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Technology can be a terrible distraction when you’re trying to work. We’ve all had the experience of sitting down on a project, only to be distracted by our phone and all the temptations it offers.
But if technology is the villain, it can also play the hero by helping you concentrate. From focus apps which time your work in bursts to blocking apps and to-do lists, there are a variety of tools to keep your attention where it needs to be.
Here are eight of the best concentration apps for Android.
1. Focus To-Do
Focus To-Do has a whole suite of functions to help you concentrate. Its core feature is a Pomodoro timer, which you can use to work for periods of 25 minutes. After that time is up, you take a five-minute break. This makes it easy to focus on a task in small bursts, and you know you’ll have a break soon, so any task doesn’t feel too onerous.
There are also task management and to-do list features so you can plan, schedule, and track tasks, as well as set reminders for important to-dos. You can see stats by day or by project and track exactly where your time is going.
Download: Focus To-Do (Free, subscription available)
Engross is also inspired by the Pomodoro technique, but it puts a twist to the method. When you use the timer, the app has a “Hit me when you are distracted” button which shows you motivational messages. The app challenges you to reduce the number of times you hit that button.
It also has a to-do list function, and an events and schedule function to keep you organized.
Download: Engross (Free, subscription available)
3. Brain Focus Productivity Timer
Brain Focus is a simple Pomodoro app that also encourages you to work in 25-minute bursts. It has a simple interface which makes it easy to remain distraction-free.
You begin by starting a work session. Then, when you need a break, you hit the Break button and go and take or walk or make a coffee. Then come back and start a new session. Once you’ve completed four sessions, the app will remind you to take a longer break.
You can change the ratio of work to breaks to find what fits your workflow. The ability to configure different settings per task is also useful to spend more time on stuff that’s easier for you to give attention to.
Download: Brain Focus Productivity Timer (Free, subscription available)
4. Focus Booster
Focus Booster is another simple and minimal productivity timer app. It has a pleasing pastel color scheme, although there is also a dark mode available if you prefer that.
Set the amount of time you want to work for and the app will start the countdown. Then, it will remind you once your session is complete. The app shows a notification on your lock screen so it’s easy to see at a glance how much longer you need to work for.
There’s an option to time your breaks as well and to adjust the length of your break times. Timesheets and session graphs are handy for freelancers to demonstrate the hours spent on assignments.
Download: Brain Focus Productivity Timer (Free trial, subscription required)
Freedom is one of the more popular distractions blocking apps which you can use to prevent yourself from being sucked into timewasters like games or social media. You can select any apps from your phone which you want to be blocked while you have Freedom enabled.
You can also block websites. By default, the app blocks access to Facebook, Instagram, and Netflix websites. You can add your own domains to the block as well if you want.
You activate the blocks by clicking “Start a session” on the homepage, then you can work without being distracted. For more flexibility, you can set Freedom to run at specific days and times, and assign custom blocklists to your schedules.
Freedom is cross-platform and supports syncing of any settings across all your devices. Try it with the seven blocking sessions offered in the free trial.
Download: Freedom (Free trial, subscription required)
If you’re looking for something fun and different, try Forest. When you want to focus on a task, you “plant a tree.” As you work, the tree will grow from a seedling to tree and get taller and taller. But if you switch to another app, the tree is killed. This discourages you from playing on your phone when you’re supposed to be working.
You can customize the duration of your work sessions. As you work, you’ll see a beautiful and calming forest growing on your phone. Keep earning rewards and unlock different tree species to plant for a richer “virtual forest” with this gamified timer.
The Pro version makes it more competitive by letting you build a forest with friends and family. Earn “virtual coins” that helps the company plant real trees in problem spots around the world.
Download: Forest (Free, in-app purchases available)
Space is a beautiful concentration app. You can set goals for how long you want to concentrate for each day and track your daily progress. Other tools include blocking of apps and notifications, dimming your screen to make your phone less appealing, and getting reminders to stay on track.
There are profiles for different types of users as well—whether you’re someone who gets distracted because you want to check the latest news headlines, or you’re someone who wants to catch up with what your friends are up to on social media. You can customize the way the app works to counter your attention lapses.
Download: Space (Free, premium version available)
If you struggle to concentrate and you’re looking for a more long-term solution, you could consider meditation. Meditating regularly can help you feel at peace and be more in the moment. This can make it easier to avoid distractions.
Headspace is a popular meditation app which has courses on guided meditations teaching you how to breathe and meditate for calmness. Using this before bed or first thing in the morning can help you put aside your worries and focus on what you need to get done.
The free version of the app includes ten basic sessions, but for the full experience, you’ll need to purchase a subscription.
Download: Headspace (Free, subscription required)
Power Up Your Ability to Stay Focused
These apps can help you concentrate through a variety of methods. Some will time you as you work for set periods of time, knowing you have a break coming up. Others will block distracting apps and websites. And some gamify the experience and encourage you to stay on task.
But the ultimate antidote is putting down your phone more often. Some of the best apps to help you fight your smartphone addiction should help you with this habit.