Recently I’ve been struggling with staying focused. Maybe it’s the recent change of weather, the lack of daylight hours, or the many exciting things happening around this time of year. Occasionally Often, it’s my cat. I’m not much of a procrastinator, but I do struggle with remaining on task and sometimes I need the help of technology to push me to focus up and get stuff done!
I’m assuming I’m not alone in this problem, which is why I’d like to share with you my top 5 favourite apps/extensions/programs that help me to stay focused.
(Google Chrome extension)
Momentum is a simple to use tab replacer. Functional, minimalist and gorgeous. I started using Momentum a few weeks ago to really get myself focused on my “One Thing” I wanted to accomplish for that day, now every time I open up a new tab it’s the first thing I see. I look forward to the rotation of beautiful pictures and inspirational quotes each day, but the productivity tools are what makes this extension so useful. It’s completely free to use and add to your Chrome browser, however, there is a paid version (for less than $5/month) that offers more customizations. In the paid version you can sync your tasks with other task managers like Asana, Trello, Todoist, GitHub, Wunderlist, and Google Tasks. You can also choose your own fonts, themes, pictures, and quotes.
(Google Chrome extension)
Speaking of tab stuff, OneTab helps you manage multiple tabs and saves your device’s memory and increases speed. It may not be the prettiest application, but it’s completely free to use! After you install it, you’ll see the OneTab button in your extensions bar. Once you click on it, it reduces your tabs to (you guessed it) one list in a single tab. You can then click on the individual item you want to use and it will re-open that tab for you, keeping the clutter of tabs off your top bar, and refocusing your work.
(Web, Apple, Google Play)
The people at Brain.FM have really done an amazing thing… I’m not sure how it works exactly (I’m not a neuroscientist), but it does! By combining music with auditory neuroscience, they have created a non-invasive digital therapy application. Basically – they have tapped into your brain to either focus, relax, meditate, sleep, or nap (yes, there is a difference between sleeping and napping) using original compositions specifically designed for Brain.FM. They give you 10 free listens in “Focus” mode and after that, you’ll have to pay for it. If you do like it, you can get a premium account for $7/month (or $48 for a year up front), or $150 for a lifetime subscription.
Forest: Stay Focused
(Google Chrome extension, Apple, Google Play)
Having problems with certain websites taking away focus and helping you procrastinate? (Think Facebook, Pinterest, Reddit) With Forest, you can block/blacklist these problem sites in whatever amount of time-segments you need. It’s simple to use on both your web browser and mobile smartphone when you want to focus. Just click on the app/extension icon and you’ll see a tree icon. When you click on the tree, your tree gets “planted” (indicating time has started). Stay off the page and don’t press the “give up” button for the time you set, and at the end of your time, your tree will be grown. Give up and your tree will be killed. Sounds fun right? Here’s the best part. The people at Forest partnered with a real-tree-planting organization, Trees for the Future, to plant real trees on the earth. Users can earn credits by not using their cell phones and plant real trees around the world with the credits.
(Web, Apple, Android, Kobo)
I added this app to my phone last week and so far, so good. If I stumble upon something that I want to read or look into later, instead of bookmarking it (which later just clutters up my bookmarks in my phone), I add it to Pocket to save it for later. You can put articles, videos or pretty much anything into Pocket. Once it’s in your pocket, you don’t need an internet connection to view it later. I actually like their daily emails too (Pocket Hits) where they send you articles that their users are pocketing. There, of course, is an unsubscribe option for this feature. Pocket is totally free to use, can be used on almost any device (including e-readers) or web browser.
These are just a few of the tools available. I should probably mention that none of these programs have paid me to endorse them. The internet is full of amazing (and not so amazing) things, and when I find amazing things that work for me, I love to share my finds with others. I’d love to hear what programs, apps, extensions, or habits you use to stay focused. Feel free to leave a comment below and let us know!