10 Online Tools for Better Attention & Focus

Online Tools for Better Focus
The studies from Matthew Killingsworth and Daniel Gilbert highlighted how our wandering minds erode our happiness by creating distractions.
The New York Times summarized the research by explaining that focus or concentration is extremely important even when we are having sex. If you are

Working online
Working online

unable to focus on what we are doing, we are unable to fully enjoy it. In fact, all activities like reading, writing, shopping and entertainment require us to be mentally present and focused on the particular activity to get the maximum out of it.

Social networking websites have strengthened the human potential by creating a very close-knit world community, but they have also distracted people during work. With billions of dollars lost each year due to distractions at work, a focused and efficient working environment has become very crucial for success in the 21st century. In this digital age, I am presenting ten best apps for preventing distractions at work and creating the most efficient working environment.  


1. Self-Control – Create a very efficient working environment by selectively blocking distracting websites

Social networking sites have almost revolutionized the way we connect with our community and engage with our friends and family, but they are also known for creating distractions during the working hours. Self-Control is a very useful application if you understand that these social networking sites are eating up your time that should be devoted to your business. The application allows you to block these distracting sites for certain periods to create a perfect working environment conducive to your business. You can selectively prevent or allow the respective sites rather than blocking the entire Internet. The browser won’t access the blocked during the focused period, irrespective of the browser restarts or computer reboots. For Mac platform only, Windows users can use Freedom for similar self-control.

2. TrackTime – Audit your time you spend with different applications to bring discipline and time management at work.

TrackTime is a very useful application for people who need some sort of attention audit to understand their application usage and bring desired changes to a more focused and performance-oriented time management. The application provides a complete picture of your online life by generating a timeline of your application usage like Firefox, email client and iTunes streaming. If you are frequently shifting between applications during your routine working hours or spending more time on distracting applications, there is a wake-up call for you to bring changes for a more efficient and focused time management. For Mac platform only

3. Concentrate – Optimize your performance with the right focus while shifting between tasks.

The routine tasks like writing, event planning and social media management require entirely different mindsets. While access to social networking sites is essential for Social Media Management, it can be very distracting when you are writing your project reports or paper. Concentrate allows you to optimize your working environment for different routine tasks so that you can focus on your work with full concentration. For example, writing environment is activated, the application automatically prevents access to social media networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, closes the Internet Browser and email clients, and activates away status on my messenger so that I can focus on my work without any distractions. The app also includes a very useful timer to help you stay focused. For Mac platform only

4. Notational Velocity – Stay Focused with centrally organized notes.

Sometimes, when we are unable to track our notes, we can be distracted to the point of oblivion. People like me haphazardly put their notes on some text files, pieces of paper and iPhone notes app while on move, and it becomes very difficult to synchronize these notes. Notational Velocity syncs with the Smartphone note apps like Simplenote or WriteRoom to create a very organized and searchable notes location on your desktop. If you ever have been desperate for your misplaced notes, you can understand how easier things can be when you are using Notational Velocity to centrally organize your notes. [Find more details about Notational Velocity] For Mac platform only

5. FocusBooster – Concentrate on a single task for 25 minutes to improve your efficiency.

The app utilizes the time management principles of the Pomodoro Technique to improve your efficiency by allowing you to focus on the task at hand for 25 minutes before giving the signal for a five-minute break. FocusBooster brings time-management features to your routine to-do list and acts like your performance coach. It’s the right application if you want to improve your efficiency by paying full concentration to finish the task within the time frame. FocusBooster keeps track of your time and signals an alarm for a break when you have exhausted your 25 minutes. For both Macs and Windows

6. Think – Improve your focus by working on a single application at a time.

This application is just like Spaces on the Mac to organize your windows and applications. Once you activate Think, it allows you to focus on a single application at a time by relegating everything else behind the opaque backdrop. Think provides you a neat and clean environment for focusing on a single task at a time. However, the application allows you to work with other applications as you can easily shift between your applications. The application works perfectly with FocusBooster. For Mac platform only

7. FocusWriter – Eliminate the distractions to focus on your writing.

If you are a writer, you will definitely love this application for its distraction-free environment. The application tucks away everything to present your typing screen on a gray background. So, all your menu items, including date, timer and docked items remain hidden until you exit the application. FocusWriter provides everything you need for a very satisfying writing experience. It not only includes word count, spell check and other features of a rich text editor, but also allows you to manage your daily writing goals in terms of writing time or word count. The keystroke sounds while typing really adds to its pristine appearance. For both Macs and Windows.

8. Anti-Social – Prevent the social networking sites from affecting your focus and productivity.

Full-scale Internet blocking may not be a practical solution in many circumstances when you actually need the Internet to retain your focus and productivity. Anti-Social provides the solution by selectively blocking the websites for the preset period of time rather than making you completely offline. You can use this application to block the websites like Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, Reddit, Digg, Hulu, Vimeo and other web email programs that are known to divert the focus and attention of people at work. The application is almost similar to Self-Control, but the list of known timesinks included with this application creates the difference. You can also add your preferred site to the off-limits website list. The application allows you to regain the control by just rebooting your system. For both Macs and Windows.

9. StayFocusd – Plan how much time you wish to spend in net surfing each day.

StayFocusd is a very useful browser extension for users who regret wasting their valuable time on social media websites and net surfing, but fail to effectively control their desire to remain connected with friends and community. Instead of taking a negative approach, the browser extension highlights the importance of a disciplined lifestyle and allows you to determine the number of hours or minutes you wish to spend during the day for updating your Netflix queues, responding your friend’s tweets and surfing the net. This application is like reliving your childhood days when you followed the discipline of watching TV for only two or three hours a day. If you like Firefox, you can use LeechBlock for the same functions. For both Macs and Windows.

10. Time Out – Take regular breaks to stay focused.

We all know that relaxation and short breaks are extremely important for keeping our energy levels high and performing tasks with better focus and concentration. Despite our agreement with the doctor about taking a few minutes break to prevent eye strains; we forget everything under the pressure of work or excitements of net surfing, and keep on staring the screen for hours like the zombies with no sense. Time Out is a very simple application that will remind you to take a break at your preset intervals. You can set a 5-10 minutes break at every 90 minute interval or just a minute micro break at your desired interval. The application runs in the background and simply fades in to remind you to have a short break. For Mac platform only.



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