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Last Updated on December 1, 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.

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                      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 July 21, 2021

                      Is Procrastination Bad? The Truth About Procrastination Revealed

                      Is Procrastination Bad? The Truth About Procrastination Revealed

                      Procrastination is very literally the opposite of productivity. To produce something is to pull it forward, while to procrastinate is to push it forward — to tomorrow, to next week, or ultimately to never.

                      Procrastination fills us with shame — we curse ourselves for our laziness, our inability to focus on the task at hand, our tendency to be easily led into easier and more immediate gratifications. And with good reason: for the most part, time spent procrastinating is time spent not doing things that are, in some way or other, important to us.

                      There is a positive side to procrastination, but it’s important not to confuse procrastination at its best with everyday garden-variety procrastination.

                      Sometimes — sometimes! — procrastination gives us the time we need to sort through a thorny issue or to generate ideas. In those rare instances, we should embrace procrastination — even as we push it away the rest of the time.

                      Why We Procrastinate After All?

                      We procrastinate for a number of reasons, some better than others. One reason we procrastinate is that, while we know what we want to do, we need time to let the ideas “ferment” before we are ready to sit down and put them into action.

                      Some might call this “creative faffing”; I call it, following copywriter Ray Del Savio’s lead, “concepting”.[1]

                      Whatever you choose to call it, it’s the time spent dreaming up what you want to say or do, weighing ideas in your mind, following false leads and tearing off on mental wild goose chases, and generally thinking things through.

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                      To the outside observer, concepting looks like… well, like nothing much at all. Maybe you’re leaning back in your chair, feet up, staring at the wall or ceiling, or laying in bed apparently dozing, or looking out over the skyline or feeding pigeons in the park or fiddling with the Japanese vinyl toys that stand watch over your desk.

                      If ideas are the lifeblood of your work, you have to make time for concepting, and you have to overcome the sensation— often overpowering in our work-obsessed culture — that faffing, however creative, is not work.

                      Is Procrastination Bad?

                      Yes it is.

                      Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you’re “concepting” when in fact you’re just not sure what you’re supposed to be doing.

                      Spending an hour staring at the wall while thinking up the perfect tagline for a marketing campaign is creative faffing; staring at the wall for an hour because you don’t know how to come up with a tagline, or don’t know the product you’re marketing well enough to come up with one, is just wasting time.

                      Lack of definition is perhaps the biggest friend of your procrastination demons. When we’re not sure what to do — whether because we haven’t planned thoroughly enough, we haven’t specified the scope of what we hope to accomplish in the immediate present, or we lack important information, skills, or resources to get the job done.

                      It’s easy to get distracted or to trick ourselves into spinning our wheels doing nothing. It takes our mind off the uncomfortable sensation of failing to make progress on something important.

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                      The answer to this is in planning and scheduling. Rather than giving yourself an unspecified length of time to perform an unspecified task (“Let’s see, I guess I’ll work on that spreadsheet for a while”) give yourself a limited amount of time to work on a clearly defined task (“Now I’ll enter the figures from last months sales report into the spreadsheet for an hour”).

                      Giving yourself a deadline, even an artificial one, helps build a sense of urgency and also offers the promise of time to “screw around” later, once more important things are done.

                      For larger projects, planning plays a huge role in whether or not you’ll spend too much time procrastinating to reach the end reasonably quickly.

                      A good plan not only lists the steps you have to take to reach the end, but takes into account the resources, knowledge and inputs from other people you’re going to need to perform those steps.

                      Instead of futzing around doing nothing because you don’t have last month’s sales report, getting the report should be a step in the project.

                      Otherwise, you’ll spend time cooling your heels, justifying your lack of action as necessary: you aren’t wasting time because you want to, but because you have to.

                      How Bad Procrastination Can Be

                      Our mind can often trick us into procrastinating, often to the point that we don’t realize we’re procrastinating at all.

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                      After all, we have lots and lots of things to do; if we’re working on something, aren’t we being productive – even if the one big thing we need to work on doesn’t get done?

                      One way this plays out is that we scan our to-do list, skipping over the big challenging projects in favor of the short, easy projects. At the end of the day, we feel very productive: we’ve crossed twelve things off our list!

                      That big project we didn’t work on gets put onto the next day’s list, and when the same thing happens, it gets moved forward again. And again.

                      Big tasks often present us with the problem above – we aren’t sure what to do exactly, so we look for other ways to occupy ourselves.

                      In many cases too, big tasks aren’t really tasks at all; they’re aggregates of many smaller tasks. If something’s sitting on your list for a long time, each day getting skipped over in favor of more immediately doable tasks, it’s probably not very well thought out.

                      You’re actively resisting it because you don’t really know what it is. Try to break it down into a set of small tasks, something more like the tasks you are doing in place of the one big task you aren’t doing.

                      More consequences of procrastination can be found in this article: 8 Dreadful Effects of Procrastination That Can Destroy Your Life

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                      Procrastination, a Technical Failure

                      Procrastination is, more often than not, a sign of a technical failure, not a moral failure.

                      It’s not because we’re bad people that we procrastinate. Most times, procrastination serves as a symptom of something more fundamentally wrong with the tasks we’ve set ourselves.

                      It’s important to keep an eye on our procrastinating tendencies, to ask ourselves whenever we notice ourselves pushing things forward what it is about the task we’ve set ourselves that simply isn’t working for us.

                      Learn more about how to fix your procrastination problem here: What Is Procrastination and How to Stop It (The Complete Guide)

                      Featured photo credit: chuttersnap via unsplash.com

                      Reference

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