Raise your hand if you’ve embraced the concept of working remotely. Now, keep it raised if you’ve also discovered that it became increasingly difficult for you to focus on your work!
In an office environment, it is much easier to stick to your daily work tasks. In the end, it’s a workplace. You’re surrounded by others who are working, your boss is there, and the number of distractions is significantly lower. But if you’re in a cafe, or at home, your focus can be all over the place! Did you suddenly remember to post this one cool photo on your social media? Do you need a 4th refill of your coffee? Are you constantly asking yourself if it’s time to start cooking lunch? Is the conversation of people sitting at the nearby table entertaining? Those are just a few things that can keep you from completing your work in a timely manner.
But fear not, there are ways to help you get back on track. Technology comes to the rescue with its countless apps aimed at making you stick to your schedule.
Below are a few of my favorite ones!
QualityTime – My Digital Diet
I think you’ve guessed what this app is about! I strongly believe that before you start fighting your digital distractions, you should fully realize what those distractions are. QualityTime is an app that will break it down for you. It will show you which apps you’re using the most (hello, Candy Crush!), and how bad is your addiction (it’s baaaad!). 🙂 The app also allows you to set usage limits and receive personalized alerts. Once you’re fully aware of your smartphone habits, you can decide what is the best way for you to keep them in check.
I love this app, but to be honest, I’m still at the “monitoring phase”, trying to guilt myself into changing my digital habits!
Fabulous: Daily Routine Planner
Fabulous is like a habit tracker on steroids! It allows you to build routines, motivates you to achieve your goals, and helps you improve your mental health. It also offers tailor-made workout plans and advice in the form of voice recordings from your own personal life coach. On top of that, the interface is really pleasing to the eye. This app means business and will be your one-stop shop for establishing a perfect daily routine. To be perfectly honest, I was a bit overwhelmed in the beginning by all the functions, options and reminders, but quickly managed to get it under control!
You will have to pay to unlock the full potential of this app, but I can tell you that it’s worth it, especially if you’re thinking about changing your daily habits or building new ones.
Unlike Fabulous, Pomodoro Timer is a very simple app. But it delivers! This is a classic productivity app that helps you bring structure to your workflow, using a time blocking technique called “Pomodoro”. The idea behind the technique is to define a block of time during which you want to focus on a particular task, start the timer, and work. 🙂 You will also schedule breaks between the time blocks (regular breaks & long breaks), and then repeat the cycle. The app also allows you to set daily goals. Of course, you will be able to customize blocks / breaks to fit your personal schedule.
One great thing about the Pomodoro Timer app is that it’s able to work offline, so you won’t need an internet connection all the time to be able to use it.
Forest: Stay focused
Forest is an app that also uses time blocks as a base for getting your work done. However, it does it in an amazingly creative way! Each time you need to stay focused, you plant a virtual tree. The tree will only grow if you finish your task without getting distracted (distraction = leaving the app to do other stuff on your mobile ;)). This idea is so cool – you end up with a forest with each tree representing your efforts!
And the best part of it is that your digital trees actually help to plant REAL trees! Forest app is affiliated with the Trees for the Future international organization! When you plant – they plant. 🙂
Have you ever thought about using certain sounds and melodies to stay focused? Tide will help you do just that. This app has a vast library of various sounds which are versatile enough to use not only to focus, but also to relax, meditate, sleep better and… be happier (at least that’s what they claim ;)). Even if you don’t find it useful for your work, you can still use the white noise option to help your baby sleep. 😉
As much as I’m trying to stay away from technology (laptop excluded!) while I work, those apps really make my life easier. A small disclaimer: I don’t use them all in conjunction! 🙂 I switch things up depending on what I need and my general productivity on a certain day. There are days when the Pomodoro technique is enough, and there are other days when I have to add numerous other apps to make things work.