If you spend time reading an article about productivity instead of being productive, is that time well spent? I’m going to go ahead and say yes, just so you’ll keep reading.
As a working person in 2017, you already have your go-to apps for managing your days. And I’ll admit, productivity apps can be counter-intuitive. Some require way too much set-up and upkeep. Others are just plain ugly and stress me out looking at them. If I’m going to be distracted planning my productivity, it needs to work well AND look good.
These apps do both of those things.
Forest. Tell it how long you want to be productive. Let’s say 45 minutes.
You plant a virtual seed in your virtual forest and put your phone away. If you open another app, Forest knows, and your tree dies. Then you have to start over. Yeah okay, it’s not the MOST enticing incentive, but it’s a cute way 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 into the app immediately before your tree dies. Dismiss this message, and you’ve just contributed to deforestation. Good job.
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. First of all, I have none, so the name spoke to me. 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 website. It also doesn’t work for Chrome for iPhone which was a huge bummer. But if you’re not a browser snob, it works great on Safari and does 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 classic), Flat Tomato is it’s young hot cousin. It’s UI is extremely minimal and beautiful, actually making it kind of hard to look away and get to work. Even it’s notifications (birds chirping when it’s time to break) are adorable. This app doesn’t necessarily do anything other Pomodoro apps, or productivity apps do, it’s just enjoyable to use and look at.
Are there any I missed? I’m always looking for new apps to waste time on while pretending it’s for research.
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