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Published on July 29, 2020

10 Most Effective Apps to Help You Beat Procrastination

10 Most Effective Apps to Help You Beat Procrastination

You sit down at your desk, open your computer, and set out to work on an urgent project. Just, hold on—one more Twitter notification to check before you really get started. If you don’t have a stop procrastinating app, you’ve just entered the procrastination rabbit hole.

Three hours later, you find yourself scrolling through Pinterest, color-coordinating bridesmaids’ dresses and butterfly-themed table decorations, even though you’re not getting married. Oops.

Procrastination. It is a scourge most of us struggle with—a hurdle on the way to leading a productive, fulfilling life. Especially now that many of us are confined to makeshift home offices by Covid lockdowns, we struggle to keep distractions at bay[1].

But how can you stop putting off important tasks? How can you really silence that pesky inner voice of distraction?

Fortunately, modern technology offers many apps to help you in your battle. Choose your stop procrastination app from the list below to keep you on track and eliminate distractions.

1. Focus@Will

    Based on neuroscience research, Focus@Will uses music to boost concentration and get you into a productivity flow. You can choose between different channels, ranging from Baroque piano and ambient music to Electro Bach and the funky beats of Alpha Chill.

    According to research, the app can extend your focus periods by 200-400%. It also offers a timer function and productivity tracker. A channel recommender helps you pick the right music for your needs, depending on your personality type, the kind of task you’re dealing with, and whether you’re struggling with mental health issues such as ADHD.

    Focus@Will is available for both Android and iOS and as a web app. Subscriptions start at $69 annually.

    Get the app!

    2. Focus To-Do

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      As a great stop procrastination app, Focus To-Do combines the Pomodoro technique with to-do list features. In case you haven’t come across it before, Pomodoro is one of the most effective productivity techniques. It’s built around 25-minute work sessions interspersed with 5-minute breaks.

      Focus To-Do allows you to define tasks, including subtasks and recurring tasks, and assign deadlines. You can then work through the items on your list one-by-one using the Pomodoro technique.

      The app is available on all major platforms, including smartwatches. Your tasks will be synchronized across devices. The basic app is free, and premium plans start at $2.99 per month, with a lifetime license option priced at $8.99.

      Get the app!

      3. RescueTime

        RescueTime boasts a rare 5.0 “outstanding” score by PCMag and is one of the most widely-used productivity tools popular with freelancers, designers, and developers[2]. It automatically tracks the time you spend on various websites and applications, and classifies them into categories. Using this information, you can analyze where and when you are productive and what the major threats to your productivity are.

        More importantly, RescueTime allows you to summarily block out distractions, which is excellent for Pomodoro sessions. You can also set goals, such as spending less time on your emails or social media, and RescueTime will automatically assist you in reaching them.

        The app is available on all major platforms and offers a free lite version, and its premium plans start at $6.50/month (billed annually). It also integrates with a variety of other productivity tools, such as calendar apps and Slack.

        Get the app!

        4. Forest

          As a gamified stop procrastinating app, Forest is a great way to motivate yourself to stay focused. Each time you start a focus session, you plant a tree in the app. While you work, it will grow on your screen. However, if you leave the app during the session, your tree dies off.

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          The goal is to motivate you to not use your phone, removing a significant source of distraction.

          By completing your focus sessions, you can grow an entire forest over time. This isn’t just visually appealing, but an uplifting representation of how much work you’ve managed to get done. Your forest has a real-life impact as well. The larger you grow it, the more “coins” you can earn in the app. And using those, the app team plants actual trees.

          Forest is available on iOS, Android, and as a Firefox extension. It’s $1.99, with optional in-app purchases.

          Get the app!

          5. Rocket 135

            For those overwhelmed by to-do lists, Rocket 135 allows you to prioritize your tasks. Rather than having to face multiple stressful, anxiety-inducing tasks per day, you pick one important project, three of medium importance, and five of low importance to complete.

            This app lets you customize basic list types, archive tasks, assign them to themes, and collaborate with other users. It synchronizes across devices and offers a limited free version. The premium version is available at $2.50 monthly or $25 annually.

            Get the app!

            6. CARROT To-Do

              Like Forest, CARROT To-Do is an iOS app that turns productivity into a game to beat procrastination.

              You can set yourself a simple to-do list and get rewarded with “fortune cookies” and several hundred unique rewards for completed tasks. But beware! Fail to complete your tasks, and you will lose your rewards or be leveled down. A unique feature of CARROT’s is that it is branded as having a personality, with an attitude to match. “I am your new taskmaster,” it declares.

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              The app comes at a one-time cost of $2.99, with some in-app purchases for different themes and icons.

              Get the app!

              7. Freedom

                If gamification isn’t your style, Freedom is a stop procrastinating app that offers a somewhat harsher approach to battling procrastination. It will block distracting apps and websites—synced across all your devices. It’s even possible to shut the internet out entirely if you have to focus on an offline project.

                The app can be downloaded for Mac and Windows, or installed as an extension for Chrome, Firefox, and Opera. iOS and Android apps are also available. Premium plans start at $2.42/month (billed annually).

                Get the app!

                8. Momentum

                  With an aesthetic approach to productivity, Momentum is sure to keep you focused. This browser extension for Chrome, Firefox, and Edge combines beautiful nature wallpapers, a distraction-free time display, inspirational quotes, and a prioritized to-do list.

                  In the free version of the app, you can set yourself daily priorities and other tasks. The premium option, at $3.33/month, also includes a Pomodoro timer and syncs with popular task managers.

                  Momentum is perfect for arriving at work after a stressful commute, or for creating an atmospheric setting in your (home) office.

                  Get the app!

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                  9. Take a Five

                    Breaks are essential. Unfortunately, they are also procrastination pitfalls. A quick five-minute breather can only too easily turn into an hour wasted on Facebook.

                    This stop procrastinating app, Take a Five, helps you avoid that. You set a timer for however long you want your break to be and open a tab. Once your time is up, the app will automatically close this tab and remind you to go back to work. No more going down scrolling rabbit holes.

                    Take a Five is available for free as a web app.

                    Get the app!

                    10. Mindly

                      If a single look at your growing, deadline-laden to-do list sends you into a cold sweat, Mindly is the solution for you. This app helps you organize the deadlines, lists, and reminders cluttering your mind in a three-dimensional manner.

                      You can create an infinite number of circles that connect related ideas and projects. Each circle can be color-coded, tagged with summaries, and annotated with emojis. Harnessing the power of associations, you can keep your inner universe organized.

                      Mindly syncs across devices. It offers a limited free version for Android and iOS that can be upgraded to premium for a one-time $6.99. Furthermore, a desktop app is available for Mac at $29.99.

                      Get the app!

                      Final Thoughts

                      Procrastination, once started, is hard to stop, but these apps can help you get back to being productive and completing all of those to-do lists you’ve been avoiding. Find which one works for you and get started with it today.

                      More Tips on Stopping Procrastination

                      Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

                      Reference

                      More by this author

                      Tanvir Zafar

                      The founder of ISU Technologies, passionate in writing about productivity, creativity, entrepreneurship, work and technology.

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                      Last Updated on October 20, 2020

                      The 5 Stages of Getting Over Cell Phone Distraction

                      The 5 Stages of Getting Over Cell Phone Distraction

                      “Good morning Sir. It’s 7 a.m. The weather is going to be cool today with chances of light showers.” From this wake-up call to working, cooking, drinking your cup of caffeine-elixir, and working out, do any of these activities involve you without your cell phone?

                      A mere device of convenience has smoothly transformed to become a major intrusion. With cell phone distraction at bay, the increased dependence on screens has been an alarming phase for your life, maybe more than you care to admit. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration if we even stated that this has become a complete addiction.

                      Considering this addiction, we will be treading with caution. Our approach to its solution will be aligned with the 5 stages of addiction treatment.

                      Let’s get started with this support group therapy, shall we?

                      Stage 1. Pre-Contemplation

                      This is all about denial—a denial that you can’t move your screen away from your eyes, denial that you may have Nomophobia or “no mobile phone” phobia. We completely understand that. But with this stage, it is all about making you realize how strong the addiction is (maybe stronger than Biohazard’s 928mg of caffeine)!

                      While you might have already internalized the damage, here’s offering some help with your addiction. We would be providing you a holistic idea about the consistent pandemic called mobile distractions and guide you around with hacks to tackle the addiction.

                      That said, it’s time to dive into the details!

                      Stage 2: Contemplation – A Peek at Cell Phone Distraction

                      Look around you. Apart from the N-95 masks and frenzied use of sanitizers, what do you see in common? “Expressions projected at the screen held in front of the eyes.”

                      It will probably be safe to say that smartphones have become quite the companion, so much that the real companion is often ignored for the virtual ones. You must have come across many memes based on this topic.

                      Additionally, the terrifying statistics on your cell phone addiction are not going exactly subtle on the massacre that this distraction has become.

                      Here’s to give you some perspective with the numbers:

                      • Average mobile phone users click, tap, and swipe their mobile phones 2,617 times a day.[1]
                      • Worldwide phone users have crossed the threshold of 3 billion and are predicted to have exponential growth of several hundred million in the coming years.[2]
                      • 61.20% of the globe’s population own smartphones as of September 2020.[3]

                      While the latter two statistics prove the rising reliance on phones, the first number is indicative of the twiddling-thumb syndrome following the addiction.

                      Considering your widened eyes over the numbers, we can safely assume that you have moved on to stage 2: contemplation. This stage will let you see the change that you need to undergo to ensure a screen-free healthier lifestyle.

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                      While we acknowledge the crucial role that screens play for some activities, we believe you can easily do away with some of these engagements, reducing the time consumed to a bare minimum.

                      Think of the physiological, psychological, and sociological impact. With so much at stake and the distraction breaching all ages, it is time to start on with some hacks to break up this cell phone distraction.

                      Stage 3 & Stage 4: How to Break Up the Distraction

                      Let’s not get obvious here. We won’t tell you about the:

                      • reduced attention span,
                      • potential loneliness,
                      • mitigating eye-health, etc.

                      That’s something that parents all over the globe have been putting out on banners. As a result, these facts are much likely to be considered ‘preaching.’

                      We, on the other hand, have a greater concern—your cell phones, most likely, are gnawing away your me-time and hence, your creative potentials. That is something that should never be compromised. Thus, it’s time you follow up on the hacks from the pros that have been proven to be effective across all ages.

                      Here let me fire away the life-altering, screen-shattering hacks that pose as Stage 3 Preparation and Stage 4 Action to cure your addiction:

                      1. Lean on an App to Track Your Daily Usage of Cell Phones

                      It would be safe to say that you have some tiny “time thieves” lurking in your mobile phones, crunching and munching away your precious hours. For the hacks, we start with the most convenient one—installing phone usage tracker apps.

                      Here is a list of the best ones for both the Android and the iOS platforms in 2020.

                      • QualityTime – My Digital Diet
                      • YourHour – Phone Addiction Tracker and Controller
                      • Stay Focused – App Block (Control Phone Addiction)
                      • Social Fever App Usage Tracker
                      • PhoneUsage Tracker

                      With either of these apps playing the ‘personal trainer’ or referee, your hours spent on social media platforms and your phone, as a whole, are tracked down. While you check the hours for the first time, beware: the numbers may not be for the weak hearts!

                      2. Re-Subscribe to Your Hobbies

                      The price that you pay for your cell phone distraction is your growing distance from your hobbies. While you kill time with your screen-related engagements, you lose the roots of your hobbies.

                      So, make sure to do the following steps:

                      1. List down your hobbies.
                      2. Put it up on your headboard or sticky notes.
                      3. Start slow on your hobbies.
                      4. Set realistic goals, dividing the time spent on your phones and your hobby.

                      Once you rekindle your old, highschool-sweetheart of love, the attachment with the screen will eventually wither away.

                      3. Take a Vow of Silence From Social Media Platforms

                      When was the last time you ate without taking a click or went out with your friends without hashtagging the pic on Instagram? How often do you giggle while scrolling down Facebook feeds or go ‘aww’ at the cute kitty and doggo videos?

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                      We are guessing, a lot!

                      The numbers confirm our opinion. As per the World Economic Forum, Millennials spent approximately 2 hours 38 minutes and Gen Z 2 hours 55 minutes daily on social media platforms.[4]

                      Additionally, if you thought Covid-19 changed Ecommerce only, you are mistaken.[5] The recent pandemic state and its lockdown and social distancing have unfortunately brought you closer to your screens.

                      The landscape looks something like this:

                        So, here is the most challenging hack of all—go nuclear on your social media apps. Before you go AWOL on us after listening to this, hear us out!

                        The potential impact of social media platforms goes even beyond the mere time spent on it. You tend to take more interest in others’ lives, ending up comparing that with yours. And this, our ‘friends, Romans, and countrymen,’ has innumerable adversities.

                        Remember, even if you delete the apps, you still have your accounts there. Also, if deleting it seems too much of an anxiety trigger, follow up with the time spent (using the apps on Hack 101) and put a realistic cap to it.

                        4. Get Your Silent/Do Not Disturb Mode Working Occasionally

                        For this hack, acknowledge first the fact that introspection or “me” time is incomparable. The diverse ringtones and tunes emerging from your cell phone are baits that will draw out hours from your life.

                        While putting your phone on silent during meals or work meetings is a matter of manners, doing the same at other times means you are just prioritizing yourself. This will help you go back to your old habits and stay away from technological labyrinths.

                        5. Set a Realistic To-Do List for the Day Sans Any Screen-Involvement

                        How often do we treat ourselves for a great performance at work? Maybe a pizza or a bowl of ice cream? Why don’t you do the same for your cell phone distraction?

                        What you need to do is:

                        1. Sit down with a daily bucket list before sleeping off at night.
                        2. Make sure that the list of activities involves minimum screen time.
                        3. Accomplish the listed jobs and then reward yourself with some social media scrolling.

                        So, do we have a deal? Get started, ASAP!

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                        6. Where Have Your Books/Magazines Gone?

                        Ask around, and your last generation will tell you the attraction of the tangible books—the tranquility involved in flipping the pages while your palm hugs a cup of your warm caffeine.

                        With Kindles, Ipads, and tablets, that charm is long lost. However, for those looking and determined to dig away from this distraction, we suggest you try this reconnection. Reading, not on screens, but with the physical and tangible books will help you feel grounded and rekindle yet another hobby that will be responsible for your personal growth.

                        So, dust the cobwebs off your bookshelf, and get your mind its treat of imagination!

                        7. Go Serial Killer on Your Notifications

                        Don’t get us wrong! We are not asking you to go all ‘Ted Bundy’ on your notifications but also, can you do that, please? Hear us out before freaking out completely.

                        All of your sneaky apps frequently give out tiny beckonings via notifications, reminding you of their existence.

                        While being notified is appreciated occasionally, it can surmount to considerable distraction if the phone goes off every 5 minutes.

                        The best way out? Turn off notifications, even if for a couple of hours. You will then have the power not to be distracted from your contemporary activity and enjoy scanning through notifications at your preferred time.

                        8. Get the Screen Glares Away an Hour Before Sleep

                        What’s the best excuse that you put on for keeping your cell phone on your nightstand?

                        Let me guess. Alarm?

                        Quit the excuse queue, your alarm clock can serve the purpose well! Additionally, you won’t have the ‘convenient access’ to your screen right before you sleep.

                        Seems harsh? Follow through and you will experience a sudden and considerable improvement in your daily schedule. Without your phone in an arm’s reach from your bed, you also won’t start your day by scrolling social media feeds.

                        9. Go for a Black and White Mode

                        OLED or Organic Light-Emitting Diode is the latest call of the display technology in cell phones. With promises of better black themes and incredible pixel-views, the color contrast in this display is too attractive.

                        However, it is this color-coding that fetches and attaches you for a longer time on your cell phones. For those seeking to get rid of your cell phone distraction, your best way forward is by opting for grayscale. This makes the screen much less desirable to look at.

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                        As of recent, multiple phones come with ‘bedtime mode’ that switches off the phone to grayscale mode. With the color drained from your phone, the social media platforms become immediately unattractive. In case you are seeking a reference, think of the memory Dump ground in Pixar’s Inside Out.

                        10. Be Ready for the Withdrawal Symptoms

                        Much like any addiction, acting on the cell phone distraction also brings in withdrawal symptoms (read up Nomophobia or “no mobile phone” phobia). While planning to leave your phone at home might seem a brave move, agitations, distractions, stressing out, and getting upset are surefire consequences.

                        Considering that cell phones have become the representative for connectivity, staying away from them is a huge stress. Researchers have also gone their distance to say that compulsive cell phone behavior is a resultant of the Pavlovian conditioning system.

                        The tune of cell phone notifications somehow sends a signal that some great news is on its way, and you are compelled to check your phone, considering that the notification meets up to your expectation leading to a release of dopamine into your system. With that dopamine release around, your anxiety is sure to kick in. So, prepare yourself for that!

                        11. Pro Hack: Embrace Your Smart Speakers

                        Do you know that grey pretty piece of technology greeting you with the weather update? Your Alexa/ Siri/Cortana/Google at play via smart speakers? They can be quite the acquaintance when you are trying to get rid of your cell phone distraction.

                        Considering that you need the support of your phones to carry out daily activities, you can always rely on screen-less technology. This will help keep the smartphone away from your hands for a prolonged period.

                        The Final Stage

                        Nearing the end of your addiction recovery, the last stage matters the most.

                        This 5th and final stage is all about maintenance or recovery. Don’t let your cellular bridles go loose thinking that you are over your cell phone distraction.

                        You can always rely on the ‘hair band technique’ to keep the scrolling thumbs away. Maybe, you will be reminded that those opposable thumbs of yours can do much better—the guides of which you can find in the diverse blogs posted on the site or our social media sites.

                        What say, you game?

                        More Tips to Avoid Cell Phone Distraction

                        Featured photo credit: Clem Onojeghuo via unsplash.com

                        Reference

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