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11 Best Apps to Help You Focus and Stay Productive

Posted on December 22 2022

Key Points

  • Maintaining focus during work is a common challenge for many individuals, as there are numerous distractions that can make it challenging to concentrate on the task at hand.
  • Thankfully, there exist various mobile applications that can provide assistance in improving our concentration levels.
  • The primary objective of focus apps is to aid you in avoiding distractions and adhering to your assignments. This, in turn, ultimately leads to accomplishing more in a shorter amount of time.
  • Many sounds are capable of enhancing focus and boosting concentration. Among the most effective sounds for concentration would include the crashing of waves on a beach, the chirping of birds in a forest, and the sound of rain falling on leaves.
  • Although the Pzizz app is widely recognized as an exceptional sleep aid, it also offers a remarkable focus module. In particular, the app contains various intensity levels to ensure that the sounds align with the specific form of studying that you are undertaking.

If you're experiencing difficulty concentrating lately, rest assured that you're not alone.

Although there are advantages to working from home or in coffee shops, it can be difficult to remain attentive to the task at hand. What's more, it can be a real challenge to stay productive in the midst of a plethora of engaging content and distractions on the internet! With that, how can anyone possibly accomplish anything?

Fortunately, there are numerous applications, websites, and browser extensions available to aid you in improving focus and productivity in various ways. Some tools act as time-blockers, while others assist in achieving a state of flow. 

On that note, it would be worthwhile to try out different tools to determine what works best for you because there is no one-size-fits-all solution. With multiple focus apps available, there is a myriad of options to improve your concentration and productivity.

What Is a Focus App?

Focus apps serve as instruments that diminish distractions and assist you in concentrating on your most significant tasks. By utilizing these apps, you can accomplish more within designated time slots and avoid the dilemma of being preoccupied with work while engaging in leisure activities – or vice versa.

To put it in simpler terms, you could imagine focus apps to be some sort of garlic with the capability of repelling time vampires that drain your productivity.

Why Can Focus Apps Help You Increase Your Productivity?

All in all, there are several reasons why using focus apps can aid you in becoming a more productive person, including the following:

Utilizing Focus Apps to Minimize Context Switching

Context switching – jumping from one task to another without completing the previous one – has a detrimental effect on your productivity and efficiency. As a result, this can be a severe blow to productivity and serves as one of the primary reasons why focus apps are essential. With that in mind, it may be a good idea to give these apps a try for at least a month and observe the changes in your productivity levels. Who knows? They could be a game-changer for helping you stay focused on your work.

Planning Ahead with Focus Apps

Meanwhile, another vital aspect of focus apps is their ability to help you plan and organize your time effectively. This is because being intentional about your workday is critical as it allows you to remain on top of things. Thus, by planning ahead, you avoid unnecessary disruptions and stay focused on your goals. Focus apps are an excellent tool for this purpose because they help you avoid unwanted notifications that break your concentration.

Blocking External Distractions with Focus Apps

The internet and social media are notorious for being full of distractions that negatively impact your productivity.

Focus apps block access to non-work-related sites and apps that divert your attention from your tasks. Since these distractions can vary from person to person, focus apps also allow you to choose the specific apps and websites that you want to block. This way, you can preserve your energy and remain focused on what you need to do. Besides that, focus apps can also provide customized background sounds to help you eliminate noise from your surroundings. 

Best Mobile Apps to Help You Focus

In short, the best productivity app for you would depend on what suits you the most to achieve a state of flow. To help you discover the most appropriate one for you, we’ve listed below the best apps to help enhance your mental focus and increase productivity.


Pzizz is a mobile app that aims to help people improve their focus and sleep. Instead of traditional music or sounds, Pzizz uses customized sounds and scientifically proven techniques to help users concentrate and fall asleep. Meanwhile, with its Focus feature, users can simply download the app, put on headphones, and let Pzizz do the work. 

What's more, for those struggling to stay focused during finals or work, Pzizz offers a free trial via Apple App Store or Google Play.


Forest is a popular focus app that uses gamification to motivate users to stay on-task. By implementing the Pomodoro technique, users plant a virtual tree and set a timer for focused work time. If they exit the app before the timer is up, the tree dies, and the timer restarts. On the other hand, Forest partners with Trees of the Future, an organization dedicated to planting trees and ending hunger, to further incentivize users. Consequently, through this app, users are able to turn their productivity into a forest of lush green trees.


Freedom is an effective focus app that can block distractions on your Android and iOS devices. During a focus session, when you block your calendar, you won't be able to access any of those distractions. Once you start a session, Freedom ensures that none of your connected devices can distract you from work. It is compatible with Mac, Windows, Android, iOS, and Chrome and is used by over two million people.

You can create different "blocklists" for distinct occasions and set a time when you need to tune out distracting websites, mobile apps, or even the whole internet. In particular, the lockdown mode prevents you from editing a list during a session, and you can also add background noises to boost productivity. Besides that, Freedom offers numerous features that can help increase your productivity and reduce distractions.

Focus Keeper

In short, Focus Keeper is an app that helps you maintain high productivity while avoiding burnout. It also uses the Pomodoro technique, where you divide your time into 25-minute slots of work with short breaks in between. To top it all off, Focus Keeper has a straightforward and adaptable user interface and can monitor your productivity.


Noisli is a useful tool for creating an ideal working environment, regardless of whether you enjoy working with background noise or not. With Noisli, you can customize and mix various sounds, such as wind, fire, thunderstorms, or fan noise, to create the perfect atmosphere.

The tool is available on desktop and mobile platforms, including iOS and Android devices. If you are confused about where to start, Noisli provides pre-made mixes, including one specifically designed for productivity. 

In essence, the free version offers up to an hour and a half of streaming per day, three playlists, 16 different sounds, and the ability to save up to five sound combinations. However, for additional sounds, advanced features, playlists, and unlimited streaming, users can upgrade to the premium version. is a productivity app for managing tasks that operate in the cloud. Fundamentally speaking, it is an ideal tool for collaborative work as it allows users to share lists and monitor progress. Essentially, it lets users combine task lists, delegate tasks, establish subtasks, and keep tabs on each other's progress. On top of that, the pro edition facilitates collaboration on projects and tracks an individual's daily work progress.


The Engross app is a productivity tool inspired by the Pomodoro technique that was developed by Francesco Cirillo. With this app, you can easily create work and rest timers, maintain a to-do list, and manage events using its built-in calendar. Other than that, you can also break down your work and break times into sessions to enhance your management strategy.

One unique feature of Engross is its approach to accountability. To elaborate, in instances where you may be losing focus, you can simply tap the "Hit me when you are distracted" button to keep track of the number of times you get sidetracked during a work session and quickly resume your tasks. By subscribing to the premium version, you gain access to detailed statistics, an app whitelist, white noise, the ability to document comments or create notes for your sessions, and a range of other timer themes.

Stay Focused

Stay Focused is a mobile app that assists you in controlling your impulse to use your phone by allowing you to filter and lock apps. It offers advanced features not found in other similar apps, such as the “strict mode” that prevents you from uninstalling the app. While this is a useful feature, it is vital to keep in mind that there are consequences to enabling the strict mode.

When in super strict mode, you do not have access to the apps on the list until the timer runs out. Notifications from those apps will also be blocked, and you will only receive them the following day. Moreover, Stay Focused also provides a timeline of your daily and weekly app usage, which can help you identify habits you need to change in order to be more productive.

Overall, Stay Focused is an excellent tool for helping you limit your phone usage, but it is essential to weigh the pros and cons of using the strict mode before enabling it. 


OFFTIME is an app that enables you to disconnect from your phone and unwind. Once you grant it the necessary permissions, you can select a list of apps you do not want to block, such as Google Chrome or Skype. When you open "OFFTIME," it occupies the entire screen and displays a timer for the period during which you are not permitted to use your phone.

In general, the standout feature of OFFTIME is that it can make itself the admin and control every aspect, including preventing you from turning on the screen until the timer expires. Furthermore, the app provides insights into your usage and activities to help you identify patterns.

If you attempt to open an app that is not whitelisted while the phone is locked, you will receive a stern message, but the app will not open. That being said, the OFFTIME app is a good tool for anyone who wants to take a break from their phone and disconnect from the digital world, and it is available for download on the App Store.


In short, Flipd is an app that recognizes how much easier it is to quit bad habits when you have a support system in place. As a result, it allows you to create pacts with your friends to reduce your dependence on smartphones together. By logging in with your social media profile and adding friends, you can work towards this goal as a group. Alternatively, you can use Flipd on your own to limit phone usage.

On the other hand, Flipd also offers a paid version that provides more detailed insights into your phone usage and progress toward your goals. With this premium version, you can track your progress, view detailed statistics, and receive extra support to help you achieve your targets. All in all, Flipd is a valuable tool available for download on the App Store or Google Play for anyone seeking to reduce their reliance on their smartphone and improve their focus and productivity.


Fundamentally speaking, the SPACE app takes a different approach compared to other apps by not relying on filtering apps to help you focus. More specifically, the app believes that filtering apps would only lead you to find another habit to replace your phone usage, much like how you somehow found staring at the wall or fan more interesting during study time when your devices were locked away. 

On that note, SPACE tackles the problem by allowing you to set a time usage limit for your phone and the number of times you can turn on the screen. As the app runs in the background, it silently counts your phone usage. When you reach the maximum number of screen unlocks for the day, you will receive a notification from the app. In addition, you can also compare your progress with friends for up to 60 days.

The Bottom Line

In the world of remote teams, the word "productivity" has become a buzzword, and there is no denying that being productive and getting things done brings about a satisfying and rewarding sensation. However, to achieve productivity, staying focused on the task at hand is essential, and in today's society, which is full of distractions, this can be a challenging feat.

Luckily, with the focus apps and tools like Pzizz, you can improve personal productivity and cultivate the powerful habit of staying focused. From blocking distracting websites and background noises to setting gentle reminders, it is a good idea to experiment with a few of these tools to determine which focus app works best for you.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Why am I so easily distracted?

When your mind is preoccupied with thoughts, it tends to get distracted. Thus, to regain control, take a step back and analyze your behavior and actions. On the other hand, if you are studying for an exam, you can use evidence-based techniques like spaced repetition, the mnemonic peg system, or the Feynman technique to improve your preparation approach.

How do I make sure that the background sound is actually helping me focus?

To ensure that the sounds you are listening to are aiding your concentration, it is important to observe how your mind and body react to them. For instance, if you find that you are more focused on the sound than your work, it may be a sign that you need to switch to a different sound or try something new.

What may cause the inability to focus?

If you find a task too dull or have too much work or pressure to handle, you may lose focus at work. In essence, it is common for an overwhelmed mind to neglect assigned tasks. However, if the problem persists and goes out of control, this prolonged lack of concentration can be an indication of a mental health condition known as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).