26 Sep 2018

The Best Apps for a Big Boost in Productivity and Focus

Written by Kristian Rusten

With all the distractions of the modern world, staying focused and being productive can be a struggle. To help, we’ve found 10 of the best apps available to bring your productivity up to where it should be.

Productivity is about input to output. We all want to get as much as we can from the effort we’re putting in. If staying focused is a genuine struggle or you’re just a productivity perfectionist, a few clever apps can perform wonders.

So, keep procrastinating a tad longer and make it productive by perusing some of the best productivity apps around.

Blink

iOS; A$0.99

We’re spoiled for choice when it comes to to-do list and task manager apps, but Blink is different. It’s a memo maker, crafted in homage to minimalism. This is perfect if you happen to find yourself spending more time on task managers like Trello than on the tasks they’re supposed to manage. Simplicity; ever the asset in getting things done.

Forest

iOS; A$1.99, Android; free, with in-app purchases

Forest wants your phone to stop distracting you. It gives you an incentive to stop wasting time and leave your phone alone – a virtual forest. Resist the urge and stay focused, and your phone forest will look like the thickest parts of the Amazon. But if you cave, you’ll be looking at the barren wasteland of procrastination and lost productivity.

Self Control

Mac; free

Self Control locks you out of time-sucking websites. It, or the less extreme Freedom, helps you to stay away from your favourite procrastination spots. You build up a blacklist and enable it for a set period of time. Once enabled, those needy websites are inaccessible, and there's no way back – you’re left with no choice but to focus and be productive.

Pocket

iOS, Android, Mac, Windows; free, with a premium option

Pocket lets you take those daydream curiosities and push them to the side so you can get back to work. Those moments can be infinitely rewarding in the larger scheme of things, but they won’t help you finish writing that email. So, jot them down and chuck them in your Pocket for later. Easy.

HabitHub

Android, iOS (coming soon); free, with in-app purchases

Don’t break the chain. The basis of HabitHub’s approach to productivity is embedding good behaviour through repetition. Your dedication to a habit you want to encourage is recorded and you get to see the chain grow longer (or break). This should push you to stick to the habits that will turn you into a productivity machine.

Notion

iOS, Android, Mac, Windows; scaled pricing

Notion slims-down a bloated digital workspace. Ever wondered if flicking from app to app to app for every task was a waste of time? Well, it is. Which is why Notion incorporates notes, spreadsheets, indexes, and tasks in one, convenient app. Less hassle, more productivity.

Slack

iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Mac, Windows, Linux; scaled pricing

Slack makes it easy to discuss things with your team. It’s a flexible group-messaging platform that can bridge any communication gaps and keep everyone on the same page. As they say, communication is key, and this too is true for productive teams, which probably also makes it true for a productive you.

Tide

iOS, Android; free, with in-app purchases

Tide plays soothing music for whatever you’re up to; waking up, taking a nap, full-on focus, creativity – whatever. The cabling of atmospheric tunes to concentration is an old trick, and many people swear by it. The rhythmic harmony tide provides could be the productivity plus you’re yearning for.

SwiftKey

iOS, Android, Windows Phone; free, with in-app purchases

SwiftKey is a smartphone keyboard that promises to learn your writing habits. It’s eerily good at guessing what you’re about to type. If you’re tired of how much time it takes to fix every tiny mistake on irritating smartphone screens, it's the app for you. It’s a big productivity booster for when you have no choice but to work on your phone.

Otter

iOS, Android; free, with a premium option

Otter is a dictaphone app. It’s free for 600 minutes of recording a month, gives you searchable transcripts of recordings, and generates its own keywords. That’s obviously great for journalists and students, but can be for almost anyone. After all, the low-hanging fruit of productivity is actually knowing what you have to do.

How do you keep your productivity pumping? Share your secrets with us on Twitter or Facebook.

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Kristian Rusten

About Kristian Rusten

Kristian Rusten is an NGO worker living in Paris

View all posts by Kristian Rusten