These are amazing times that we live in. Technical progress has given us an abundance of means to do things faster – and probably better. Nowadays, we have a whole world at the tips of our fingers – in our smartphones.
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But there’s a disturbing flip side to it, too. As we all know, our gadgets are not only used for work and studies, but also for entertainment. And isn’t it tempting to substitute one with the other? A new mobile game is just a tap away – as are Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, you name it. And many of us give in to the temptation. After all, we’re only human. So how can we help it?
And then what? A gnawing feeling of guilt because we – once again – break all deadlines. For students, there’s a sure way to catch up: they can just type “paper writer” in the search bar. But for working professionals, the problem is far more serious.
But there’s a way out of this vicious circle of indulgence and guilt. Ironically, it is also provided by technology. You might not have known it, but there’s a multitude of apps aimed at boosting productivity, beating procrastination, and, basically, helping you put down your phone. We’ve put together a list of the best of such apps to help you make a choice.
- Platform: iOs, Android, web (as a Firefox extension)
- Price: $1,99 + optional purchases
This is, by all means, a beautiful app. Designed as just another mobile game, it is aimed to make you stop procrastinating and stay focused.
Once you load it and start a session, you plant a tree in your “forest”, and it grows as you work. However, if you get distracted, use your phone, and leave the app during the session, the tree dies.
But if you manage to stay focused throughout the whole session, your tree grows big and strong, and it stays in your forest. During the next sessions, you grow more trees. Now, isn’t it a great way to visualize your productivity?
What’s more, your efforts also make an impact on real forests: the more virtual trees you grow in your forest, the more game coins you earn. The app team then uses them to plant real trees.
- Platform: iOS, Android, macOS, Windows
- Price: free (basic version), $2,99 (monthly), or $8,99 (lifetime liscence)
One more popular anti-procrastination app is Focus To-Do. It combines a classic Pomodoro timer with a to-do lister and a gamified focusing tool, which makes it a perfect (though a little complicated) all-in-one app.
The Pomodoro method is a popular way to structure working time by alternating 25-minute working sessions with 5-minute breaks. But Focus To-Do is not a plain Pomodoro timer, as it also allows users to make to-do lists, prioritize tasks, and assign deadlines.
The “forest” feature is also included, so you can use it in the same manner as the abovementioned Forest app, but on an advanced level, as it will be combined with the Pomodoro timer.
What’s more, the app provides an overview of your completed tasks at the end of each session and statistics of your time spent on each project.
Flipd Focus & Study Timer
- Platform: iOS, Android
- Price: free (basic version), 0,99 (monthly), or 6,99 (annually)
Now, here comes the heavy stuff. If planting trees and seeing your forest grow is not motivating enough for you and your trees keep dying off, try Flipd. It will most certainly keep you away from your phone for as long as you need. Fool-proof.
Its secret is simple: once you start a session, it blocks off your phone completely. You just won’t be able to switch it on! Not even after a reboot. Not until your set period of time expires.
This app can also be used by teams to block users from other people’s devices. A real magic pill for parents whose kids don’t want to do their homework!
- Platform: iOS, Android
- Price: free (basic version), 0,99 (monthly, PRO version)
If blocking off your phone completely is not an option but you still want to eliminate some distractions connected with it, then Offtime might come in handy. With it, you will still be able to use your phone as a tool but also retain the ability to block time-eaters like social media websites and games.
You can schedule blocking time and calls, create “Offtime events”, use it on multiple devices at a time, and keep track of all events from all of those devices. In a Pro version, it’s also possible to create different blocking profiles and set time limits for specific apps that you want to use less.
- Platform: iOs, Android, web
- Price: starting from $69,99 (one-year license), 30-day free trial
This one is aimed primarily at raising productivity. Backed by scientific research, it uses music to increase concentration and help your creative juices flowing. The research suggests that the app can help boost productivity by a staggering 200-400%.
Focus@Will offers multiple channels with music from Baroque and classical to rock or jazz or whatever feels the most comfortable for you, and there’s also a channel recommender to help you make the right choice. The recommender considers multiple factors like your personality type, task type, and additional conditions like mental health issues.
The app also comes with a timer and a productivity tracker. One major drawback here is the price, but there are discounts offered, plus there’s also a price plan for teams.
In the modern world, it can be hard to disconnect, put down your smartphone and stay focused on your work. So, people start looking for means to beat procrastination, increase productivity, and expand their attention span.
Demand creates supply, and there are now “good” apps designed to make you keep using your laptop and smartphone – but in a beneficial manner. Choose the ones from our list and enjoy!