If you’re having trouble focusing these days, you’re not alone.
While working from home and from coffee shops has its set of benefits, it is also hard to stay focused on the task at hand and be productive when the internet is full of engaging content and distractions galore! How are you supposed to get anything done?
Luckily, there are plenty of apps, websites, and extensions to help you focus and boost productivity in a variety of ways. Some tools work as time-blockers; while others help you get in the zone. it’s worth experimenting with various tools to find out what works for you because there’s definitely no one-size-fits-all solution.
Highlighted below are the best focus apps, websites, and extensions that will help to get work done a little easier.
If you want a way to keep track of your work while also avoiding distractions, Friday is a great tool that can help you.
In your daily planner, write out exactly when you want to enter Focus Time Sessions, the reason for wanting deep focus, and you can add any websites and apps you want to block out during this time.
There is also the Friday Chrome Extension that connects with the planner. Every time you open a new tab on Chrome, you will see all the tasks you have to accomplish for the day, and your daily schedule, and it can block any sites you don’t want access to during your Focus Time Sessions.
Start with the Friday planner today and set focus time.
Forest is one of the best focus apps that is available on both the App Store and the Google Play Store. Forest is also available as a Chrome extension to use on your laptop or computer. Forest gets you to grow your own forest by staying focused daily and gradually turning your hard work into a land of lush forest. Forest allows you to blacklist distracting websites and whitelist ones that you need for work.
Format: iOS, Android, Google Chrome.
Annoying noises form a major chunk of distractions and the inability to focus. Noisli helps to mask distractive and annoying noises with background sounds in order to keep you sane, improve your focus and boost your productivity. While there are two paid versions of Noisli, there is a free plan that offers an hour and a half of streaming a day, three curated playlists, 16 sounds to mix with, and the ability to save five favorite combos.
Format: iOS, Google Play, and desktop
If you often find yourself distracted by all the different social media platforms, news sites, and everything that the internet has to offer, then you should consider the cross-platform app Freedom. With Freedom, you can block everything from websites to apps to the entire internet. If you're not sure which websites or apps to block, you can also choose from a pre-made list.
As the name suggests, Focusmate prompts you to choose a time for work and when you want to be productive and then connects you with a focus mate for a 50-minute session. The idea is to harness the power of virtual co-working by connecting you to other professionals who have committed to being accountable for finishing their most important work.
Given that 95.5% of users reported a significant increase in productivity, makes Focusmate one of the best focus apps out there.
Format: Web-based format works best on Chrome for desktops, Chrome for Android and Safari for iOS (iPhone/iPad).
RescueTime is a productivity reporting tool joined with website blocking features. While you can’t use RescueTime to block applications, you can use it to see how much time you’re spending on certain apps and websites. The reporting features make RescueTime stand out as a productivity tool and make it one of the best apps for focus.
As funny as it may sound, Focus is one of the best apps for focus. Focus helps keep procrastination at bay as it is based on the Pomodoro technique. This time management technique is a method that uses a timer to break down work into intervals. The idea is to focus on a single task for a specific period of time and then take a short break to revitalize yourself.
Format: iOS (iPhone, iPad & Apple Watch) and MacOS.
Built by Steven Skoczen, to help with his own mindless browsing, Mindful Browsing seamlessly and beautifully interrupts mindless browsing to get you back to focus on the tasks at hand. Mindful Browsing takes a slightly gentler approach to avoid distractions as compared to website blockers and is easy to set up. Simply type in the websites you want to be mindful of spending your time on and then type in what you'd rather be doing.
Format: Web-based (Chrome Extension)
Motion is one of the best focus apps that helps to get work done by intervening in real-time to remind you when you're on a distracting site. What makes Motion unique is that while browning a distractive website, it shows a pop-up which you can either close or continue to browse for exactly one minute (which triggers a countdown). Motion also allows you to create Focus Sessions and provides you with an activity report from the previous day.
Format: Chrome Extension
Focus Keeper helps you keep your productivity at an all-time high while avoiding burnout. Like Focus, Focus Keeper uses the Pomodoro technique which involves blocking your time into slots of 25 minutes of work with short breaks in between. Focus Keeper uses a simple and customizable user interface and also tracks your productivity.
Simply set the timer to 25 minutes when you choose a task you want to get done and when the timer is up, you're rewarded with a five-minute break.
Format: App available for iOS.
Hocus Focus helps your brain from straying by automatically hiding applications you’re not using. Hocus Focus is a Mac menu bar utility that helps to keep your desktop clutter-free by hiding your inactive windows for a certain period of time, leaving only the applications you’re using visible. By hiding the applications and multiple windows that you're not using, Hocus Focus helps to create a distraction-free desktop and helps you stay focused on the stuff that matters.
Format: Web-based for MacOS (www.hocusfoc.us)
While “productivity” has become a buzzword in the world of remote teams, there’s no denying that being productive and getting things done is a very satisfying and happy feeling. However, to be productive, you need to stay focused on the task at hand. And staying focused in a world that’s filled with distractions can be challenging.
By relying on the focus apps and tools mentioned above, you can boost personal productivity and develop the powerful habit of staying focused. Whether it’s background noises or blocking websites or gentle nudges, it’s wise to try a few of these tools out to determine which focus app is best for you.
Additionally, a great way to stay focused is to write down all your goals and break them into small and manageable steps. You can use the Friday daily planner, to begin with, and use a focus app to eliminate distractions.