Need help concentrating while you work from home or tackle an organization project? Check out these 5 free and cheap focus apps that will keep you on track.
These days, there's an app for everything from practicing mindfulness to monitoring screen time. And if you're struggling to stay focused, there's an app for that, too!
Maybe you've started working from home and are struggling to stay focused in your new office (aka, your dining room). Or, maybe you've been avoiding sending thank-you notes for your kiddo's birthday party since you just can't seem to sit down and get them done.
Luckily, there are a ton of focus apps on the market - and many of them are free or super affordable. Whether you're someone who needs background noise or you just need a productivity nudge every once in a while, here, find the focus app that's right for you.
If you're looking for a focus app that will track how you spend your time (automatically!) and block distracting websites, RescueTime is for you. This app will also generate reports to help you continue improving your productivity, and will find where you're wasting time and help you set goals. It's available on iOS and Android - start with a free trial, then subscribe for $9 per month if it's working for you.
It turns out that increased focus is good for more than just your productivity - with Forest, it's good for the environment. This focus app uses the Pomodoro technique, which centers around 25-minute bursts of activity. So, with Forest, you open the app, put your phone down, and leave it untouched for 25 minutes. If you're successful, your tree will live... and you'll have gained nearly half an hour of phone-free focus time. The paid version of the app, which starts at a $1.99 flat fee, partners with Trees for the Future - an organization dedicated to planting trees and ending hunger. Or, you can use it for free as a Chrome extension and grow a virtual forest.
Searching for a focus app that's based on setting goals? Download Serene, a macOS app that helps you plan your time based on your daily goals. You'll choose the websites and apps you want to block so you can focus, and you can set a timer to shield yourself from distractions. Whenever you try to check one of your blocked websites (Facebook, anyone?), you'll get a reminder of those daily goals... and hopefully, get back on track. A free trial is available, and then it's $4 per month.
If you're looking for a way to completely block websites and apps, Freedom is one of the strictest focus apps. You can't turn it off if you change your mind, so you truly won't have any opportunities for distractions. You can also use Freedom to schedule to block certain sites and apps ahead of time - trust us, future you will thank you (even if you're a little upset at first). Bonus tip: Pay for a full year upfront for a rate of $2.42 per month (otherwise it's $6.99 month to month!).
If you're someone who needs background noise while they work, check out Noisli. This focus app lets you mix and match different sounds to create a personalized blend of background noise, whether that means static noise or nature sounds. You can use this focus app on desktop or mobile, and the free version comes with an hour and a half of streaming every day.
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