By: Rebecca Safier
Why do tomorrow what you could do the day after tomorrow?
Sadly, that mantra isn’t so helpful when you’ve got a work from home job. When you’re remote, it’s entirely up to you to structure your schedule and get stuff done.
You’ll be need to be self-directed and self-motivated, and you’ll need strategies for beating the procrastination monster that chase us all. Fortunately, there’s an app for everything these days, including beating procrastination.
Whether you need to cut yourself off from scrolling Facebook or disappearing down a rabbit hole of YouTube videos, check out these helpful anti-procrastination apps for eliminating distractions and staying on task.
25 anti-procrastination apps for work from home success
Social media and endless Reddit threads will steal your time no more with these “stop procrastinating” apps and websites! Here are 25 of the most useful available for iPhones, Androids, or on your web browser.
If you’re looking for a digital detox, AppDetox can help you stick to your guns. You set the rules for when you want to use apps and for how long, and AppDetox lets you know if you’re violating your rules or spending too much time on-screen but off-task.
You can download AppDetox for Android on Google Play.
BaTo.Life uses a simple concept to help you set boundaries on surfing the web. You open up the site in your browser and indicate how long you want to surf online. The time tracker will notify you when you time is up so you can get off Facebook and get back to work.
If you’re into negative reinforcement to break bad habits, Beeminder is here for you. With this tool, you can set any goal that’s quantifiable, such as spending a set number of minutes on Facebook. If you stick to your goal, Beeminder is free, but if you go off track, you’ll have to pay a fee. As the company says, this tool motivates by “reminding with a sting!”
How many times per day do you check your phone? According to some research, Americans check their phones every 12 minutes, or up to 80 times per day. Collectively, all that phone checking adds up to 8 billion views on a daily basis.
If you want to conquer your phone habit, the Checky app could help. It lets you know how often you’re looking at your phone, so you become aware of this often unconscious habit. By becoming more aware, you could take steps to cut down on all that screen time.
The Finish app describes itself as “the procrastinator’s to-do list.” You enter your tasks and due dates, and Finish organizes your work into timeframes. It will also send optional notifications when a deadline is approaching, as well as track how much time has elapsed on certain tasks.
Thanks to its smart auto-management of tasks and timeframes, Finish could be your secret weapon against procrastination. You can download it for iPhones here.
Focus is a Mac app designed to optimize your computer for working. With Focus, you can quickly block websites and apps that distract you from the task at hand. To minimize online distractions, check out Focus here.
7. Focus @ Will
Although Focus@Will isn’t one of the anti-procrastination apps that blocks distracting websites or organizes your to-do lists, it can help you focus with music optimized to get you into a flow state. According to the site, listening to the right kind of music for your personality can sharpens your focus and make you more productive. Focus@Will hooks you up with music channels that will help you get into deep concentration mode.
The Forest app gives users a visual incentive to stay focused on their work. When you want to focus, you open the app and plant a virtual tree. If you stay focused during this time, the tree will grow, but if you leave the app, the tree will die.
Over time, all your focused time could build a forest — and not just in the virtual world. Forest partners with a tree-planting organization, so when users earn virtual coins, it donates to its tree-planting partner in the real world.
If you’re looking for a tough love approach to beating procrastination, the Freedom app will give it to you. With Freedom, you can block an unlimited number of distracting websites or apps, as well as sync block settings across all your devices. You can even block the internet entirely if you need some offline time to work on a project.
You can install Freedom on Mac or Windows, or add an extension to Chrome, Firefox, or Opera.
Lanes is an all-in-one planner, calendar, journal, and time manager designed to help you manage tasks. Along with getting you organized, Lanes also tracks time so you can see if you’re staying on track. You can sign up for the free version or upgrade to Lanes Plus.
Mindly is a brainstorming tool for capturing your creative ideas and “organizing your inner universe.” You can create summaries of your ideas and plan projects. Download Mindly on iOs, Android, or Mac OS X.
Momentum is a Chrome extension that inspires you to be more productive. It helps you track tasks and set a daily intention, plus it show you an inspiration photo and quote each day to start your morning off right.
The Pomodoro technique of time management has you focus deeply on a task for 25 minutes followed by a break of five minutes. After three or four 25-minute sessions, you’ll take a longer break of 20 to 30 minutes to clear your head.
Pomodoro.cc makes it easy to follow this technique with its online timer. You’ll write in your task and get started, and Pomodoro will let you know when your 25 minutes are up.
14. Rescue Time
RescueTime helps you become more intentional and aware of your work style. It runs in the background while you work and later gives you detailed reports about your online activity. It reveal how much time you spend on certain apps and websites so you can take control of your internet habits.
15. Self Control
SelfControl is another blocking tool that lets you block your own access to time-sucking apps and websites. It’s available for Macs.
16. Simple Habit
While not directly a “stop procrastinating” app, Simple Habit provides meditations for five minutes per day to reduce stress and improve focus. By incorporating this simple habit of short meditations into your daily routine, you might find it easier to avoid distractions and get down to business. It’s available for iPhones and Androids.
Stickk is a “commitment platform” dedicated to helping you set and stick to your goals. You’ll sign a commitment contract for your goal, and can get support and accountability from the community of Stickk users. While other anti-procrastination apps help you get through you daily to-do lists, Stickk is more about making progress toward your big-picture goals.
18. Strict Workflow
Like Pomodoro.cc, Strict Workflow is a Pomodoro-technique based timer that keeps you on task for 25 minutes before reminding you to take a five-minute break. You can add Strict Workflow as an extension to Chrome.
19. Take a Five
Take a Five helps you get back to work after a break. You’ll set the timer for however long you want your break to be and open a tab. When your timer is up, Take a Five will automatically close your tab so you know your break is over.
20. Timewaster Timer
Like Beeminder, Timewaster Timer takes a punishment approach to modifying behavior — specifically, to reducing the amount of time you spend on Facebook. You put $5 into your Timewaster account, and the app charges you $1 every time you use Facebook for more than hour per day.
There’s no sweeter relief than the feeling of closing tons of tabs at once. If you’re prone to opening a million tabs and windows while you work, try Toby for organizing your browser tabs. Not only will it declutter your online space, but it also helps you quickly access any web pages when you need them.
Todoist helps you track all your tasks, organize them by priority, keep track of deadlines, and build good habits. This tool makes it easy to map out your projects for the week ahead and check off tasks as you go. Plus, it’s managed by Doist, which made my list of 26 companies that are 100% remote and offer excellent employee benefits.
Toggl offers easy-to-use time-tracking software so you can keep tabs on how much time you spend on certain tasks. You can label each task differently and look back over the week to evaluate whether you’re meeting your goals. Like Doist, the Toggl team works from anywhere; in fact, the company employs more than 65 people across 19 different time zones.
24. Tomato Timer
Tomato Timer is another Pomodoro-based time tracking tool to help you divide your work into 25-minute sessions and keep your breaks to five or 10 minutes. With Tomato Timer, it’s easy to go into settings to set custom times and audio reminders.
Wunderlist has all sorts of features for keeping track of your to-do list and managing multiple projects. Whether they’re work-related or not, you can make lists and track deadlines, as well as work collaboratively with colleagues. It makes it easy to organize your various obligations and goals all in one place.
Find productivity strategies that work for you
With all the distractions around us, it can be tough to stay focused on work. It can be especially tough to concentrate when you work from home and can mess around on the internet, binge-watch Netflix shows, or walk around your neighborhood whenever you want.
If you’re having trouble staying on track or prioritizing your to-do list, these anti-procrastination apps can be a big help, whether by blocking distracting websites, timing you with the Pomodoro method, or organizing your work in a coherent way.
They all use different approaches for implementing habits and changing behavior, so consider which would be most effective for you. By finding productivity strategies that work for you, you’ll be one step closer to finding work-from-life balance in your remote career.