Some days, no matter how hard you try, it just isn't easy to stay focused on work. Your mind may skip from responsibilities you have to take care of to global issues and news you can't affect. Regardless of the worries on your mind, you still have to do your work and ensure you don't lose track of your projects, or worse, delay collaborative work and leave your team members waiting for you.
On days like this, it's best to depend less on willpower and more on a solid kit of focus tools that can help you get back on track quickly and regain productivity to complete the most important tasks on your plate.
This article shares six valuable and proven focus tools you need in your toolkit to help you get into the zone and get things done, even when things are up in the air. The tools listed below will help you:
- Track time for increasing self-knowledge
- Enhance mental clarity and get into a flow state
- Meditate and get back to the present moment
- Keep track of all ongoing projects
- Block distracting websites and apps
- Work in short bursts to make progress with your work
Why Should I Use Focus Tools?
Let's first define focus tools. What are they, and how can they help you?
Focus tools help you improve your attention and concentration on a task. They help you create mental space — especially when you feel frazzled, overwhelmed, or tired — and get your mind back to the task at hand.
In addition to helping you concentrate and sustain mental effort, focus tools also help you do the following.
Create a Dependable Approach to Tackling Deep Work
Focus tools help you create an environment for getting into a flow state and doing deep work. Instead of relying on your willpower or self-control and forcing your mind to work when it just isn't, you can use focus tools to set the stage and begin your work gradually. This provides a significant advantage for modern workers and professionals whose daily tasks require creativity, originality, and clarity.
Increase Self-Belief and a Positive State of Mind
Focus tools help you stick with your plans and make better use of your productive time. This, in turn, affects your mental state in a positive way. The more you get things done, the more you believe in your ability to get things done and actually want to get things done. You gain more momentum with your work tasks and believe in your ability to produce, helping you become mentally stronger instead of slipping into despair.
Help You Achieve Desired Results
Focus tools encourage single-tasking, which improves efficiency and output and makes it easy to achieve desired results. It's like having a reliable backup plan. When you find yourself struggling with getting into a productive state of mind, select tools from your focus tool kit and begin building gradual momentum toward your desired results.
6 Focus Tools for Better Productivity at Work
Now that you know the benefits of using focus tools, here are our six carefully chosen tools to help you improve your focus at work.
1. Track Time With Rize
Rize is a smart time-tracking app that helps you track time at work and gather an accurate picture of how productive or focused you are in a day. Tracking your time is a great foundation for improving your focus. When you know where your time goes, you're able to plan and schedule tasks in an optimal way, considering your peak productive and lagging hours.
Plus, Rize doesn’t add another to-do item to your list. It handles all time-tracking automatically, so you can go about your workday and let the app work for you.
In addition to time-tracking, Rize helps you improve focus by:
- Identifying your distractions: Rize shows websites and apps that interrupt your productive time and take you away from your work.
- Compiling daily and weekly reports: Rize sends reports to help you analyze your work habits and better predict how long it takes to complete specific tasks.
- Protecting your mental and physical health: Rize does this by notifying you when you have been working too long and reminding you to take regular breaks.
2. Get Your Brain in the Zone With Brain.fm
Brain.fm is a science-backed music app. The app develops and curates focus-inducing music to help you get into a productive state whenever you need to.
Brain.fm sounds are generated by artificial intelligence and developed so that every bit you hear contributes to improving your focus. The app is best used with headphones to get the most out of the Brain.fm sounds. Try using Brain.fm as your background noise to increase your focus and get into a flow state.
3. Return to the Present With Headspace
Headspace is a mindful meditation app that helps you reduce mental stress and clutter and get you back to the present moment. The app offers meditation courses and single-guided meditation programs. Apart from guided meditations and courses, you can also choose from a variety of focus and breathing exercises to help you focus better at work.
Even when you are away from work, Headspace remains helpful. There are meditation sessions for better sleep, improving patience, practicing gratitude, and many other purposes. You can begin with short sessions taking only three minutes a day to help you feel refreshed and become more focused.
4. Easily Manage Projects With Trello
Planning and organizing your work can help you gain more clarity and focus on the work you have to do. There are many apps and approaches that help you manage projects. But Trello offers one of the most intuitive interfaces, making it easy for you to manage your projects without investing too much time in the act of project management itself.
Trello is a Kanban board project management app for anyone, regardless of tech-savviness, to plan and schedule tasks, lay out workflows, and collaborate with team members. When you have a lot on your mind or a lot of to-dos pending, organize your tasks in Trello to help you declutter your mind and regain clarity, so you can focus on the most important tasks for the day.
5. Block Distracting Websites and Apps With Freedom
When it comes to improving focus, it is crucial to limit as many outside distractions as possible. Freedom is one of the most popular app and website blockers. It helps you restrict distractions and notifications from specific apps and websites for a set amount of time.
For example, if you usually procrastinate by scrolling through Facebook, YouTube, or even work Slack messages, you can set up blocks to limit your access to these sites and apps. Freedom syncs your blocks on all your devices and helps you stay focused on the important things. The app is available for Mac, Windows, Android, iOS, and Chrome users.
6. Pace Yourself With a Distraction-Free Alarm Clock
All smartphones come with an alarm clock built-in. You can use this or download a full-featured digital alarm clock app from the iOS App Store or Google Play Store on Android. You may also choose to buy a physical alarm clock so you're less dependent on your phone.
Regardless of what you use, a distraction-free alarm clock empowers you to use the Pomodoro technique and work in short bursts to power through daunting tasks. The Pomodoro technique advocates that you focus on a task for 25 minutes without interruption, then take a five-minute break to rest and recharge.
A distraction-free alarm clock plus the Pomodoro technique takes you back to old-school times when digital distractions were minimal. Use them to improve your attention span and get work done.
Track Your Time With Rize to Get Better at Staying Focused
There you have it, our list of six proven focus tools to increase your productivity at work. Using these tools will help you gain more control over your mind and environment, do deep work and achieve your work goals with less stress and procrastination.
Start by tracking your time to understand where your time currently goes and when productivity sinks. You may be surprised at the results and get more accurate data to improve your focus and time management at work.
Are you ready to become better at focusing and getting the most of your productive time? Download and try the Rize app today to begin your journey to better work habits.