Smartphones are supposed to be our pocket computers. They are to help us navigate through life and generally make our lives better. While they do that most of the times, they often tend to go overboard and completely take over the steering. You don’t get? Take a look at this scenario.
You are working on a project on your laptop and notification from your phone gets your attention. You abandon whatever you are doing to “quickly” view the message and probably respond. But you can’t leave so fast, this person has a whole lot to talk about so you both go on and on.
Then Instagram notification drops, your favourite celebrity just shared a picture. You breezed out of Whatsapp to another Zukerberg’s property to “quickly” view the post. No big deal, just a picture of him chilling with friends. 50k likes and 2k comments.
The FBI in you decides to click on comments to see who and who did not comment. You notice another celebrity under his comment and off you go to his page.
Jack won’t let Mark have your whole day to himself. He gets your attention too with a notification that someone just followed you on Twitter. To Twitter you leave, again, to quickly see who this new fan is.
From there you checked out trending topics. One after the other you clicked on each trending topic to get full detail of the gist.
Guess what! You’ve spent 5 hours wasting away the same Saturday you had thought you would dedicate to that project. You did not work on your project, and you almost did not achieve anything the whole day.
You know why all this happened? That’s right – your smartphone. And that is the whole essence of this article. These 5 apps help me steer off unnecessary distractions and stay focused.
So let’s get started – 5 productivity android apps that can help you stay focused.
Forest is the next best thing after jollof rice. I’m not talking about the regular jollof o, I mean Nigerian party jollof, made with firewood. Yeah, I like food.
The makers of this app understand that you have a life outside your smartphone. So, the app was created to help you focus on that part of your life for a set time.
As the name implies, the app is a forest and you are responsible for planting the trees in it. Every time you complete a project, you plant a tree. And every time you leave the app while the project is still ongoing, you kill a tree.
Let’s say you are like me; you have an article to complete on your laptop. From experience, you think you should be able to finish up within 2 hours.
All you have to do (after installing the app on your phone) is set 2 hours (which is actually the maximum) and hit “Plant”.
You can also decide to play the “Forest Rain” soundtrack to further help you concentrate. At the end of the set time, you would be notified that “Your Tree Has Grown”. That does come with a feeling of fulfilment.
One other interesting part of Forest app is the motivational message that displays on the screen. Some are authoritative and hilarious. However, they get the job done because they make you go back to your work. Some of such messages are:
“Go back to your work”
“Don’t look at me”
“Leave me alone!”
“What you plant now, you will harvest later”
Focus to-do has a suite of features and functions that help you focus on tasks and projects. One core feature it has is the Pomodoro timer, with which you can time yourself to work for periods of 25 minutes.
At the end of the 25 minutes, you would be able to take a 5 minutes break before going to start another task. This makes it easy to break tasks into phases. Knowing that you will have a break soon also helps you to commit to the task till the end of set time.
The app also has task management and to-do list functions which all help you plan, track and schedule tasks. You can even set reminders for your pending tasks. You can also view stats per day or project and compare your performances and see how you can improve.
Freedom is one of the known apps that helps concentration by blocking apps that may distract you when it’s on. It allows you to select the apps and games you want to block. You can block websites as well.
The app was designed to know by default that Facebook, Instagram and Netflix are some of the top apps that distract us. So, they are all blocked automatically. If you have other apps you want to block, you can then add to the list in the setting.
To get started, you click “Start Session from the app homepage, then you can go ahead to work without being distracted.
You can even automate Freedom to run at specific times and days, and set custom blocklists for you.
Space another top-notch concentration app. With this app, you can set goals for the period of time you want to concentrate per day and track your progress daily.
The app also has other tools such as apps and notifications blocking and dimming of screen to make your phone less attractive. It also sends constant reminders to stay on track.
The app provides for different user profiles depending on what distracts you most. For some people, they get distracted with news update notifications, others may want to catch up with their friends on social media.
You can customize the way the app works to counter your attention lapses.
Engross is another timer app that lets you set goals and time for the goal. The app has a special button “Hit me when you are distracted” which displays motivational messages every time you click on it. The app challenges you to reduce the rate at which you hit the button.
Engross also has to-do list, events and schedule functions help you organize your tasks and projects.