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Apps Aren’t Always Distracting. These 10 Apps Actually Help You Focus!

Apps Aren’t Always Distracting. These 10 Apps Actually Help You Focus!

Our computers and smartphones are often considered the ultimate machines of distraction. They can be so full of entertainment possibilities that many of us can’t go a single hour without looking at our phones many many times.

When some apps seem built to test our self control, placing themselves in our minds, almost like addictions. These 10 apps don’t demand our attention, but instead aim to improve it. With them improving your productivity and reducing stress [1] in your day-to-day life will be easier.

Headspace 2.0

    Headspace is a very popular meditation app. Don’t worry though, the meditation here is stripped of any religious and spiritual stuff and instead aims to help you receive the many benefits meditation can give you.

    Aside from improving your focus and concentration, meditation has been shown to make you less prone to anger, improve memory, make you more empathetic, and improve your ability to make good decisions.

    It’s little wonder then that Headspace advertises itself as a kind of “gym” for the mind. Headspace aims to bring you in easy ten minute chunks.

    Noizio

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      Noizio, and Noisli are not only pretty similar in name, but also function. Noizio is an ambient sound generator, one exclusive to Apple devices such as your Mac or iPhone. I have written about how ambient sound helps boost your focus, so if you loved Noisli or other ambient sound apps, then you’ll love this one, too.

      Panda Focus Mode

        While online, with the sum of all human knowledge and cat videos at your finger tips, it can be easy to get distracted and forget why you went on the internet in the first place. Panda Focus Mode counters this by showing you a to-do list you entered every time you open a new tab. By being reminded of everything you need to do, the items on your list will take center stage in your mind.

        Focus Booster

          Focus Booster is built around the Pomodoro technique [2] , a time management system, where the time spent on work is broken down into manageable chunks.
          The app is extremely versatile, it allows you to set the time spent on work or rest, as well as generate graphs showing you how your time was spent throughout the day. With this info, you’ll be able to plan your day and time, exactly according to how you use your time.

          Currently it’s only a desktop app, but mobile versions are coming soon.

          Noisli

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            Noisli aims to boost your focus and productivity through ambient sounds and music. What’s more it helps you create a playlist of your favorite sounds, making sure you are as happy and comfortable as possible while you listen.

            But how can simple ambient sounds actually improve your productivity?
            Surely, the only way ambient music can improve your focus and productivity is by boring you so much you want to work instead of listening.

            Actually, there are many ways ambient sound can improve your self control and focus. For example, normally when we listen to sound, it is coming from many different directions and different distances. Ambient sound presents a persistent sound that doesn’t change. Enabling you to listen without your mind jumping to the causes of each noise. It helps you focus on the present [3].

            In a way, ambient sounds creates a new mental environment. This is what Nosili can bring you.

            Forest

              Forest is a pretty ingenious app. The previous two sought to improve your focus and concentration aimed to hack your brain and subconscious through meditation and ambient sounds. Forest functions more like a game. Some of you more seasoned readers may remember the Tamigotchi, that annoying little virtual pet that had the habit of dying on you when left alone. Forest functions remarkably similarly.

              Once you activate the app a virtual tree begins to grow, and grow. Soon a virtual forest powered, by your productivity can grow and flourish. While its growing you are encouraged to work, or at the very least, leave your smartphone or computer alone. If you pick up your phone and turn off the app, your virtual tree dies.

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              Its a unique concept, an app that doesn’t want you to use your phone. But its popularity suggests it works.

              Brain.FM

                Like Noisli, Brain FM uses music to help your concentration. However the music here is artificially generated and designed for you to improve your focus. There are different channels on the app to aid you through a number of tasks, working, for example, but also a channels for meditation, and sleep.

                Though the pieces of music are computer generated, they, none the less are generated with relaxing and improving focus and concentration in mind. As such, the app is extremely effective at boosting your focus while in use.

                Freedom

                  Freedom is an app that is growing in popularity. The way it works is quite simple, it blocks access to chosen apps, programs, and even your browsers cutting away all distractions.

                  We all have that app we check or use more than we should. I was a fiend for Angry Birds a couple years ago. This is fine, but it becomes a problem if they are distracting you from work or creative projects. Freedom (the app not the concept) eliminates the issue by making it impossible to access these distracting apps.

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                  Unlike some other, similar apps, freedom can be used across many devices, making both it and you more efficient in the process.

                  Hocus Focus

                    Hocus Focus is pretty similar to Freedom, in the way it helps boost your focus by cutting out distracting apps and programs. However, what makes it different is that it hides applications which are not in use, making you less tempted to move away from whatever you’re doing and go back to it.

                    There are different ways it works. You can have it hide applications as soon as you move away from them, or instead, hide them after a few minutes have passed. It works according to your preferences.

                    Self Control

                      Where the other apps in this list are like friends or parents, lovingly guiding your hand to productivity, Self Control is like an angry drill sergeant who plans to break you into working.

                      There are many productivity apps which try to block distractions for a predetermined time limit. Some of them are on this list. However what makes Self Control different, is that it cannot be turned off.

                      That’s right, even if you choose to delete the application or turn off your computer, it keeps working. The only way to get it to stop is by waiting and working until the timer runs out. By doing this it enforces rigid discipline and focus.

                      Reference

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                      Last Updated on August 16, 2018

                      16 Productivity Secrets of Highly Successful People Revealed

                      16 Productivity Secrets of Highly Successful People Revealed

                      The same old motivational secrets don’t really motivate you after you’ve read them for the tenth time, do they?

                      How about a unique spin on things?

                      These 16 productivity secrets of successful people will make you reevaluate your approach to your home, work, and creative lives. Learn from these highly successful people, turn these little things they do into your daily habits and you’ll get closer to success.

                      1. Empty your mind.

                      It sounds counterproductive, doesn’t it?

                      Emptying your mind when you have so much to remember seems like you’re just begging to forget something. Instead, this gives you a clean slate so you’re not still thinking about last week’s tasks.

                      Clear your mind and then start thinking only about what you need to do immediately, and then today. Tasks that need to be accomplished later in the week can wait.

                      Here’s a guide to help you empty your mind and think sharper:

                      How to Declutter Your Mind to Sharpen Your Brain and Fall Asleep Faster

                      2. Keep certain days clear.

                      Some companies are scheduling “No Meeting Wednesdays,” which means, funnily enough, that no one can hold a meeting on a Wednesday. This gives workers a full day to work on their own tasks, without getting sidetracked by other duties or pointless meetings.

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                      This can work in your personal life too, for example if you need to restrict Facebook access or limit phone calls.

                      3. Prioritize your work.

                      Don’t think every task is created equal! Some tasks aren’t as important as others, or might take less time.

                      Try to sort your tasks every day and see what can be done quickly and efficiently. Get these out of the way so you have more free time and brain power to focus on what is more important.

                      Lifehack’s CEO has a unique way to prioritize works, take a look at it here:

                      How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

                      4. Chop up your time.

                      Many successful business leaders chop their time up into fifteen-minute intervals. This means they work on tasks for a quarter of an hour at a time, or schedule meetings for only fifteen minutes. It makes each hour seem four times as long, which leads to more productivity!

                      5. Have a thinking position.

                      Truman Capote claimed he couldn’t think unless he was laying down. Proust did this as well, while Stravinsky would stand on his head!

                      What works for others may not work for you. Try to find a spot and position that is perfect for you to brainstorm or come up with ideas.

                      6. Pick three to five things you must do that day.

                      To Do lists can get overwhelming very quickly. Instead of making a never-ending list of everything you can think of that needs to be done, make daily lists that include just three to five things.

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                      Make sure they’re things that need to be done that day, so you don’t keep putting them off.

                      7. Don’t try to do too much.

                      OK, so I just told you to work every day, and now I’m telling you to not do too much? It might sound like conflicting advice, but not doing too much means not biting off more than you can chew. Don’t say yes to every work project or social engagement and find yourself in way over your head.

                      8. Have a daily action plan.

                      Don’t limit yourself to a to-do list! Take ten minutes every morning to map out a daily action plan. It’s a place to not only write what needs to be done that day, but also to prioritize what will bring the biggest reward, what will take the longest, and what goals will be accomplished.

                      Leave room for a “brain dump,” where you can scribble down anything else that’s on your mind.

                      9. Do your most dreaded project first.

                      Getting your most dreaded task over with first means you’ll have the rest of the day free for anything and everything else. This also means that you won’t be constantly putting off the worst of your projects, making it even harder to start on it later.

                      10. Follow the “Two-Minute Rule.”

                      The “Two-Minute Rule” was made famous by David Allen. It’s simple – if a new task comes in and it can be done in two minutes or less, do it right then. Putting it off just adds to your to-do list and will make the task seem more monumental later.

                      11. Have a place devoted to work.

                      If you work in an office, it’s no problem to say that your cubicle desk is where you work every day.

                      But if you work from home, make sure you have a certain area specifically for work. You don’t want files spread out all over the dinner table, and you don’t want to feel like you’re not working just because you’re relaxing on the couch.

                      Agatha Christie never wrote at her desk, she wrote wherever she could sit down. Ernest Hemingway wrote standing up. Thomas Wolfe, at 6’6″ tall, used the top of his refrigerator as a desk. Richard Wright wrote on a park bench, rain or shine.

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                      Have a space where, when you go there, you know you’re going to work. Maybe it’s a cafe downstairs, the library, or a meeting room. Whenever and wherever works for you, do your works there.

                      12. Find your golden hour.

                      You don’t have to stick to a “typical” 9–5 schedule!

                      Novelist Anne Rice slept during the day and wrote at night to avoid distractions. Writer Jerzy Kosinski slept eight hours a day, but never all at once. He’d wake in the morning, work, sleep four hours in the afternoon, then work more that evening.

                      Your golden hour is the time when you’re at your peak. You’re alert, ready to be productive, and intent on crossing things off your to-do list.

                      Once you find your best time, protect it with all your might. Make sure you’re always free to do your best uninterrupted work at this time.

                      13. Pretend you’re on an airplane.

                      It might not be possible to lock everyone out of your office to get some peace and quiet, but you can eliminate some distractions.

                      By pretending you’re on an airplane, you can act like your internet access is limited, you’re not able to get something from your bookcase, and you can’t make countless phone calls.

                      Eliminating these distractions will help you focus on your most important tasks and get them done without interruption.

                      14. Never stop.

                      Writers Anthony Trollope and Henry James started writing their next books as soon as they finished their current work in progress.

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                      Stephen King writes every day of the year, and holds himself accountable for 2,000 words a day! Mark Twain wrote every day, and then read his day’s work aloud to his family to get their feedback.

                      There’s something to be said about working nonstop, and putting out continuous work instead of taking a break. It’s just a momentum that will push you go further./

                      15. Be in tune with your body.

                      Your mind and body will get tired of a task after ninety minutes to two hours focused on it. Keep this in mind as you assign projects to yourself throughout the day, and take breaks to ensure that you won’t get burned out.

                      16. Try different methods.

                      Vladimir Nabokov wrote the first drafts of his novels on index cards. This made it easy to rearrange sentences, paragraphs, and chapters by shuffling the cards around.

                      It does sound easier, and more fun, than copying and pasting in Word! Once Nabokov liked the arrangement, his wife typed them into a single manuscript.

                      Same for you, don’t give up and think that it’s impossible for you to be productive when one method fails. Try different methods until you find what works perfectly for you.

                      Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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