Productivity Apps To Keep You Off the Couch and On Task

Who hasn’t found themselves at the end of a long day staring at something entertaining only to realize nothing useful got done?

You are seen, reader. You are seen.

That’s why you’ll be excited to know that the very devices that cause your distractions have several apps that can decrease them. From trees making you feel bad, to computers that block you better than mom’s attempts at parental control passwords, these apps will help you achieve the kind of productivity you’ve only dreamed about.


A clever app for mobile devices, this will keep you working to get that green.
Green, life-sustaining trees that is.
Here’s the basic premise. You start a timer and a tree grows on the screen until the clock runs down. During that time if you try to exit the app to have some fun, it’s like your mother. It always knows. The moment you veer away to “just take a peek” at your Twitter, the tree dies a painful agonizing death.

OK, it’s a pixelated tree, and while adorable, it doesn’t feel pain. However, Forest has partnered with an organization who will plant trees in exchange for virtual coins. Staying focused longer earns you more coins.
Once you have a certain amount of coins you can pay to have a new tree planted. You get to complete your tasks and help the planet!

Unless, of course, checking that message was worth a tree never being born, you monster.


This app takes control of your computer and literally blocks entertaining websites during the time you set aside to work.
That extra step of going into the settings to disable the control feature will fill you with shame. As it should.

Also, the app records when you tap out early and will broadcast your failure in black and white. Well, rose pink and sunset orange. You get the point though. Sometimes we are our own worst enemies and need a heavy-handed app to just say, “No,” when we try to visit Pinterest.


Though it comes as a shock to me, some people do not like to carry around a notebook. Maybe it killed their father. Or they are being environmentally conscious.

Whatever the reasoning, they can’t make a simple to-do list without some paper! But now you have Todoist.

Hear me out! You might be thinking, “Why get this when I have the notes feature to make lists?” Well this isn’t just any list app. This app is a list on steroids.

Not only does it do everything you expect a normal list to do, but it sets timers, helps you build good habits with data, and integrates with programs you might already be using for quick reminders.

Todoist might actually be worth trading in that piece of paper that can’t talk to Alexa at all.

Tea cup and note pad with quote


An app made for those who love to organize their writing across multiple devices, Evernote is a creative person’s best friend.
From transferring your handwriting to text, to making sure you can seamlessly get your notes on any device you might be using, this app makes sure you have everything you need.

So you can keep working while you’re waiting at the DMV or stuck in traffic without your computer.

Be Focused

If you’ve ever been told you work too much, this app is for you. Humans can only focus on a task for a set amount of time, usually an hour, before they burnout.
Think of the last time you attempted to do a marathon of work and failed. It’s your brain dummy! It needs breaks.

This app uses the Pomodoro method at its core, breaking up the schedule you set into workable chunks. It then guides you through the day, prompting you to record whether a task was completed or if you took the break.

By the end, there is a clear chart of your output, evidence you may or may not be trying to put more on your plate than you should.


You know how you sometimes feel (know) your computer is spying on you?

Just give in and let it do its job with Toggl, the app that analyses how much time you spend on each site.

It was built for those of us who don’t think we’re wasting time, but when we see the Apple screen time notification convince ourselves that it was time well-spent.

Toggl does not mess around. You get cold, brutal honesty. At the end of the day, the exact rundown of what you did and how long you did it is presented. You’ll probably be shocked by the results.


Those who were born in the pre-slack era remember how hard it was to cowork from afar. Emails were not made for the kind of collaborative work we now do remotely. The time you spend searching for a lost message in an email thread could be better spent communicating on an interface better suited to a group with more than one goal per day.

Slack gives you the ability to create channels (little private groups) quickly. So if something new pops up that doesn’t need everyone, you can take it to a side convo. Less clutter, faster communication.


Productivity is hard to maintain. Don’t feel bad if you have trouble forming good work habits or getting tasks done. Why not, instead, take a look at one of the apps out there to help you stop stressing and start mindfully working.