Let’s face it… it’s not easy to get into the productivity groove. Oftentimes, we wait for the “right moment” to start working and getting things done, without consciously realizing that the “right moment” is actually right now.

The time we spend aimlessly scrolling through our Facebook timelines (or whatever site you personally fancy) could be better used actually getting things done and over-with. That’s certainly easier said than done. Good news, though: In this day and age, we have all sorts of digital goodies to help you get on track until your entire to-do list has been demolished. Here are 5 tools to stay focused.

tools to stay focused

1: Noizio– ($4.99 on the App Store)

Some people dismiss the power of background noise right off the bat as potentially distracting. But actually, tons of studies have found that most people actually work better when immersed in a constant sound. Complete silence can allow too much space for your mind to wander, and irregular noises provide irritating distractions. That’s why white-noise-esque background tracks are so helpful.

Not only do they keep your brain focused, but they also prove to be relaxing, depending on your personal sound choice. Noizio does just that. With a wide range of natural and location-specific sounds, you can transport yourself anywhere to work in peace–using a little imagination, of course.

[Note: Don’t wanna cough up $5? There are other options: https://coffitivity.com/ for if you dig coffee shop sounds, and http://www.rainymood.com/ for if you want to be a lil’ brooding while you work.]

2: StayFocusd– (Free for Chrome)

If you need something more akin to an iron fist to keep you from checking your dang social medias, StayFocusd might just be your saving grace. It’s like a self-imposed child lock for your internet, and you’re both your kid and your own parent all at once. This extension for Chrome allows you to block entire sites, subdomains, paths, and even in-page content for as long or short as you want. Plus, it’s free, and don’t we all love free stuff?

[Note: If you’re feeling nice and enjoy the extension, do consider donating to the creators, though!]

3. Ecosia– (Free)

If you think it’s hard to be productive now, just wait till the sea levels rise so high, we have to evolve gills to be able to do our work underwater. Or, maybe we’ll be marketing on Mars by that point, but hey, let’s try to avoid that first.

Ecosia is an extension that works almost exactly like Google by latching onto your search engine. For every search you make on Ecosia, they plant one tree in partnership with various tree planting projects. This might not be directly helping you be more productive, but with the amount of times we Google random stuff every day, we could at least be doing Earth a favor as well.

4. Written? Kitten!– (Free)

Sometimes you need to take drastic measures for positive reinforcement. And sometimes those drastic measures mean rewarding yourself with pictures of kittens for every 100-1,000 words you write, depending on how hardcore you think you are. While this site can only help with specific writing tasks instead of other tasks that don’t exactly involve word-dumping, Written?Kitten! is great for those times that you do need to write, and really, really do not want to.

Plus, if you are a not a fan of kittens (and a cold-hearted beast), you can have it deliver you pictures of puppies or bunnies, instead.

5. TeamViz– (Free)

TeamViz is the all-in-one super-duper combo pack program for all your organization and time-management needs. It says it’s good for teams on the site, but if you want to use it solo, you can do that, too. It works like a timer and allows you to attack your task list one task at a time. Work 25 minutes, and you get a 5 minute break. In general, that’s the pattern proven to be most productive and useful when working in long stretches. They do suggest you use your 5 minute break wisely, though–if you’re using StayFocusd to keep your social medias at bay, don’t give in to temptation and turn them back on!

We hope you use these tools to stay focused and get your to-do list done this week!


Also published on Medium.