6 Apps That Boost Your Productivity

Every now and then we all struggle with keeping our heads straight and focus on our tasks. Deadlines don’t mess around, and with the overload of distractions from social media and all things that suddenly seem much more interesting than work, it’s not easy to stay sharp. Luckily for us die-hard procrastinators, technology can also be beneficial when it comes to productivity. Here are five apps that make sure you don’t get lost in the wondrous world of distraction.

1. Toggl (Freemium, $9/month)

1. Toggl1. Toggl
Toggl is a simple but high-quality time tracking app for optimizing your workflow, no matter what tasks you’re working on. You can easily start tracking with one simple click, and in case you forget to start the timer, Toggl automatically keeps tracking your working/non-working behaviour. Slick visualisations of your data keep you updated about your productivity progress, and all collected data is free to download in Excel, CSV, or PDF. Toggl is available for multiple devices, with a desktop application to a mobile app (Android, iOS), or a browser extension (Chrome, Firefox). Its basic version is free to use and already offers lots of features. Premium versions start at $9/month.

2. Forest ($1.99)

2. Forest2. Forest
If you care for both your productivity and the environment, look no further: Forest is the app for you. Avoiding distractions actually becomes a fun experience, as the application turns your working effort into a proper game. You begin with choosing your preferred tree, and while you are working blood, sweat, and tears, your tree grows along with the effort. One tree represents one successful session of undistracted work. And the more of these sessions, the bigger your forest grows. Disturbing a session results in a dying tree, which, of course, you want to avoid at all times. The Forest application team collaborates with the real-life tree-planting organization "Trees for the Future", and provides the organization with donations earned by your hard work in the app. By now, already more than 550.000 trees have been planted, which must certainly convince you of the fact that it works. Forest is available for iOS and Android, and as Firefox add-on.

3. Focus Keeper ($1.99)

3. Focus Keeper3. Focus Keeper
Like to keep it simple? Then Focus Keeper is the productivity app you need. The application makes use of the so-called Pomodoro Technique, which is a unique way of time management that rewards you with breaks. The more task sessions you finish, the longer your well-deserved break can be. No extravagant and flashy visuals, just a simple timer and some minimalistic and neat graphs that show your progress. Focus Keeper is available for iOS and Android.

4. Freedom (Freemium, $6.99/month)

4. Freedom4. Freedom
Free yourself from procrastinating over and over again. With over one million users worldwide, Freedom helps you temporarily block websites and applications that keep you from being productive. You decide what distractions you want to block and for how long, and Freedom does the rest. Freedom is available as a desktop and mobile application, as well as a browser extension for Chrome, Firefox, and Opera. Besides the main application, Freedom also offers three free browser extensions, which give you an insight into your distractive browsing behaviour, and one that gives you a heads-up before you visit a distracting website.

5. Hocus Focus (Free)

5. Hocus Focus
Not only did the founders of Hocus Focus come up with an epic name for their service, they also give you the application for free, and simply ask voluntary donations for support. Hocus Focus declutters your Mac by minimizing inactive windows and applications for a certain period of time, so doing ten things at the same time won’t be an option anymore. For now, the application is only available for MacOS. It’s a simple but honest and reliable app, indispensable when staying on top of your focus-game.

6. Brain.fm (Freemium, $6.95/month)

6. Brain.fm6. Brain.fm
A little different from the rest, but still a vital application when it comes to staying focused. Brain.fm is a science-based application that provides its users with 2-hour long soundtracks from different genres, which help you stay focused by the power of music and sound. The application bases its functions on scientific research with large-scale behavioural tests and precize brain-scans, measuring brain activity reacting on different kinds of music. Already more than 150.000 users have discovered the usefulness of productive music during work. Brain.fm is available for Android and iOS, with 5 free trial sessions and a monthly paid subscription in case you got hooked.