You know how it is – you’re fully focused on getting that really important piece of work done, you’re in the zone, and then all of a sudden you find yourself checking Twitter or looking out the window or browsing the IKEA website for those wardrobes you absolutely must buy right this second. Everyone, even a Productivity Ninja, suffers from lapses in concentration every now and again, but if you find it happening a little too often then it could have a detrimental effect on your productivity and standard of work.
While there are myriad steps you can take to improve your concentration, there are a number of apps you can download to help you focus more and concentrate on the task in hand. Here are five of our favorites…
If you know you absolutely have to get something done and you’re on a deadline but you still somehow find yourself on random websites for no apparent reason; or on YouTube watching videos of God knows what (we’ve all done it), then Freedom could be just what you need.
It allows you to block websites and apps so you simply can’t access them, and therefore have no choice but to get on with your work. It works on desktop and mobile devices as well, so you can even stop yourself from picking up your phone every five minutes.
Working in a busy, bustling office isn’t always conducive to concentration and productivity. Some people can block the noise out, but others find it a real distraction and struggle to settle into a working rhythm. SoundCurtain aims to combat this by playing ambient sounds, such as rainfall, wind and piano, to block out distracting noise. Combine this with a good pair of noise cancelling headphones and you’ll really be in your own little bubble.
Our computer screens can become incredibly cluttered places. Windows open left, right and centre, icons littering the desktop, email notifications disrupting our workflow, and plenty of other little distractions that can pull you out of what you’re doing.
FocusWriter takes all that away, leaving you with a simple writing area and nothing else. This is ideal if you’re trying to finish that novel you’ve been working on or just need to get a report finished by the end of the day. Combine this with the aforementioned Freedom and you’ll be distraction free!
While RescueTime can block websites like Freedom does, it also lets you see exactly how much time you spend on certain tasks and websites. So if you’re spending too long in your emails or in meetings, you can try and manage your time better. It also gives you a friendly nudge if the computer has been idle for too long, so if you’ve become distracted looking at your phone or chatting with a colleague, you’ll be prompted to get back to work. A little pushy? Maybe, but it works if you’re on a deadline.
Some people struggle to concentrate because they’re actually working too much. If you don’t take breaks every now and again then you’ll burn out and won’t perform to your best. Sometimes it’s easy to forget to take breaks, especially if you’re right in the middle of something, but Time Out can help you remember to just take five minutes to stretch, stand up and rest your eyes.
You can enter in a personalized message, how often you want it to pop up, and it will dim your screen and remind you to take a break. Then when you go back to your work, you’ll feel refreshed and able to concentrate better.
What are your favorite concentration apps? Let us know in the comment section below or @thinkproductiveusa
By Chris Thomson
Chris is a content manager for Webtise, a leading digital marketing and web development agency. He probably spends too much time on social media so these apps will come in handy.