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14 apps that help you hack your way to a more productive and focused day

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Staying focused is difficult. Some say it’s a lost skill. A casualty of the 21st century.

At Geckoboard, we help you focus on the right numbers by putting them all in one place so you don’t have to log in to different services or dig through messy spreadsheets in the search for your data. However, there are plenty more distractions out there that are all competing for your attention.

Too many emails? Constant notifications? Open tabs everywhere? We all hate that feeling we sometimes get at the end of the work day when we think back on the day and wonder exactly what we got done. Because we want you to not only access the data you need quickly, but also be able to focus on that data and take action on it, we decided to put together a list of apps that’ll help you have a more productive and focused day.

Control your inbox

The Email Game turns cleaning your inbox into a cute game. From a neuroscience perspective, The Email Game converts your email into a tool that works better for cleaning – it eliminates the extraneous cognitive load of using a toolset that’s not optimised for organisation.

Inbox Pause allows you to take a break from your inbox, in case you need to work on emails but are getting distracted by new messages. You get to control when messages appear in your inbox, making sure you only see certain emails when you’re ready for them.

Boomerang allows you to schedule email for later (available for Outlook as well as Gmail). Boomerang frees up working memory, because it means that you won’t have to remember to send the message later.

Train your brain

Lumosity is a neuroscientist-approved app that can help improve your memory, attention and other mental skills. You can create a personalised training programme that’ll enhance your cognition. Play it on your commute or during your break to keep your brain sharp.

Elevate is a cognitive training tool designed to help you improve your communication and analytical skills and increase your memory and focus. Exercise your mind with 25 beautifully designed games.

Increase your productivity

Pomodoro helps you manage your energy levels by breaking your day into 25-minute chunks (‘pomodoros’). The app is great for optimising your productivity and help those that struggle with time management.

Vitamin R is a multi-tool app that helps you time-box (perfect for the Pomodoro Technique mentioned above) and control your concentration, pushing you to work harder and faster and helping to reduce procrastination. The tool also makes recommendations for how much time you should spend on a task, makes task switching as efficient as possible and helps you take productive breaks. The app is popular among people with ADHD.

Isolator is a menu bar application that helps you concentrate by covering your desktop, icons, and other open windows, letting you focus on the task at hand.

Hey Focus helps you create an optimal work environment. The Mac app lets you reclaim your productivity by blocking distracting sites like Facebook, Twitter and Reddit. The app can be used across all browsers and you can block websites during key times to stay productive.

Pocket saves those random, useful but distracting internet finds for later so you can stay focussed on the task at hand when surfing the web.

Focus@Will streams scientifically optimised music intended to boost your concentration and focus. A productivity tracker helps you record your productivity and to personalise your sound sessions based on your cognitive type and your biorhythms.

Quantified Mind is a free online cognitive optimisation platform using carefully designed tests that help you figure out what time of day you are most productive and can get the most out of your brain.

Practice your focus

Headspace offers guided meditation sessions on any device and tips on how to apply mindfulness to everyday activities. The user picks the length and theme of each session and there is a free 10-day beginners programme to help you get started. Mindfulness meditation has been scientifically proven to reduce stress and anxiety and increase focus, creativity, confidence and communication skills.

Mental Workout helps you learn meditation, improve your sleeping habits, reduce stress levels and increase your focus. Both beginners and seasoned practitioners can not only enjoy meditation exercises, but also access inspirational talks, body scan and relaxation instructions.


Technology can be a great source of distraction, but also a great solution to those distractions. A 21st century paradox at its finest. What do you say? Go on, try one or more of the above apps and let us know how your focus is shaping up.

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