We actively seek out distractions. Be honest. Are you guilty of doing any of these things?
- Watching TV while playing Candy Crush
- Scrolling through social media while eating dinner
- “Working” while your favorite show is on TV playing in the background
We have trained our brains not to focus on the task at hand. Ironically we also want to hack our productivity to be more efficient while ignoring the single action that will result in a huge productivity boost. This is the downside of being taught to multitask. We think we can split our attention between multiple things and do them efficiently. Guess what?! We can’t. Multitasking is a huge productivity killer.
Besides multitasking, there are so many other distractions killing our productivity. These six apps/ websites are my little productivity hacks that allow me to focus on my work.
1. Pomodoro Technique + App
I’m a huge fan of the Pomodoro technique. Not familiar with it? The basic premise is that you set a timer for 25 minutes and work uninterrupted on a single task. After the timer buzzes, you get a 5-minute break. It’s simple and straightforward. This is the best way that I have found to maximize my productive hours. There’s no need to go out and buy a timer because there are tons of free Pomodoro apps.
Check out: To Mighty, Tomato Timer, Simple Pomodoro
2. Self Control
I spend quite a bit of my day staring at my computer and the urge to hop on to social media or other distracting sites can be overwhelming. The Self Control app eliminates that urge by blocking access to certain sites. Twitter, Instagram, and Yahoo front page stay blocked on my computer when I’m working. The app allows you to blacklist distracting site for a set period of time.
PC users check out: Freedom
3. Inbox Pause
If you’re guilty of constantly checking your inbox or you need to work through your current email without being distracted by new incoming messages, then Inbox Pause is perfect for you. This is app does exactly what it says. It installs a pause button inside of Gmail that will conveniently let you pause and unpause your inbox.
4. Kill The News feed
Facebook is a gift and a curse. On one hand, you can connect with family and long lost friends, but the downside of Facebook is the compulsion to scroll endlessly through the newsfeed. Honestly, do you need to like every meme from your crazy cousin? Kill The News Feed puts and end to that by blocking your access to the news feed. I guarantee that installing this browser extension will reduce your Facebook scroll time by more than half. Facebook isn’t fun without videos of cute animals.
5. Focus At Will
I know it can be difficult to work in complete silence and that’s where Focus At Will comes to the rescue. Focus At Will is an app and website that streams music to boost your concentration. I love it because I can choose a station and then zone out to the music. This is helpful because I get tired of listening to the same playlists repeatedly. It also has a built-in timer so you can utilize the Pomodoro technique along with it.
Check out: Tide, Forest App
6. Rescue Time
Rescue Time is a browser extension that runs in the background and tracks how you spend time online. The browser button lets you categorize sites and note if they’re productive or not. At the end of the day, it shows a breakdown of the sites that you visited during the day and how long you spent on each.
All of these apps are great at eliminating distractions, but the simplest way to increase your productivity is to improve your focus. Unfortunately, simple doesn’t mean easy. We have a focus problem. Being productive means being efficient and efficiency is directly related to our ability to focus.
Do you have a favorite productivity app? Let me know in the comments.