Undoubtedly, the internet is the place where work and discussions happen, but distractions to are just a click away. Text, Slacks, and email alerts constantly break our focus. No wonder, some of us suffer from ‘inbox anxiety’ where we cannot help but keep revisiting our inboxes every 30 minutes or hour.
Today, we all have probably developed a habit of dropping everything we do to respond to an email or check a social alert. This sense of digital dissonance often makes it overwhelming to concentrate on productive work that requires distraction-free concentration. Trying to stay strong and fight this with willpower alone is like bringing water guns to a thermonuclear war. Thankfully, there are a few apps (among all the futile apps and websites) built solely to help us stay focused while blocking distractions so you can get in the zone.
Let us explore some of these best focus apps that are oddly liberating and make getting work done a little easier.
Freedom is unique! It suppresses distractions on all of your devices simultaneously. You don’t need to block Instagram or Facebook on your laptop only to open it on your phone later. All distractions get blocked everywhere when you initiate a session. Block certain apps, block certain websites, or just block the entire internet.
One of the biggest advantages of Freedom is that its lockout mode makes it overwhelming to make blocklist changes when a session is running. Furthermore, you can configure as many blocklists as you require, then start or schedule a session. It is compatible with Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, and Chrome. The premium plan starts at $6.99/month.
Guilt can be an excellent motivator, and Forest requires you to bring an end to the life of a tree by murdering it if you cannot resist the temptation of a distraction. This may seem to be a dramatic take, but the basic concept behind it is this: you start by planting a tree and then set a timer for how long you want to stay productive.
Your tree continues growing as long as you don’t visit certain websites while using the Chrome extension or don’t use the phone. The tree starts withering if you use banned sites or your phone. You will get warned with a delightfully twisted copy in the form of “This will kill your cute, little tree,” or “Your tree is dead.”
Over time, you can grow a lush, beautiful forest through lots of focused productivity sessions, and the best part is that it’s hard not to get attached.
You can use Forest for free as a Chrome extension or $2 on iOS and Google Play.
Whether you’re usually a background-noise person or not, this focus app is undoubtedly worth a shot. It allows you to mix and match a wide range of sounds (such as wind, fire, thunderstorms, or fan noise) to create the preferred working environment for you. You even have the option to use some readymade mixes if you’re not feeling super creative.
You can use Noisli on your desktop or via mobile. When you choose Noisli for free, you get an hour and a half of streaming every day along with 16 sounds to mix with, three curated playlists, and the option to save up to five favorite combinations. You may upgrade it to premium for $10 a month for more playlists, sounds, unlimited streaming, and an advanced timer. This app is available on iOS, Google Play, and desktop.
4. Focus Keeper
You’ve probably come across the Pomodoro technique (blocking time into 25 work minutes with short in-between breaks) if you’ve fallen down the rabbit hole of productivity tips, tricks, and hacks. People continue to appreciate and recommend this app and for good reason!
Focus Keeper is a timer utilizing the Pomodoro technique and with a customizable and simple interface. If this is not all, you can use Focus Keeper to track your productivity so you can easily track long-term progress and goals. You can use Focus Keeper (iOS) for free or $2 for pro.
We all occasionally find ourselves wishing a day we could be free from the deep clutches of the internet. Coffitivity is the right app for you if you need a lot of help resisting temptation. Available for free or $9 for premium on coffitivity.com, it’s ideal for people who miss the simple pleasure of working out of a café instead of their home just like the good old days. You can choose from many specific ones to choose from, such as a Texas teahouse, a low-key morning coffeehouse, or a university version, or even more if you purchase a premium Coffitivity account.
6. Kanban Flow
Kanban Flow is a task manager with out-of-the-box focus tools and a built-in timer. The Kanban board is a task list that is divided by progress (such as to-do, to-day today, in progress, and done), which gives you a broad and comprehensive overview of everything you have to concentrate on. This to be honest can leave you enough room to focus on important things. You can use it for free or $5 a month for premium by visiting kanbanflow.com.
Power-packed with a variety of features, Engross has everything covered, all in a single app. Engross has a customizable Pomodoro-inspired timer to help you time block periods of rest and work. It also has app-blocking capabilities and soothing sounds to cut down on distractions. Furthermore, with repeating reminders and tasks, you’ll spend more time working and less time planning. You can use this app for free or $5 for premium (iOS and Google Play).
Try out these focus apps to stay focused and block distractions in 2022 and beyond. Some apps will block distracting websites and apps, some will gamify the experience while helping you stay productive, and some will positively time you for those stretches of time while you work to recognize that you have a break ahead. Choose whichever app works the best for you and don’t forget to share your experiences. Happy focusing!
I’m Dana, a small business systems GENIE! As a mom of 5 kids, a wife, and a grandmother, I am someone who has worked from home in multiple businesses for the last 30 years, and I get it. We are tired and need systems in place in order to make it all work and achieve some semblance of balance! I love order and chaos all at once and when I see a problem, I map it out in my head to make it work.
I’m an avid reader and learner as well as a woman who needs color coding in her life to make it work. If you haven’t guessed yet, my favorite color is purple and family is life.