It’s no surprise that staying focused is a task. The internet doesn’t make it any easier along with the constant head numbing buzz of our cell phones and the notifications that can pop up at any moment. It’s hard to stay on point and get what we need to do done.
For someone who does so much of their writing and blogging with everything at the tips of their fingers, getting these blog posts out can sometimes feel like a battle with Tumblr and Instagram.
But with every cloud, there is a silver lining and there are a ton of people in the same boat as you and I. Some of those people are even app designers! It’s like having a friend who does graphics or works at the airport. They put out tons of things that can help us stay focused and keep us from getting sucked into the black hole of the internet. Here are a few of my favorites that really help me get things done.
Coffitivity: personally as a Barista and a manager at a coffee shop, I do not find the noises of Cafe’s ambient or remotely pleasant. However Ambient sounds do help people focus and thats what these are about. Coffitivity offers a variety of different kinds of cafes to pick from so that you have a plethora of different sounds to chose from.
Head Space: Again with the headspace, I know but in the singles section there are a good deal of little mini exercises that are designed in three to ten-minute shorts to help you do everything from taking a break to really get those juices flowing with a creative writing exercise.
Paper: I love doing my first pass at something in this app. It is a no-frills writing platform with no menus and nothing that will make you slip up. No, it’s just you doing your first draft without a worry about formatting or font. Pop it up, expand it to fill up the whole screen and nothing will distract you. At least nothing on your computer.
Forest: I found this years ago for national novel writing month and have been using it ever since. This little buddy will start on your phone and have you running for a set amount of time. When you turn it on, you pick what apps are allowed to come through when the clock is on so nothing is going to pop up on your phone to distract you.
Google Keep: Another addition to googles constantly growing suite of apps that you can install on chrome is this note taking and task making app. Of course, through google, it expands through all of your devices including Andriod and IOS so that your notes are always at hand. It is reminiscent of Trello in some ways but is much simpler. When it comes to this section of apps I prefer it that way though. If I’m busy fiddling with new apps, I’m not exactly being productive after all.
Scan Bot: Taking pictures of things, papers, receipts and documents on your phone? This is better than that. ScanBot is the best mini scanner I have every used and will automatically share your scans wherever you need them to go. That way you can crop documents and send them looking like actual scans and not weird photo attatchments.
RescueTime: Rescue time is one of those creepy but helpful apps that always runs in the background of your computer. It has a database of websites that categorize them (Word vs Social Media). One of the killers in being productive is dead time. Rescue can help you understand just what you are spending your time on and where you can stay away from so the internet monster doesn’t suck you in. Like Focus on your phone, it also has a blocking feature so that you can create an environment that is more conducive to actually being productive.
Last Pass: Oh the amount of time I have spent typing in variations of the same passwords trying to figure out which one I used for which site. The last pass saves all of your passwords for you in one easy, convenient and secure place.
Grammarly: So I have talked about why I love Paper and that is because I don’t get the editing bug. But it is not the same for emails and whatnot. There is nothing more gut-punching then being a writer and typing the wrong word or putting a comma where it doesn’t belong and noticing it a second too late. Grammarly helps with that. It is spell check and grammar check for everything. And honestly, I think that it is far more accurate then Word.
Of course, all of these websites and tools are great but I also want to point out that you can turn your wifi off. Sometimes when you are trying to get something done, that is the best thing that you can do for yourself. It sounds so foreign to us but if you don’t need the internet for your work, sometimes it is more then productive, it’s straight up cathartic to unplug yourself.
While I love things like Trello and Mindmap, there is something so much more efficient for me to make a to-do list in my bullet journal and just be done with it.