Having your ‘office’ just a few steps from your couch might make it harder to keep you focused on work plus there are so many things that have the 100 % priority such as laundry, hoovering or finding out what the largest jaffa cake looks like. Right?
Good news, there are apps that will help you to concentrate better. Even better news, I already googled the jaffa cake for you, but I will come back to that later. I promise.
The average attention span of an adult is 14 minutes. We check our phone roughly every 10 minutes (for millennials it is even more often – 150 times a day) and to get back in the zone where you actually do something it takes 23 minutes.
If I am doing my maths correctly, we are in red numbers even now!
There are much advice and recommendations on how to improve your concentration. The most popular focus time-management technique is Pomodoro. With this technique, you break your focus time into shorter slots followed by breaks to re-energize your brain. Learn more about it.
To practice it, you ‘just’ need to be self-disciplined. I know,… easier to say than do. But there are ways to make it easier. Actually there are plenty of apps and below are the ones I’ve tried and they really worked.
Do not get distracted
The first step to enhance our concentration is to avoid distractions. So put your phone in the pocket, bag or even better, leave it in a different room. Or use one of these apps.
Leave the phone alone and grow trees. Even the real one.
You set up time how long you want to stay focused and while you are working, you watch a tree growing. If you would like to open another app, the tree will die.
For every tree, you are earning coins which you can spend either on new trees for your app or you can donate them to a company that plants real trees in Africa.
Download: Forest (Free, in-app purchases available)
Suitable: Android, iPhone, Chrome
If you can’t block all the apps and functions on your phone because you actually need them for the work you are doing, you can try Freedom.
This app will block websites and apps you choose on all your devices for the time you set it up.
Download: Freedom (Free trial, subscription required)
Suitable: Android, iPhone, Mac, Windows, Chrome
If you are looking for something more radical, go for Cold Turkey.
It doesn’t only forbid you to go to the blacklisted websites and apps, but you can set it up to block the whole computer – the frozen turkey. It is great especially for those who have a problem with switching it off and working late nights.
The tough part – once it is set up, you can’t do anything about it but wait until the timer rings.
Download: Cold Turkey (free with limitations; paid Pro account on all your computers)
Suitable: Mac, Windows
However our phones and internet are not the only distractions, it can also be noises from the street, kids playing in the other room or even complete silence can put you off.
These apps will help you calm your thoughts and get you focused. For the best results, put your headphones on.
This app combines a scientific approach and AI to create music that helps you focus, study and sleep.
It uses a system to reduce salience, allowing the music to sit in the background instead of trying to get your attention as most of the music does. You can notice the result in only 15 minutes.
Download: Brain.fm (first 5 sessions are for free)
Suitable: Android, iPhone, Web
This app is here to mask the noises you do not want to hear such as chatty colleagues or your tinnitus. The concept is simple, works extremely well, and doesn’t require expensive noise-cancelling headphones.
You can also find there some surprising lists such as Cafe or Irish Coast.
Download: White Noise (Free)
Suitable: Android, iPhone, Web
Spotify has some really good focusing lists too. You can choose from what suits you the best – nature noises, piano, soul etc.
Download: Spotify (Free, paid ad-free account)
Suitable: Android, iPhone, Web, Chrome, Windows, Mac