In the war against digital distraction, we need all the help we can get! Are focus apps the silver bullet? Maybe, but not all of them are created equal...
In many ways, the digital revolution is just getting started, yet it is already reshaping our lives as much as the birth of agriculture or the industrial revolution. Our technologies are the stuff of science fiction, and not always in a good way. Writer’s like HG Wells, George Orwell, Isaac Asimov and others foresaw many of the pitfalls that we are encountering on our never-ending march towards some kind of technological singularity.
One of them was the potential for technology to be used as a tool for mass distraction. Kind of like a modern-day digital Roman colosseum. While most futurists pondering such topics tended to concern themselves with the ability of governments to control people and enforce authoritarian rule (which is certainly happening in many parts of the world), some also predicted the rise of corporate giants that would compete for our money, data and, above all, our attention.
In 2020, roughly $587 billion was spent on advertising worldwide, while countless billions more go into developing technologies meant to attract our attention and keep it for as long as possible. Since you’re reading an article about focus apps, it’s probably fair to assume you don’t possess that single-minded zealotry about productivity and growth that is the hallmark of all space cowboys – rest assured, that’s a good thing. It also means that, alas, like the rest of us, you have to navigate the treacherous waters of digital distraction on your quest for optimum productivity.
So, back to the question at hand, can a focus app tip the scales in your favour?
Fighting fire with fire
There are many tactics you can employ in the war on digital distraction. In fact, we write about them all the time here at FocusMe.
All of them have their place and they are generally best used in conjunction for optimum results, but as the saying goes, you don’t bring a knife to a gunfight. Or more accurately, and just to squeeze in one last war analogy, when you have an intercontinental ICBM heading your way, a missile defence system would come in far more handy than a book about self-discipline (which is also important, of course.)
In other words, what technology taketh away, it can bestow upon us once again. As the name suggests, focus apps are designed precisely to combat the kinds of digital distractions that inhibit our productivity and lock us into unhealthy and even addictive digital habits.
While all focus apps have a similar goal, they go about achieving it in drastically different ways and vary greatly in terms of sophistication. From playful mobile apps that make use of variations of the Pomodoro technique along with games and gimmicks to website blockers, task management apps and fully-featured productivity powerhouses that make it nigh on impossible for you to break free from the digital guardrails that you set for yourself.
What kind of focus app is right for me?
As the creator of a program that falls into that final category (maybe even the only one that truly does) and someone who has tried out many other focus apps before I devised FocusMe, I have seen it all and I certainly believe that, like all industries, there is a need and a space for different models.
After all, each of us is different and some of us require or prefer a sterner hand than others. If you’re lucky enough to be naturally on the ball, a friendly reminder or some occasional motivation in the form of a positive affirmation is enough to keep you on track, while website blockers will certainly help some of the people some of the time, but for most of us, digital distraction is a cunning foe.
I spent years of my life battling unhealthy digital habits to no avail. Over a decade ago, shortly after I landed my first ‘dream’ remote programming gig, I found out the hard way that freedom wasn’t always what it appeared to be.
I was drowning in deadlines and spending tens or even hundreds of valuable hours each month on multiplayer video games and the endless scroll of social media. Something had to give. Of course, not everyone has the capabilities nor the interest to build their own digital focus tool, and to be honest I wasn’t quite sure mine would work until I nervously tried it for the first time.
What started as a personal browser extension soon morphed into a fully-featured focus app that can keep even the craftiest pair of hands out of the digital cookie jar.
Today, FocusMe has literally changed the lives of hundreds or even thousands of people. I make that claim in full confidence that our hundreds of 5-star reviews on Trust Pilot and other review websites back me up! I would never discourage someone from trying another tool, but if you’re looking for the most powerful productivity app around, look no further.
How does it work?
FocusMe offers all of the helpful features you’ll find in other popular focus apps and plant more that simply aren’t available anywhere else. Here are some of the ways that using it can help you to take back your time and level up your productivity:
- Block yourself from using social media, problem websites and web browsers or even the entire internet.
- Limit yourself or entirely remove your ability to use problem apps, games (incl. Steam and other platforms) Windows 10 store apps and just about anything else you might need it to.
- Force yourself to take breaks from any of your devices and problem apps or websites for hours, days, weeks or even years if necessary.
- Learn to stop ‘multitasking’ and develop the kind of focus and good habits that bring measurable, tangible rewards.
- Use tools like ‘launch limits’ that enable you to limit the number of times that you can open your email each day.
- Use the Pomodoro feature to increase your natural self-discipline.
- Prevent yourself from going online or accessing problem sites and apps in specific locations, thereby creating true distraction-free zones where you can finally focus on what’s actually important.
- Block your computer and other devices at night or during other times when you’re better of without it.
- Put parental controls in place that protect your kids from more than just digital distractions!
- Avoid the nuclear option of deleting your social media accounts and losing treasured memories and contacts by forcing yourself (and eventually learning) to use them responsibly.
- Sync your schedule and productivity plans between devices in order to remove the temptation and justification to open your phone.