It can be hard to focus on professional responsibilities and deadlines when all you want to do is enjoy the warm weather. Fortunately, an ever-increasing number of apps are available to keep you in line. Whether you need to increase your attention span, create better work habits, organize your time or raise productivity, there’s an app for that.
Here are some of our favourites.
1. Train your brain2. Form a habit
Is staying on task sometimes a challenge? Join the club of 70 million Lumosity users across 182 countries that also suffer from periodic symptoms of attention deficit disorder. Founded in 2007, Lumosity now offers more than 50 cognitive games that strengthen your brain’s ability to stay on task, while also improving memory, cognitive speed and problem-solving skills. According to Lumosity, research has proven that regular gaming was more effective at strengthening the brain than regular crossword puzzling in a 10-week trial. Depending upon the type of subscription you purchase, prices range from $11.99 a month to $79.99 a year.
Maybe you’d like to get to work earlier, make more professional contacts or take a lunchtime walk every day. Or perhaps you’re ready to quit smoking, refrain from gossiping in the office and stop procrastinating. HabitBull helps you build good habits and break bad ones. HabitBull
helps you “build a ‘streak’ of successful days,” explain the app’s creators. As the theory goes, the longer your streak continues, the more likely you’ll be to stick to your good habits.
HabitBull tracks your progress using colorful graphs, sophisticated analytic tools and keeps you moving forward with motivational quotes, images and discussion forums. Writer, Nicole Nguyen
is especially fond of the app’s target date section where, “HabitBull kindly reminds you that it takes 66 days to form a habit. If you can complete the habit every day for three months, you’re golden.” And it’s free!
3. Change with a game
is a free app that’s a cross between a video game and a taskmaster — and like the best video games, it’s irresistible. As its creators explain, Habitica “‘gamifies’ your life by turning all your tasks (habits, dailies and to-dos) into little monsters you have to conquer. The better you are at this, the more you progress in the game. If you slip up in life, your character starts backsliding in the game.”
Habitica’s positive and negative reinforcement system keeps you motivated and increases your chances of sticking with your goals. You can play Habitica by yourself or make the game more social and competitive by enlisting your friends and office-mates to play along. It’s free to join and corporate plans are available for organizations interested in gamifying their professional development efforts.
4. Motivate your morning
Not a morning person? HabitClock
will change that. This app is a “mash-up between an alarm clock and a habit tracker,” says Daily Tekk
. HabitClock not only helps you to wake up on time, once it gets you out of bed, it starts timing you to see how fast you can complete your self-prescribed morning routine. Need suggestions of how to make your morning more productive or just curious about how others spend their mornings? HabitClock will show you what tasks are trending among other users. HabitClock is free, but is also available in a premium version for $1.99, offering additional statistical features to help chart your success.
5. Avoid multi-tasking
Multitasking isn’t actually a skill worth cultivating. Researchers at Stanford University
discovered that “multitasking is less productive than doing a single thing at a time.” What’s more, they found that “people who are regularly bombarded with several streams of electronic information cannot pay attention, recall information or switch from one job to another as well as those who complete one task at a time.”
Fortunately, an app for your Mac computer called Hey Focus
allows you to temporarily block some of the biggest distractions such as social media, notifications, and mail so that you can concentrate on your work for any amount of time you determine. It’s accessible from the menu bar of your desktop and easy to manage with a few clicks. The app offers a free trial with the ability to purchase a license for $19.99 after your trial ends.
Not only does meditation lower your stress level, studies
find that it also leads to higher productivity. According to Forbes
, “The advantages of implementing a mindfulness practice at work are significant, everything from improving productivity, to lowering stress and increasing focus and the risks are negligible.”
The Meditation Timer app
helps you find your own personal Zen by allowing you to set a meditation schedule and manage your meditation using helpful sounds to signal the beginning and end of your session. The app also maintains stats, including a log of your progress and frequency of meditation sessions. Meditation Timer is free and simple, just like meditation.