If you spend time reading an article about productivity instead of being productive, is that time well spent? If you answered yes, that’s great! Learning to be productive is a skill itself that takes practice and consistency to master.
As a working person in 2018, you already have your go-to apps for managing your days. There are certain apps for productivity when working remotely, and apps for productivity in your office, but what about the apps that challenge your overall susceptibility to distractions? When trying to eliminate distractions, productivity apps can be counter-intuitive. Some require way too much set-up and upkeep. Others are plain ugly and stress you out even further. These apps are easy-to-use, calming to look at, and will ease your distractions and get those creative juices flowing. These apps do both of those things.
Forest asks you how long you want to be productive. Let’s say you want an undisturbed focus for 45 minutes. You plant a virtual seed in the virtual forest and put your phone away. If you open another app, Forest knows, and your tree dies forcing you to start over. The app does a great job to gamify productivity. It’s also a strange wake-up call as to how frequently we reach for our phones without our brains even recognizing it. If you open your phone while your tree is growing, Forest sends a notification telling you to go back to the app immediately before your tree dies. Dismiss this message, and Forest gives you a twinge of guilt for killing your virtual tree.
30/30. It’s a timer that’s specifically designed to tackle productivity. It lets you create a visual timeline for your workday. Its interface is fun and enhances the process of actually having to schedule tasks. Tell it your tasks, the length of time you want to spend doing each one and then start the timer. 30/30 will tell you when it’s time to move on to the next thing.
Zero Willpower. If you have limited (or no) willpower, this app is for you. It’s designed to block any website you want and set a timer for how long you want that site blocked. Now here’s the catch. It doesn’t block apps, only websites. It currently doesn’t work for Chrome for iPhone which is a downside, but works great on Safari and does exactly what it promises.
Freedom wants to change the relationship you have with your devices. As in any relationship, you need some time apart. Choose the apps and websites you keep coming back to, and Freedom essentially puts your distracting apps in Airplane Mode. You won’t receive push notifications, and your apps won’t refresh to load new content. It doesn’t block phone calls or texts that come from cellular networks. It also doesn’t prevent you from opening the app.
Flat Tomato. From the people that gave you Pomodoro Timer (a productivity classic), Flat Tomato is it’s young, smart cousin. It’s UI is extremely minimal and beautiful, making it kind of hard to look away and get to work. Even it’s notifications (birds chirping when it’s time to break) add a nice calming touch. This app doesn’t necessarily do anything other Pomodoro apps, or productivity apps do, it’s just enjoyable to use and look at.
Everyone has their own techniques for remaining on task. And while technology may be to blame for your lack of productivity, take care knowing that there are ways to use technology to get more done and tune-out the millions of distractions available at your fingertips.