5 Apps to Help You Concentrate and Get Those Tasks Done
Make technology work with—not against—you in your quest to improve your focus
A ping, a buzz, a phone call, a banner notification, a badge alert. These and many other attention-grabbing elements abound!
This point in time may just be the most distracted we as a society have ever been. According to new research by the American Psychological Association: “Our digital lives [are not only making us more] distracted, [but] distant and drained [as well].” And this state of being hyper connected in the age of the internet is taking a toll on our overall wellbeing.
Over in the workplace, this has a direct impact on our levels of productivity and how well we perform our tasks; small breaks dedicated to checking social media or surfing the internet can add up to a colossal amount of time lost if we look at the big picture.
Apart from wasting hours that could be devoted to something worthwhile and meaningful, it is proven that distraction also kills morale. In Udemy’s 2018 Workplace Distraction Report, surveys showed that “the constant barrage of interruptions actually makes 34% of our survey respondents like their jobs less.” This study arrives at the conclusion that companies must take it upon themselves to keep workplace distractions at bay as these can “damage employee morale and retention because it’s hard to win people back once they’ve reached their limits.” But the other issue here is people’s willingness to be distracted. And with our mobile devices in arm’s reach almost all hours of the day, the enticing temptation of smartphone-related distraction has just become harder to curb.
Source: Udemy for Business
While technology today is one of the major causes of distraction, it, just the same, can provide the extra push needed to motivate you to accomplish your tasks, increase your attention span and boost concentration. Perhaps with the right apps on deck, you’ll improve your chances of eliminating distraction from your life.
For starters though: switch off those messaging apps, lay off checking your email, put your phone on silent mode, have your noise-cancelling headphones at the ready and commit to focusing on only one thing at a time. Now that the setting’s just right, scroll through for five smartphone apps to get you started on your road to a more focused and productive life:
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Not about single tasks, but forming habits.
Because are you truly being productive if there is no progress? With the Productive Habit Tracker, consistency is key. It isn’t so much about ticking off items on a checklist but more about helping you improve by forming the right habits. This app allows you to customize tasks, plot them accordingly throughout the week and set reminders for these goals. Got your sights set on working out thrice a week? Need to develop the habit of reading one chapter of a new book a day? Looking to stay on top of your daily multivitamin intake? Track everything with the app and make sure you don’t miss a day.
Download Productive on the App Store for free. It’s available for iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch.
For sleep, focus, meditation and relaxation.
Awarded App of the Year both in 2016 and 2017, Tide is the ideal concentration app for multitaskers like those accustomed to high-stress environments, are typically restless and want to get in on meditation and mindfulness but don’t know when to get started on it. Tide features nature soundtracks especially designed for the app’s two main functions: focus and sleep. Just plug in those earphones or turn up that speaker, get started on the app and power through that task list.
Increase productivity through time blocking.
Being on a roll sometimes means giving your mind time to rest and recharge. Workflow Timer is proof of that. This app by Aleksandr Fiodorov makes use of the Pomodoro Technique, which means 25 minutes are allotted for uninterrupted work, are then followed by a short break and then another 25 minutes starts up again. After four of these 25-minute work sessions (also called pomodoros), you then get to take a longer break (typically 15 minutes long) and then reset the process. This take on productivity implies that focusing on intervals rather than the tasks themselves can be more effective.
Download the Workflow Timer app on the App Store.
Stay focused, be present.
Like Workflow Timer, Forest uses the Pomodoro Technique but gamifies it. Here’s how it works: “If you want to temporarily put down your phone and focus on what’s more important in real life, you can plant a seed in Forest. As time goes by, this seed will gradually grow into a tree,” the developers shared. “However, if you cannot resist the temptation of using your phone and leave the app, your tree will wither. The sense of achievement and responsibility will encourage you to stay away from your phone, and will help you make better use of your time. Stop getting distracted by your phone, make you self-motivated and get more things done.”
“The veritable Swiss Army knife of to-do list management.” —Lifehacker
One of the best in task and time management, Remember the Milk is the familiar to-do list made more intelligent. Get your ducks in a row and your priorities straight and never forget an important to-do item ever again. Remember the Milk lets you list your tasks, organize them with tags and add subtasks for bigger projects. Send yourself reminders through email or text, via mobile notifications and Twitter, too.
We’ve had longer attention spans and a better grasp on task management before and we can definitely do it again.