14 tools to help you focus

Self-improvement is the word of the day

Being able to focus comes naturally for some people. But we are not all alike. Unlike others, you may find yourself unable to maintain your attention longer than a 6-year old child. And that is frustrating, especially when your job depends on it. Whether you are a day job worker, or a freelancer, the ability to focus is the most important asset you have.

And that is much more obvious when you are a freelancer, working online. It is only then when you realize the importance of maintaining your focus for longer periods of time. Because, with internet, you have a lot of distractions to deal with. Lucky you, there are several tools you can use to help you get rid of that problem.

Even though they are online applications, they work perfectly even if you are not an online operating freelancer. And we have 14 of the best of them right here:

  1. Cold Turkey

This application is quite effective in keeping you sharp and focused. Whether you want it or not. It comes with several options in hand, including a Schedule, a Timer and a Block List. The Block List feature is interesting, because it can be used to block specific websites and applications, in case you have little to no control over yourself.

Also, we have to mention the Frozen Turkey option, which blocks your PC altogether, in case it distracts you from whatever it is your job consists of.

  1. Focus booster

The name is pretty suggestive. Focus Booster is great in tracking your work time, which makes it an invaluable addition for any freelancer whose main purpose is recording his working hours.

Not only that this is a great resource for your employees to keep track of your productivity, but it will also help you become more time-effective on the long run.

  1. Trello

As complex as this tool is, it is its simplicity that will win you over. In essence, Trello has been developed to assist and support teamwork. Needless to say, it has evolved over time and it now features a ton of tools you can use to focus on your tasks and improve productivity altogether.

These include File Management, which connects to Dropbox, CloudApp, Google Drive, OneDrive and other platforms, constantly updating your file database, features like Deadlines and Calendar and Charts recording your progress and pinching you when goals are being reached.

  1. Anti-Social

Another distraction-killing tool. It doesn’t block the entire internet, but it does block everything that relates to social platforms or any other types of online distractions. This includes Youtube, Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, Flickr and so on.

What is interesting is that you can’t just turn it off using a simple click or an on-off switch. For that you happen, you need to reboot your PC.

  1. StayFocusd

This is an extension for Google Chrome users and it works by allowing you to set a specific timeframe within which you can use the internet for distraction. What this means is that you have a feature that permits you to set a specific period of time for using time-wasting websites.

Whether we are talking about Facebook, Twitter, Netflix or anything similar, you can use StayFocusd to whitelist them for only an hour a day, for instance. You will only be able to use them for 1 hour every day, after which the fun is over and you need to get back to business.

  1. RescueTime

This one is pretty popular, because it is effective and easy to use. It is, in essence, your ultimate version of a personal Big Brother. What this app does is to run in the background and relentlessly record your browsing history for 24/7 straight.

Then you can set it to deliver weekly reports on your activity, complete with a productivity score and everything. If you were looking for an app breaking down your daily activity and tell you how you spend the time, this is your best choice.

Not only it will tell you how you waste your time, but will also show you how much time you are wasting, how productive you have been over a specific period, which were the most productive days and which were the worst and so on. All this data will help you self-improve by a great deal.

  1. Time-out

Here is one application that doesn’t block anything and doesn’t force you what to do. This one is way friendlier, which is probably why it has so much success. Just like RescueTime, Time-Out runs in the background and it does one simple thing – it allows you to set time intervals when the app is supposed to let you know you need a break.

It is quite effective because, in the midst of hard-working, we usually forget the usefulness of a 10-minute break now and then. This app is perfect for that particular purpose.

  1. Evernote

One of the most popular freelancing apps, Evernote is one of the key tools to maintain your focus at high rates, while supporting team work and productivity at the same time.

Features like MindJet translating your ideas into mind-maps to allow you to better visualize them or the To-do list, constantly reminding you of your priorities, will definitely keep you wired around the clock.

  1. Any.do

This app combines technology with efficiency and comes with a great deal of useful features. If you have problems maintaining your focus, which, in return, will affect your productivity, any.do is what you need.

Here you have the chance to view your goals divided into specific categories and specific dates, constantly keeping you on your toes and forcing you to get the job going.

What is more important is that the free version isn’t too different than the paid one and comes with most of the features you need to get the job done.

  1. Slack

Essentially designed as a team app, Slack does a great job in stratifying your tasks so that becoming organized in everything you do will become as a second nature to you.

Slack is, at its core, a communication tool, allowing you to trade information with your coworkers or clients, but it also comes with several alerts and lists you can use to organize your work more efficiently.

  1. Buffer

Buffer is, by all definitions, an analytic tool, allowing you to understand how your goals are impacted by your work. Its social features are also interesting to mention, because they can be used to keep track of your online activity and take measures accordingly.

  1. Flipboard

This is basically a news reader that works great in putting together all the information you need in a well-organized library. You can select the publications you are interested in, and follow them for future notifications, if you want to keep your focus active on specific topics.

What you will definitely like is the fact that Flipboard analyzes your predilections and starts suggesting similar topics that may follow the same line.

  1. Lastpass 4.0 premium

Keeping your passwords safe and constantly refreshed is the key to a solid sense of security. In this regard, Lastpass 4.0 premium is the exact tool you need. Lose focus one time and your password might be at risk.

This is where this app comes in, which will generate strong passwords for you automatically. Lastpass 4.0 premium also fills web forms in your behalf, using the information you have set in advance and will regularly update your passwords for 80 websites of your choice.

  1. IFTTT

Considered by some one of the most effective productivity apps, IFTTT is definitely on the right track. It automatically connects you to other internet-connected apps and devices in case you need a surplus of information.

IFTTT is extremely easy to use and it ranks high among some of the best focus-booster tools you can get.

A higher productivity is the warrant for success

If you have already adopted every strategy in the book to increase your productivity during work hours, you can now go one step further and resort to professional tools too. They are great in providing you with the support you need and all you have to do is to look for the one that fits your purposes.

Whether it is a time-tracker, a friendly reminder or a Big Brother type of app, there is a personalized option for everyone. If you are aiming to become more productive by the day and increase your focus considerably, this is what you need.