Shhh! Just listen? Do you hear that? The birds… the wind…The rustling of leaves as the wind blows through them… the ocean waves hitting the shore…
When was the last time you were able to focus, and I mean really focus on a singular task? On your surroundings?
How often do you check your E-mails, Facebook, E-mail, texts, Facebook, more E-mail? Does your phone constantly buzz with updates?
According to a study done by LearnStuff.com, in the U.S., over 12.2 billion collective hours are being spent browsing on a social network every day. This is costing the U.S. economy around $650 billion per year based on each social media user costing a company roughly $4,452 per year. Further, distractions are not just affecting adults working at companies. The average college student is spending around 3 hours per day on social networks while spending only 2 hours per day studying.
When it comes to distractions, digital technology has completely permeated our lives and it makes it incredibly difficult to focus and get things done while also carving out quiet personal time. But we can use that technology in ways that would improve our health, well-being and help us focus.
Below are some of my favorite apps that help can help you stay calm, mentally focused and productive:
- Freedom is the amazing little app for Windows and Mac computers that locks you away from the ‘net for up to eight hours at a time. At the end of your time offline, Freedom allows you back on the internet. Freedom enforces freedom; you’ll need to reboot if you want to get back online while Freedom’s running. The hassle of rebooting means you’re less likely to cheat, letting you focus on work.
- Anti-Social is an incredibly simple and effective productivity tool, used by hundreds of thousands of people worldwide to enhance their productivity. Anti-Social does one thing: it locks your computer away from social sites. When Anti-Social is running, the only way to get around the block is to reboot your computer. Let’s face it, our friends are distracting. The endless streams of Facebook posts and Tweets compete for our attention, robbing us of productivity. Being productive is essential for your work, your bottom line, and your self-esteem. With Anti-Social, you’ll be amazed how much you get done when you turn off your friends.
- Focus Booster uses the Pomodoro Technique, a time management method created by Francesco Cirillo. The technique dissects work into 25-minute sections known as “pomodoros” that are separated by 5-minute breaks. Focus Booster uses that as its base, but serves up some user-specific flexibility. You can alter the work blocks to a length more to your liking (as well as the break times), activate a ticker that sounds as time passes, and set alarms to alert you when you’re at the end of a work. Clicking the start button begins the countdown and should you activate the ticking sound effect, you’ll hear that, too. Focus Booster also fills its thin, black, rectangular body with a colored bar that serves as a visual representation of how much time has passed. The bar starts as green, but turns golden yellow as the time limit draws near.
There is no shortage of apps that can help you reduce the distractions around you and focus on the task at hand. Find the app that helps your concentration and stick with it