Five Focus Tools
I talk a lot about productivity and time blocking, and focusing on work for periods of time alternating with periods of rest/play. But other than a basic timer, what are some focus tools you can use to do this more effectively? Because you had good intentions of staying off TikTok, but then your kid sent you a video and…
Here are some of my favorite tools. I’ve used all but two of these, but they have some great features I think you should consider, depending on just how much you’re distracted when you should be writing.
My very favorite, first thing I think of, go to app is Forest. It’s an app on your phone or a Chrome extension. If you focus, working for 25 minutes (or longer), then you plant a virtual tree! And after so many virtual trees, the app will donate to plant a real tree. Over the years, I’ve planted many a tree. If you try to navigate out of focus mode, then it will gently remind you that you’ve not finished planting your tree. The only problem I have with this app is that I have to remember to start a planting.
My second major go to tool is Brain.FM. This website will play music specifically engineered to help your brain sink into a workflow and naturally tune out distractions. The free version will allow up to an hour and a half every day, which is very useful when I’m getting close to a deadline. This, combined with Forest is where my most productive work occurs.
What I love best about Mindful Browsing is that it’ll allow me to go into my social media accounts to work…but then it won’t let me stay there hanging out forever. It reminds me that I’m spending less time in social media and more on work. It also has reminders for various types of self-care, which I needed a lot when I first started training myself to be mindful.
I have not tried Engross. But of all of the various focus tools and apps available everywhere, this one seems the most multi-functional. It’s got time blocking. It’s got a Pomodoro timer. It’s got background music or white noise. It’s got site/app blocking. But it’s also got repeating tasks and reminders, so you that you easily get into the habit of focusing. I think if I ever give up my Forest/Brain.FM combo, it’ll be for this.
This app is for those who have literally no self control. Once you set a time and your list of sites to block and start the timer, you HAVE to work. It will not let you open anything on your blocklist until that timer has ended. Even if you turn your computer off and back on. I’d highly recommend this for those who manage to frequently fool yourself that you’ll focus, but then you… cheat. Just a little! The only downside of this app is that it is for Mac computers only. I’m sorry PC people. Oh, and it’s not for phones, either. But this one is certainly the best at FORCING you to keep your word.
There are, of course, many more focus apps available that do one or some of these things. And some are better about cross-device-focus sessions. But these five are certainly my favorites and the ones I’d recommend.
Owner, Adriel Wiggins Author Services and Consulting
Hello! I’m Adriel Wiggins, wife, mother of three, bibliophile, art geek, and all around student. I’ve been on a quest all of my life to learn as much as I possibly can about everything I possibly can. This has helped me tremendously in what eventually became my life’s purpose: to help other people become the best version of themselves. It is in that line that I became an assistant.
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