The key to hitting targets and achieving goals every day is to maximize your productivity, but there are so many distractions these days that this becomes increasingly hard to do. With so much coverage of events around the world each day and the constant drip-feed of content via social media interrupting our work, we all need a little help to stay focused and working on one task at a time.
We would all like to increase our productivity at work or elsewhere during the day, especially amidst all the modern distractions, and it is one puzzle many people have been trying to solve. There are now numerous solutions available in the form of mobile and desktop applications that help us stay focused. There are applications that act like a tracker to record the way we spend our time, app blocking apps to remove temptation even when we would like to be tempted, and specially created music that helps get the brain concentrating.
Which type of software will help you focus better will depend on your circumstances and the kind of distractions that affect you the most. That’s why a list such as this detailing ten of the best focus and concentration softwares available can give you a useful overview of what they can do, helping you get the right one to maximize your productivity.
10 Apps to Help You Stay Focused
These are our top picks for mobile and software apps that can help you concentrate, stay focused and be more productive:
The designers of Brain.fm take a scientific approach towards creating music that helps one focus. The app features music that can get your brain reacting differently to other music, purposefully designed to guide you into a mental state free of distractions. Collaborating with researchers at academic institutions, the Brain.fm scientists have conducted experiments to discover the effects of music frequencies and technology on the brain.
The result is this app providing access to patented functional music that elicits something called ‘strong neural phase locking’, which is science-talk for coordinating brain activity to get your concentration levels up when you need it most. Brain.fm is available for both iPhone and Android, and you can get the first five sessions for free.
Get RescueTime if you need an automatic time-tracking, distracting website and app blocker that will help you take control of your time. gives you the tools and data you need to reclaim your focus and become your most productive self. The downloadable software lets you see how you spend your time and then provides you with the ability to block the worst distractions.
RescueTime also has in-depth reports and tools to improve your productivity. The time tracker is automatic so no need for manual data entry of all the applications, websites and other software you use. The app will help you identify time sinks and set goals to achieve better focus. Available on iOS and Android, you can check how well it works for you if you get the free trial first.
Another application you might like that provides specially created music to increase your focus is the Focus@Will app. It features personalized focus music that promises to help you complete whatever tasks you have ahead of you, even on a day when you get stressed and are under pressure. Specialized music genres available on the app include Focus Spa, UpTempo, Alpha Chill and Baroque Piano, to name just a few that feature in the thousands of hours of unique tracks.
The music on the Focus@Will app has been created by platinum selling music producers and is supported by world-class neuroscientists, helping the app acquire over two million subscribers so far. There is a free trial available and it is compatible with iOS and Android, MacOS and Windows desktops, as well as Sonos devices.
With more than one million subscribers who like it, the Freedom website blocker app helps you reclaim your focus and increase your productivity. Use the app to block an unlimited amount of distracting website and time-wasting websites. You can even block the entire internet apart from the websites you need to access for your task.
The Freedom app also lets you sync block all your devices, and features a special ‘Locked Mode’ that prevents you from ending a blocked session when your willpower wavers, which it inevitably will at some point during the day. It is available for Mac and Windows desktops, Android and iOS, and the Chrome browser. There is a free trial as well.
The Flora app uses the pomodoro technique with a gamified aspect to add an extra incentive to your focus. It works by having you plant a virtual seed which then grows into a tree the longer you focus on the task at hand. If you break your focus by visiting another website or start browsing social media, then the plant dies. This gamified pomodoro technique app can be synced with friends or workmates in order to concentrate together.
The app is also a habit tracker and lets you create do-to lists every day, and features a special option to use the Flora Real service to plant real trees somewhere on earth to assist in cooling down the planet. It is available for iOS.
The desktop website blocker LeechBlock is a free and simple productivity tool for people who want to focus during the day but without too much fuss. It works as a web browser extension that will block time-wasting social media and other distracting websites. You input which sites to block and when to block them, and that’s it. LeechBlock lets you specify up to 30 groups of websites to block, and you can assign different times and days for each group. This lets you schedule the likes of news browsing and social media use for a specific period and duration, eliminating the possibility of wasting precious time scrolling and scrolling and scrolling…
The LeechBlock app is available for Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge and other Chromium-based browsers such as Brave, Opera and Vivaldi.
Todoist is a productivity and task management tool that lets you easily manage complex to-do lists, stay focussed, keep track of tasks during the day and remain on course to make sure everything gets done. The philosophy behind the design of the app is to free up your mental space so you can focus and regain clarity and calmness by organizing everything you need to do in the order you need to do it. It is especially useful if you tend to lose focus in the periods of time between tasks.
It costs a small subscription fee per month and is available for iOS, Android, Windows and Mac desktops, and Chrome, Safari and Firefox browsers.
Most of the entries on this list will be targeted at individuals, but there are also options that work for focusing a team effort. The Taskade app is one such team-orientated focus and productivity app that takes the to-do list format and visualizes it to aid with the tracking of progress for team tasks and projects.
Taskade helps remote teams organize and complete tasks on time by increasing team productivity with workflow automation and real-time collaboration, including a video chat option. It is available for iOS and Android devices as well as Windows and Mac desktops.
The Pocket app is a bookmarking tool that lets you save web pages for reading later. It aims to increase your productivity by enabling you to put off reading website pages that are irrelevant to your current task, without you missing out on them when you have time after your tasks are complete or you take a five minute break.
It is a very simple concept, but very useful for people who regularly encounter interesting articles that distract them from their current task. It is also completely free, so its simplicity is more than acceptable, and it is compatible with iOS and Android, Windows and Mac desktops, and most browsers.
One of the biggest distractions we face in our daily adventures is the dreaded inbox, and the designers of the Spark app have an excellent solution. The app is an intelligent email client that stops your inbox from impacting on your productivity. It features a Smart Inbox which automatically categorizes your emails from every account assigned to it. This then lets you filter out unimportant emails and prioritize important emails.
Another nice feature is the ability to schedule emails, so you can assign a block of time to writing all the emails you need to write, then schedule them to be sent at the ideal time. There is a free version of the Spark app, as well as a premium version with a monthly fee. It is available for both iOS and Android, though only on Mac desktops.
Frequently Asked Questions
People often have questions about how software or tools can improve your focus. We’ve collected a few of the most common questions.
How Do Focus Apps Work?
Focus software and tools work in several ways. These ways include:
- Time-based apps: This kind uses timers to keep you concentrating for a period of time and stop you taking a longer break from work than necessary….
- Blocker apps: Blockers work on the principle of temporarily blocking distracting websites such as social media websites that are not working to improve your productivity.
- Music apps: Focus apps that play music that is relaxing or otherwise keeps you focused on working…
- Clean screen apps: These are options that force you to look only at the task at hand, such as writing or whatever you are working on. You cannot do anything else….
Before deciding which type of app is best suitable for you, you will need to determine what kind of distractions are causing you the most difficulty. Clearly if you find yourself spending a significant amount of time through Facebook or Twitter or reading the day’s news for longer than necessary, then a blocker app or clean screen app will enable you focus. If it is random thoughts and life in general that causes you to lose focus, then the music software should be a great benefit to your productivity. Time-based apps are excellent for intensifying your focus for short periods of time.
How Much do Focus Apps Cost?
Many focus apps are completely free, though these are likely to be the more simplistic ones. The more complex apps usually have fees of between $5 and $10 per month, though there are some that offer annual subscriptions that range between $100 and $150 per year.
Is There a Big Learning Curve for Focus Apps?
Focus apps and app blockers are generally easy to use, as long as you know how to work the device you are using it on. It is in the app developers’ interests to ensure the user experience is not a distraction in itself, so most focus apps are intuitive and feature clear and easy to follow instructions.
As so many of these apps are available with free trials, it is no expense at all to give as many of them a try as you can. When you find the one that helps you maintain your focus, the monthly fees are quite affordable, especially if they are genuinely helping you maximize your productivity and they reduce the amount of time you waste. So get the ones that appeal to you and give them a try, and start your journey to becoming a prolific goal getter.