The internet is a glorious thing. But, we all know it has at least one dark side—it is a huge productivity suck. Maybe you open up your browser and innocently stroll over to YouTube or Pinterest or Facebook to check out what’s new. Three bleary-eyed hours later, you’re lying on your back in the bottom of a web pit and you can’t remember why you even went on the internet in the first place. If you are trying to be productive, opening up your web browser is a dangerous, yet sometimes necessary, thing to do.
But, while technology can often get in the way of mindfulness, focus and productivity, there’s plenty of technology that exists to help you take your productivity back. From improving mindfulness to eliminating at-work distractions, here are 8 apps that will help you maximize your productivity and, consequentially, your happiness.
Meditation is one way to improve your focus and productivity. Unfortunately, not all of us know how to meditate, nor are there widespread resources to go take a meditation class. Why not app it? Headspace may be one of the most popular meditation apps. Headspace teaches you how to meditate and allows you to progress deeper from day to day. If meditation sounds great, but has always intimidated you, this is the free app that will get you started.
Are you looking for guided meditations lead by a wide selection real experts? This beautifully designed app helps you declutter you mind with really good guided audio meditations that are curated for your specific needs. Their curated collections include Be Healthy (for stress, anxiety and sleep), Be Awesome (for happiness, performance and confidence), Be Kind (for relationships and compassion) and more. The interface is also elegantly minimalist, making the app refreshing to open and a breeze to use. Yes, the app costs a few bucks, but isn’t it worth sacrificing a latte for an app that will enhance your personal growth for months to come?
Looking to create new, effective habits? That’s exactly what Momentum is for. Habits become easier and easier to keep the longer you keep them going. But, once you miss one day, the chain is broken and your momentum stalls a little—we’ve all experienced the downward spiral of cheat days on diets before, right? With Momentum, you’ll be encouraged and reminded to make time for your new habits so that you never miss a day. Whether you are looking to wake up earlier, save more money, eat healthier or exercise more, you’ll be able to set targets, make notes and schedule gentle reminders in the app so that your desired habits are sure to stick.
Do you find yourself unable to resist distracting sites like Facebook or Twitter while at work? Have you noticed that certain sites really take the umphf out of your productivity? Freedom will block websites and apps that distract you at designated times throughout the day. Just select your devices, your schedule and your blocked websites, and the app keeps the distractions at bay. It makes falling into the Youtube wormhole while trying to work a complete non-issue. For a free version, try the Firefox plug-in, LeechBlock.
Is perusing the internet getting in the way of a reasonable bedtime? Cold Turkey is a lot like Freedom’s Windows-only alternative. In general, Cold Turkey allows you to schedule times when you will not be able to access distracting sites, like Facebook. With both free and monthly pricing options, Cold Turkey can make work, waking up and bedtimes a lot more mindful.
For those looking to get writing done, the internet is a low-hanging fruit that always leads to wasted hours. WriteRoom is essentially like putting blinders on your computer, allowing you to do nothing more than write for the time that it is open. Without distractions, the hope is you’ll be able to focus and string better words together more efficiently. Using Windows? Try DarkRoom.
Ad Block Plus
If ads and pop-ups put a dark cloud on your web experience, this app may be your savior. It will hide distracting ads and pop-ups so that you don’t fall into a rabbit hole of deals, steals and clickbait while you are trying to work. Let’s face it, no one likes ads and pop-ups. Let this app clear your web-space.
If you struggle with your focus, maybe it’s time to train your brain. Lumosity offers plenty of fun games that scientifically work to train your brain in essential areas like memory, concentration and multitasking. With a little fail practice, you may find that you have an increased ability to focus just from playing games!