Whether you’re trying to push through the last stretch of a big project, craft an important email while your unreads keep piling up, or simply finish a book that’s been on your nightstand for weeks, finding focus in the age of digital distraction is difficult.
But luckily, there’s an app for that. Actually, there are many apps for that. Here are 3 of our favorites to help you tune out distractions and sharpen your focus today.
The Focus Booster app is based the Pomodoro technique, which works like this: you work for 25 minutes without pause and then take a short break. After four “pomodoros,” you can take a longer break for 20 or 30 minutes. The technique rests on the idea that we’re more focused and productive if we break our workday into smaller, more manageable chunks of time instead of hunkering down without pause. Focus Booster makes doing the Pomodoro technique easy: it helps you schedule four blocks of work and prompts you to take a short break in between, and after every fourth work period, it prompts you to take a longer, 20-minute pause to stretch or go grab some water.
Sometimes we need help focusing on a specific task. Other times, we need help staying off social media or other websites. Self-Control is a Mac-based computer program that allows you to only visit pre-selected websites that you’ve marked as relevant for whatever task you’re currently working on. You can also block websites that normally distract you. Whichever approach you choose, once the program starts, you have to shut down your computer entirely to turn it off before the timer runs out, which is a good incentive to stay on task.
Brain.fm is a website that suggests music to help you with the task you’re trying to accomplish, whether it be focusing, meditating or sleeping. The website uses a combination of artificial intelligence and neuroscience to curate playlists designed to help you achieve your goal. (Research has shown how classical music, for example, can help boost your creativity by improving the kind of thinking that helps you create unexpected patterns and combinations.) Turning on the “focus” station in the workplace is a quick way to tune out distractions and tune into your new productivity-boosting soundtrack.