If you are looking to eliminate distractions, these apps can help. Read on to learn about the best anti-procrastination apps available today.
Remaining focused on the task at hand is something many of us struggle with on a daily basis. With smartphones and social media thrown in the mix, it can feel like there is never a time to avoid the constant distractions. Fortunately, smartphones also open up new opportunities to improve your focus and daily workflow, both at home and at work. There are now dozens of apps and browser extensions available that are designed to improve your productivity and help eliminate distractions that prevent you from maximizing your time.
We all do it. We start a task, but quickly get sidetracked by a new email, an update on social media or some juicy breaking news. It’s part of the reason why psychologists spend so much time examining human tendencies and helps make time-management courses so popular. While some of us only need a good pair of noise-cancelling headphones to eliminate distractions, many of us could use some time-management help.
Best anti-procrastination apps
Anti-procrastination apps focus on both eliminating common distractions and making time for the tasks you need to get done. Many apps allow users to block certain websites for a set time, with some continuing to work even after you quit the app. Others will completely block users from accessing their smartphone, laptop or desktop for a specified time.
Forest, for example, markets itself as “the best cure for phone addiction” and uses a unique method to get you focused—by planting a virtual seed. After you plant your seed, a forest will begin to grow on your device. And if you use your phone before the set time, you kill your entire forest.
While some apps aim to eliminate distractions, others focus on helping users improve their efficiency by improving concentration. This could include a more simplified writing document to use instead of Microsoft Word, premade playlists or simple background noises. Listening to classical music such as Mozart has long been seen as a way to improve concentration and remain focused.
Checky, for example, tells you how often you check your phone. Simply making yourself aware of your habits could be enough to force you to tweak your relationship with technology and create a plan to better optimize your time. Many focus apps are taking this approach, and using other established time-management techniques, as well as trying out new ideas to help improve concentration.
If you need assistance with blocking out time, the Pomodoro Technique can help. Developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s, this time-management method uses a timer to break your work into set chunks of time, usually 25 minutes in length, separated by shorter breaks. This technique helps you work with time, instead of against it, and helps to eliminate the all-too-common burnout.
The Strict Workflow extension for Google Chrome employs this method by adding a small tomato timer to your desktop that includes a countdown to the next break. You can also set up a list of blacklisted sites to block while your counter is working. This helps further eliminate distractions and gives you a more defined working structure for your day.
Several apps help you become more productive and focused by blocking websites and apps for a set amount of time.
One of the best anti-procrastination apps out there, Freedom allows users to choose how long they want selected sites and apps to be blocked, up to 8 hours.
StayFocused is a simple Chrome extension that lets you set up a blacklist for a specified time. Some apps are a bit more intense than others, and actually continue to block websites on your blacklist, even if you restart your device or delete the application.
The SelfControl app takes this approach for Mac users, and once you press start, it won’t allow you to access the pre-selected sites no matter what - even if you restart your device and delete the app.
AppDetox aims to curb your app usage, but it is not quite as unforgiving as the SelfControl app. This app logs your actions and simply sends you a reminder every time you break your own rules or overuse apps on your blacklist. These violations can easily be logged and tracked, which is great when determining ways to stop procrastinating.
A simpler approach is available through Zero Willpower, one of the most popular and best apps to prevent procrastination. Zero Willpower lets you create a list of your most distracting websites and allows you to block them at will.
As mentioned before, one of the best ways to become more productive and eliminate distractions is to use a work timer. As stated above, the Pomodoro technique is a proven method of breaking your tasks into 30 minute cycles - with 25 minutes of work and 5 minutes of break built into each cycle. But if you don’t know how much work you can get done in 25 minutes, this technique may not be very helpful to start.
If you are unsure how long your daily tasks take, you can take advantage of the RescueTime app to track your daily tasks. This app provides you with personal analytics that show you how productive your day is, in real time, and if you are on track to meet your selected goals. You can track the time you spend in websites and applications, set personal goals, receive email reports and find more ways to help improve your work efficiency. Once you know how long tasks take, you will be better prepared to maximize your work time and can fully utilize work methods such as the Pomodoro technique.
While some anti-procrastination apps focus solely on improving time management and eliminating distractions, others focus on the mental aspects of procrastination. Many of us have the ability to become more productive, but simply cannot seem to put together all the pieces.
The 135 app is one of those--it utilizes the 1-3-5 method to help people break down their daily tasks into manageable units by offering a helpful list template that organizes your tasks into 1 large task, 3 medium-sized tasks, and 5 small tasks. Though 135 offers numerous lists to help you achieve your goals, its 1-3-5 lists offer a proven method for getting things done without feeling overwhelmed or falling victim to procrastination.
If you’re not completing tasks as efficiently as you’d like, there is likely an app that’s perfect for your needs. There are several specifically intended for eliminating common distractions like social media by blocking access to websites and apps for a set time period, as well as those that log your work time and give you suggestions on how to schedule your day more effectively. There are even apps intended to change your mindset and help you overcome the mental blocks you create for yourself on a daily basis. Whatever you want to do, you can do it more efficiently with the help of these anti-procrastination apps.