18 Best Apps for Increasing Productivity and Removing Distractions

A collection of colorful sticky notesProfessionals, specifically freelancers working from home often struggle to make most out of their time. The culprit is the presence of several distractions that drastically reduce the productivity. Most of the time is wasted in useless browsing of random sites as well as in downloading and trying different kinds of software applications. Disconnection of the internet is not a solution to this problem as your work may also half in this state. An ideal solution to this problem is the use of specialized apps that allows you to focus on important things while blocking distracting applications at the same time. These applications are available for different platforms and one can fine-tune them to suit their needs. If you're struggling to be productive while running your freelance business, these apps can help you come out of stagnation. No such app can work effectively unless you've made up your mind to use it in the best possible manner. It's time to check these productivity applications and their features to avoid different types of distractions.

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Remember, no matter which application you're using, unless you do not prepare yourself mentally for the challenge, the results won't be promising. Prepare yourself before moving ahead with it.

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Some of these applications are completely free-to-use while others offer both a free and a premium plan. It's up to you which one you want to go ahead with that meets your requirements.

Laterbox application Laterbox - If you habitually procrastinate and struggle to complete commitments, this powerful application can help you prioritize important tasks pushing other ones down in the queue. It's a complete suite to manage different types of tasks in the best possible way with tons of features. This saves you lot of time and helps you in completing the jobs efficiently. Once you get the hang of this solution, you're going to love it to the core. Do try it for at least a week to assess the overall results. Following are some of the best features one can utilize while using this productivity application.

  • Extensive reporting - One gets tons of vital statistics and figures to track how much time is spent and how one is performing when it comes to utilizing the peak time in a correct way.
  • Custom scheduling - The ability to create custom daily routine schedules ensures you can follow and complete the important tasks in hand on a priority basis.
  • Treats addiction - If you're addicted to social media and your smartphone, this application can help you get rid of the time wasting activities associated with these two things.
  • Excellent user interface - The application usage very good with excellent user experience when it comes to using its various features.

Cold Turkey productivity app Cold Turkey - This is one of the most popular tools for Windows platform one can use to remove distractions and to focus on work. I've personally used its free version and found it quite effective and easy-to-use. The pro version has some powerful features to automate application and website blocking for the best results. I'd highly recommend using this application if you're wasting a lot of your time by casually browsing the internet without any aim. It works seamlessly in the background following the blocking rules specified by the user. Check out some of the best features offered by this application.

  • Multiple blocking groups - Support for creating multiple groups of websites and application that needs to be blocked facilitates easy application of custom rules with a click of a button.
  • System wide settings - Once activated, all the rules are applied on the entire system regardless of the account being used by different users on the same machine.
  • Fine tune timings - You can customize the timings for blockage and break to suit your needs for different days of the week.
  • Roll back easily - Deactivation and revocation of applied rules is dead simple and simply involves clicking of buttons.

Noisli application Noisli - This simple yet effective tool is perfect for improving your focus on tasks or to relax in a correct way while taking short breaks from the work. The application works in dual mode by providing custom sounds and associated changing background colors to help you in focusing on the work in a better way. The application is also available in the form of Google Chrome extension. It's one of the best solutions to refresh and rejuvenate your mind which results in better concentration on the work. So, without any delay, install this application and try out its simple yet amazing features to boost your productivity.

  • Custom sound bundles - Users can select, mix and amalgamate multiple sound streams to create custom bundles that give them the best results.
  • Timer support - It has a handy timer support to create strict work schedules for maximum productivity during peak hours.
  • Distraction free Markdown editor - One can also take advantage of handy text editor that supports Markdown syntax and is completely distraction free allowing you to write more in less time.
  • Easy sharing of settings - Users can also share their custom sound bundles easily with their contacts on social media.

Freedom application Freedom - As the name implies, this handy application gives you complete freedom from procrastination and missed deadlines. Simply install it and start removing distracting applications and websites from your work schedule. This application runs smoothly on computer, tablet, and smartphone without any issues. I've used its free plan which is good enough for the majority of users. Professionals can take advantage of the premium features with more control and options to fine tune everything. Here are some of its features and flexible options to help you be more productive with minimal distractions.

  • Block apps & sites - Like other similar productivity apps, this application can also block or stall selective desktop applications and websites.
  • Create custom sessions - As mentioned earlier, one can create custom sessions or schedules with fine tuned settings to get more out of the available resources.
  • Build recurring schedules - You can take advantage of the recurring sessions relieving you from programming the same thing again and again.
  • Use from anywhere - And last but not the least, you can use this powerful application from almost any device or computer.

Focus@will application Focus@Will - The name itself clearly indicates that this solution is going to help you in focusing on the important work. It includes scientifically optimized music that positively acts on your brain making it more focused and agile. It works both on smartphone and desktop. One can easily customize various features of the music being played to get the best results. It also has a handy tracker to monitor your productivity which helps in selecting the best possible music stream that works for you. Do try it once and see if the following features can make you more productive giving a boost to your work schedule.

  • Optimized music streams - All the available sound is handpicked to sooth your nerves and to boost your daily productivity.
  • Customize intensity - Each sound stream can be customized or fine tuned at up to 3 levels depending on the situation and the time of the day.
  • Track your progress - As I mentioned before, tracker module gives you a glimpse of the progress and help you in selecting the best option.
  • Use on the go - Whether you're sitting in your home office or commuting through a public transport system, you can use this excellent application almost anywhere.

RescueTime productivity application RescueTime - This productivity application is supported by wide number of platforms including Linux, Windows and Mac. It has one of the finest interfaces you will love to use on a daily basis. Its premium version has some cutting-edge features which kind of acts as your virtual assistant helping you in making most out of your work time. I liked its extensive reporting system which cuts out unnecessary statistics and focuses on vital data. I've tested it both on Ubuntu and Windows machines and found it working seamlessly on both the platforms. Following features are part of this unique productivity application.

  • Alert notifications - If you spending too much time on a specific activity, this application give you an alert about the same to recover in time.
  • Block anything - You can block unlimited number of websites through this application to cut down your aimless browsing time.
  • Rich reports - Its handy reporting module generates lots of useful analytical data that can be used for taking right decisions to boost your productivity.
  • Track offline activities - It's not just online work schedule but one can easily track offline activities too through this powerful application.

Focus booster software focus booster - Apart from using it on a web browser, one can also use its native apps for Windows and Mac. It has one of the best time trackers with loads of features. It gives you an answer to the most important question - Where am I wasting most of my work time? Its smart time sheets have the ability to record custom sessions on an automated basis. You can also use your preferred theme that suits your taste. Through different types of timers, you can create a custom work schedule within seconds. If you decide to use this handy application, following useful features needs your attention right from day one.

  • Export reports - This application allows you to easily export different reports in CSV format for offline analysis as well as for easy sharing with other users.
  • Rich dashboard - Its dashboard has a rich interface with easy-to-use controls allowing even a layman to harness the power of this app with ease.
  • Custom tracking - User can create completely custom work schedules in a quick time to utilize the core working hours in the best possible way.
  • Automate or do manually - As far as customizing timers is concerned, one can either specify time on a manual basis or let the application do it for him.

Workflow app Workflow - I decided to include this application due to its ability to do some amazing things that's directly going to save your thousands of hours. These saved hours can be used elsewhere boosting your overall productivity. In a nutshell, this handy application lets you combine different custom subtasks to create a completely automated task you do on a daily basis. If you're using iOS, this application is made just for you. Once you start using it, you gain experience to make highly productive workflows that exponentially boosts your productivity. Do quickly test out some of its best features and options.

  • Drag and drop support - Creating custom workflows with this application is quite simple. Drag and arrange predefined actions to complete your custom task within seconds.
  • Create unique workflows - As mentioned before, with a library of over 200 custom actions, one can create thousands of custom workflows that fit the needs.
  • Create custom apps - You can also turn custom workflows in the form of an app which can be accessed directly from the home screen of your smartphone.
  • Create custom extensions - Similarly, one can also create extensions for a web browser to quickly create custom workflows with a click of a button.

SelfControl application SelfControl - This is one of the popular and free tools for Mac platform to remove distractions and to increase your productivity. It has a timer which is used in conjunction with a block list to disable access to the websites. Even if you delete apps or restart your system, the websites are not accessible unless the timer expires. It's simple, easy-to-use with no added bells and whistles. Updating the block list is very easy and one can quickly edit the entries. Similarly, users can also maintain whitelist with an option to use port numbers while specifying websites to be blocked. Following are some of its exciting features.

  • Block anything - Whether you want to block a single website or hundreds, this application can do so without any glitch.
  • Persistent timers - Once timer is in action, deletion of app or a restart of system has no effect on the rules applied as well as the timer expiration time.
  • CLI for power users - Power users who feel homely on a command line can use an array of commands to tame this app through this favorite channel.
  • Free - And last but not the least, this application is one of the few in its category which is completely free-to-use.

Focus productivity software Focus - This premium productivity application is built for Mac users. It has combined several features found in different types such applications. Apart from blocking websites and native applications, one can also create custom automated workflows to save your time and money. It's tightly integrated with OS in the form of menu bar app and can be accessed quickly, whenever required. Whenever a user tries to access blocked websites, a motivational or inspirational quote is displayed to persuade him to get back to work. These quotes' list can be edited easily. Following impressive features are part of this unique application.

  • Schedule block intervals - Users can create custom block intervals for the entire week to divide the peak hours as per the requirements for maximum productivity.
  • Scripting support - Advanced users can use the power of scripts to create custom workflows for automated task completion.
  • Hotkey support - It also has a hotkey support which is fully configurable so that a user can instantly switch on the block mode regardless of the application he is working with.
  • Drag and drop blocking - For blocking an application or a website, one can easily drag and drop the icon and site address in the block list.

Focus Me App Focus Me - This is an extremely powerful and highly configurable premium application made just for procrastinators. It has tons of options to fine tune the blocking rules with options to customize the timer intervals. It has several modes and levels of blocking so that you can focus on an important project or task. It also includes a reminder module for taking much-needed breaks while working intensely on a long and consuming job. One can save different profiles with custom settings so that one can easily switch to different workflows with a click of a button. These features are part of the application.

  • Custom unlocking - For each website or app you want to lock, one can activate different types of actions that should be triggered upon activation.
  • Different lock levels - Several block levels ensure you can create stringent or soft blocking sessions depending on the exact requirement at a given time.
  • Configurable timers - The supported timer is highly configurable with multiple intervals and breaks in a single session.
  • Goal setting support - You can set a primary goal for a specific session or schedule so that it can be completed in the limited time frame.

Youmail application YouMail - This select application is built for those who spend lot of time in attending voice calls. Available both for Android and iOS platform, it has a nice interface with impressive features to get rid of countless calls wasting your precious time. You can think of it as a virtual assistant processing your voice calls on your behalf. If you're going to use it on a regular basis, you're going to save hundreds of hours which can be devoted to your business or some other useful work. I liked it voicemail transcription feature which is very handy while you're on the go. Check out the following features of this premium app.

  • Automate answers - Its most prominent feature is automation of answering voice mails to relive you for devoting time on other important tasks.
  • Voicemail transcription - You can also activate transcription of voicemail messages that are sent to your inbox for reading at a convenient time.
  • Block pesky callers - This obvious and important feature saves you from unwanted callers who unnecessarily consume your valuable time.
  • Use anywhere - And of course, you can use it on any device whether it's your desktop or your mobile phone.

Timeout application Time Out - This handy Mac application will increase your productivity by helping you take the much required breaks while working for long hours. The application itself is very flexible with loads of features to customize the way breaks are taken. This includes fading of the screen, running applications or custom task at the start and end of breaks. Advanced users can easily customize the breaks as per their exact requirements. One can also configure the frequency as well as the length of the breaks. Do check out these awesome features supported by this application to boost your productivity throughout the day.

  • Custom scripting support - One can use this application to run custom tasks on your Mac system with the help of Apple script, Python script or by simply triggering a native app.
  • Predefined custom apps - Users can take advantage of ready made custom scripts which can be used instantly to power up your breaks.
  • Customize breaks - As I mentioned earlier, screen fading, break frequency and length can be easily tweaked as per your preferences.
  • Easy-to-use - The control and interface of this application is quite good and one can easily configure break settings without any hiccups.

Alfred productivity app for Mac Alfred - If you're a keyboard ninja, I'd recommend once using this Mac application to increase your productivity by many folds. It has a powerful search and app launching system with configurable keyboard shortcut support to speed up daily routine tasks. Its power pack module lets you create custom workflows to speed up tasks. One can also preview a large number of file formats without actually opening them. It's tightly integrated with the OS and supports native searching and filtering with added features. This wonderful productivity boosting app supports all of the impressive features mentioned below.

  • Powerful search & filtering - This is one of the few applications which include extremely powerful search and filtering tool that can find almost anything hidden on your Mac system.
  • Custom workflows - Without writing a single line of code, users can create complex and long custom workflows to save hundreds of hours.
  • Trigger apps with keywords - You can also configure keywords for starting native Mac applications to speed up your working process.
  • Theme support - If you want to customize the fonts and colors of your app, you can do that too and can also import themes made by other users.

Shortcat productivity software Shortcat - This is an all-in-one productivity application that uses keyboard shortcuts to simplify your work and life. The application itself takes advantage of OS X Accessibility API to provide you with immensely flexible app management through highly configurable keyboard shortcuts. Through regular use, active users can create innovative and very useful shortcuts for custom app actions. Once you get the habit of this application, you can device intuitive ways to create custom workflows by easily combining multiple shortcuts. Following features makes this amazing app among one of the best in its category.

  • Assign shortcuts - Once activated, you can assign custom keyboard shortcuts not only to trigger apps but also to specific actions within the application.
  • Create custom app actions - One can also create custom actions for a specific application to speed up your working routine.
  • Easily configurable - The short configuration process itself is dead simple and there is no limit on the number of shortcuts one can create on a single system.
  • Works seamlessly - The configured shortcuts do not hinder the normal functioning of the applications and does not slow down the entire system in any way.

Swipes software for productivity Swipes - This application can be thought of as a central hub of all tasks pulled from external systems to manage all of them easily from a single location. It has a snoozing feature to focus only on the important work and put less important things out of the sight. The application is available for popular mobile platforms and has an excellent interface to manage large lists of important tasks. I liked the web version too which can be used in all modern web browsers. Do try this excellent application that can boost your productivity quite easily through a well prepared to do list that is easily manageable without any hiccups.

  • Manageable task lists - Needless to say, this is the primary and the most important feature of the app to help you create fully functional task lists.
  • Integrate external apps - Integration for external services like Gmail, Evernote and Dropbox are also available.
  • Touch & swipe interface - The user interface has full touch and swipe support to easily work with long list of tasks.
  • Create work spaces - One can also create multiple work spaces to divide relevant tasks within a single bundle into multiple sub lists.

Toggl time tracking for productivity Toggl - This is an ultimate time tracking application that's going to save your time which in turn will boost your productivity. It's ideal for large teams working in different locations as the time tracking sessions are synced across multiple remote devices. The application itself can run on almost any device regardless of the platform you're using. It also includes impressive reports with charts to easily visualize how efficiently the time is spent on work. To make reports more meaningful, one can also add rates to the most important work hours. Following features makes it one of the best time tracking applications.

  • Online & offline time tracking - The app allows you to track your valuable time both when you're online and offline syncing the two upon login.
  • Add rates to hours - Addition of adding rates to different hours helps in accurately analyzing the data and letting you know how much money you're going to save.
  • Syncing across team - It is ideal for geographically distributed team because the time tracking session is synced across all the devices of the users.
  • Rich exportable reports - Filled with rich set of data, the reports can be easily exported in different formats for easy analysis at a later time.

HazeOver Mac productivity software HazeOver - This is yet another application which is best suited to avoid distraction and to let you focus on your current task. It is done by fading out all the elements on the desktop except the currently active window. The application itself is very light and quietly runs in the background. A handy keyboard shortcut can easily switch the application on or off. If you keep a lot of windows opened on your desktop, do once try this application and see the difference. This no-nonsense and simple application is worth a try. Do check out these features which are part of this useful software for focusing on your work.

  • Multiple monitor support - This application also supports multiple monitors connected to a single Mac machine.
  • Control by Apple script - Power users can easily configure the application through Apple script for custom behavior.
  • Configurable fading - The latency of background fading can be easily configured to suit your preferences and requirement.
  • Intelligent switching off - Whenever a user switches to a full screen application or access the desktop, the application is automatically switched off.