This Mac App’s tagline is ‘reclaim your productivity’ and it certainly gears itself to the easily distracted crowd. The app lives in your menubar and at the click of a button or press of a key, can block you from visiting certain websites or opening known-distraction apps like Mail or Twitter. The app comes with a built in timer, which you can use as a Pomodoro timer, to break down work into small intervals. The nicest touch – any websites you visit that are on your blacklist whilst Focus is active will instead show you a motivational quote to get you back on track and improve your productivity.
If you’re a writer suffering writers block, then look no further than WriteRoom. It’s an, admittedly extreme, distraction free word processor for the Mac that runs in full screen and gets out of the way so you can focus on your work. It does exactly what it says on the tin – it presents you with your screen, your text and nothing else. All toolbars, menus and other interface items have been stripped away, which should help you to concentrate on your writing without becoming easily distracted. If you’re a Windows user then I recommend DarkRoom, a Windows alternative, that does exactly the same job as its Mac counterpart.
We briefly touched on the Pomodoro Technique before, and if you’re someone that lives or dies by it, then you could do a lot worse than use Tomighty. The app is available for both Mac and Windows and lives in your desktop, offering a simple and effective time management technique that helps you keep focussed on tasks that require long periods of concentration. Whilst plenty of Pomodoro Technique timers exist, Tomighty is free and does the job whilst staying out of your way.
Now for something different. f.lux has long been one of the first apps I install on my Mac and for good reason. In a nutshell, it makes the colour of your computer’s display adapt to the time of day. So at night the display will look warmer, whilst during the day it will look more bright and light. This is perfect for those of us who have to work late in to the night, and then struggle to get to sleep because of the blue light radiating from our displays. f.lux eliminates much of the blue light as the day goes on and the sun sets, meaning the display is less harsh on your eyes and allowing you to focus on your work.
Many swear by listening to ambient music whilst they work and studies have shown that it can increase productivity. Noizio is a great app for MacOS or iOS which bills itself as ‘your subtle companion’. Offering a range of different ambient sounds – from October rain, to Paris cafe, to thunderstorm – this ambient sound app will not only help you relax but will also increase your productivity whilst helping you to focus on your work.
So those are my top five recommended apps which you should download right now to better increase your productivity and help you focus. Procrastination, be gone.