In the interest of tracking my progress (and incentivizing myself to actually do what I've promised myself I'll do), I downloaded Productive , one of the apparently numerous habit tracker apps on the market. Right now I'm using the free version, which lets you track up to five habits at once, and displays them as a "streak" on a calendar. There are definitely days when I'll force myself to do whatever it is I need to do mostly for the sake of maintaining the streak, so I guess that means it's working.

virginia k. smith, managing editor

Spring for TSA precheck

I finally got TSA precheck. I've always thought it's silly to pay just to save a few minutes a few times a year (it's $85 for five years) but I finally decided to treat myself. And when I showed up at the airport yesterday morning, the lines were so long-like nothing I'd ever seen before at this airport. But I glided on through, so I guess it's already paying off!

beth skwarecki, health editor

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