10 best focus apps

10 Best Focus Apps [To Help You Focus When Studying]

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You probably have a little conflict with your inner self about whether or not you can finish your school tasks due to endless distractions and procrastination. Luckily, I will help you solve that problem by introducing the best focus apps to help you stay focused on studying!

I will guide you to different focus apps and sites, how to use them, their pros and cons, and how much they could cost you. You may take your notepads and pen as we get started! 

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Bonus: Want to learn how I got a 3.9 GPA in med school using a simple-to-follow study strategy? Get access to my exact study method from med school for free here. 

What Is A Focus App?

Focus applications and sites are tools that cut distractions down to help you concentrate on your crucial task, school work, or review session. In most ways, they also enable you to accomplish more workloads within scheduled time slots.

Aside from that, focus apps can effectively do the following things:

  • Block messages or chosen websites and apps
  • Allow you to designate different time slots for each distraction-free focus session (sometimes uses the Pomodoro technique)
  • Motivate you to concentrate or stay on-task; and
  • Become challenging, tricky, or impossible to cancel and disable once a session starts

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How Do Focus Apps Help You Boost Productivity?

Focus apps aim to establish different techniques to allow a student to create a more productive and efficient day. However, what do they specifically do to help every student be that way? 

You can continue reading these things below to know more! 

Block Distractions

It sure is a piece of cake to switch tabs and check for relatable memes on Twitter or fall into the Reddit rabbit hole. There is also no doubt that checking your Instagram is enjoyable, but your academic tasks will feel otherwise.

According to research by The Branded Research Inc., which reMarkable published through news, 75% of surveyed people admitted that digital notifications lead them to procrastinate and lose focus. Also, every person wastes most of their time checking their smart devices.

Students may also get distracted by chit-chatting with their friends, reading the news, surfing the internet, or scrolling through social media. 

Fortunately, focus apps will prevent you from doing that.

These tools discourage you from spending many hours visiting unnecessary sites and apps. While some can notify you about your device usage, many can entirely prohibit you from opening them.

In addition, focus apps can also block messages, notifications, and anything that can distract you from doing your school work.

Bonus: Want better grades with more free time (and less stress)? Get access to our free 3-step study system here to see what other top students do that you may not be doing!

Discourage Multitasking

We cannot deny that people got used to the word “multitasking” because they often think it saves time to do multiple tasks at once. However, although we have loved doing it, it is not an advisable thing to do.

A study shows that our brain and body slow down when accomplishing two tasks simultaneously. Moreover, another research says that our brain may have attention residue, which urges us to think about our previous workload for up to 25 minutes even after moving to a new one.

With that said, focus apps will prevent you or advise tips against multitasking. By finishing tasks one at a time, you can work quicker and more efficiently because you are more focused on one than thinking of two or more.

best focus apps

Bonus: Want to learn how I got a 3.9 GPA in med school using a simple-to-follow study strategy? Get access to my exact study method from med school for free here. 

Manage Workloads

There can be days when you do not know which task to finish first. In that case, you tend to spend more time thinking about how you can plan your day, which, in turn, leads to decision fatigue.

Focus apps can help you create schedules for your tasks. They also motivate you to stick to the allotted time for each activity, including those designated for finishing a workload, taking a break, or chatting with essential classmates or professors. 

Consequently, it assists you in boosting your productivity and saving time by accomplishing tasks quickly and efficiently.

Achieve Continuous Flow

Since focus apps block all distractions, you can cultivate a flow, the fleeting mental state where you get immersed in your task. It is that burning feeling that you legitimately lose track of time because you became intensely focused on your school work. 

As a result, you tend to accomplish more than what you planned to finish. Your ideas continuously come, allowing you to work more productively and efficiently. 

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10 Best Focus Apps

Focus apps can give you the best of most worlds, especially when you often struggle to manage your time in doing schoolwork. So, with that said, here are 10 best apps to help you stay focused on studying!

Best Focus App For Motivating You To Study Through A Game

Forest - Stay focused, be present

Do you want to put your phone down to focus, plant a tree in a game, or maybe, do both? You can give Forest: Stay Focused a shot because it is a focus app sprinkling an exciting gamification element to motivate you more!

When you start a study session, you will plant a virtual seedling on your smart device. The longer you put your device down, the bigger your seed sprouts into a plant, or it can even turn into an entire tree or forest if you accomplish tasks more.

On the other hand, if you use your device for more than a few seconds, your plant will start to wither. The app will notify you (or maybe guilt trip you) every time you forget that your plant’s life depends on how long you study.

In addition, this focus app partnered with Trees for the Future, which allows every hard work to become real-life trees. So, if you subscribe to the premium version of this tool and study longer, you can contribute to saving the earth!

Pros

  • The interface is easy to use, clean, and intuitive
  • It uses powerful affirmation methods
  • Multi-language support
  • Collaborated with Trees for the Future to plant real-life trees
  • It enables you to allow and block specific apps

Cons

  • You cannot easily access applications you might have an emergency in if you are amidst a planting session  
  • It would be better if it had more varieties of plants or trees 

Price

  • Free on Android and Chrome, $1.99 on iPhone, and $1.99 on Android pro (one-time and inclusive of offers for a wide range of tree varieties and syncing across devices)

Bonus: Want to learn how I got a 3.9 GPA in med school using a simple-to-follow study strategy? Get access to my exact study method from med school for free here. 

Best Focus App For Blocking Distractions On All Devices

Freedom app logo

Sometimes, you may wonder what the point of blocking YouTube on your phone is if you can still access it on your laptop. However, Freedom may have heard your questions, so it evolved into a focus app that blocks distractions on all devices!

This application is compatible with Mac, Windows, iOS, Android, and Chrome. Once you block websites and apps on a single device, all other devices will relatively lose access to them. 

So, even if you try to open one of those, they will not load until you finish your study session. In some instances, you can also block your entire internet connectivity!

Furthermore, this app allows you to turn on the lockdown mode, preventing you from editing the blocklist between sessions. Since the interface is simple and user-friendly, you can also create lists for different purposes without difficulty.

Lastly, Freedom also lets you access coffee shop sounds to gain more focus. It also enables you to schedule your sessions in advance, lock your device, or put annotations for each activity.

Pros

  • It offers six sessions for free  
  • Simple, user-friendly, and compatible with all devices
  • Affordable monthly plans
  • It allows you to create schedules for your tasks  
  • Combined app and website blocker

Cons

  • No long-term free session
  • It does not support Pomodoro techniques  
  • Poor time tracking reports

Price

  • $8.99 per month if billed monthly, $3.33 per month if billed annually, or $159.99 for a lifetime subscription

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Best Focus App For Tracking Time

Rescue Time app logo

Whenever you need to track your time and device usage, RescueTime can save the day! It uses your computer data to provide a history of where and how you spent your computer time.

Moreover, it gives you guidance and tips on how to remove distracting habits and increase concentration. It also has a distraction-blocking feature called Focus Session that blocks distractions based on your time-tracking history.

This app also helps you categorize apps into three groups: focus, personal, and other works. You can also flag them into three categories: productive, distracting, and very distracting.

Finally, you can customize daily focus work to keep you motivated in reaching your goals!

Pros

  • Excellent time tracking and reporting
  • It allows you to set your goals  
  • Effectively blocks distracting sites 
  • Available in Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, and Web
  • It helps you designate apps into different categories (e.g., productive, distracting, very distracting) 

Cons

  • The application for Android is not user-friendly 
  • It does not support Pomodoro techniques  
  • It only supports setting goals but not scheduling tasks 

Price

  • $12 per month or $78 per year; the free version does not support distraction blocking

Best Focus App For Hindering Email Distractions

Superhuman app logo

People spend too much time on their emails because they often get confused in their cluttered inboxes with mixed messages from professors and classmates, announcements, newsletters, promotional emails, and subscriptions. Fortunately, Superhuman can help you distinguish which emails to read and reply to first, revisit later, or disregard.

This app has a split box feature that lets you group messages by categories to prevent task switching. It also has pre-written templates you can send to common messages within a few seconds. 

Also, it has more than 50 keyboard shortcuts to keep you focused on crucial emails. It can also temporarily snooze messages from unnecessary senders.

Pros

  • Clean and distraction-free design
  • Emails render under 100 milliseconds 
  • With built-in undo-send and read receipts functionality 
  • Split inbox feature for grouping messages according to categories
  • Pre-written templates and message scheduling 

Cons

  • More expensive than other focus apps and tools 
  • No unified inbox
  • Compatible only with macOS and iOS
  • No easy way to filter messages

Price

  • $30 per month for individual users, $285 per year for 49 seats (team), $270 per year for 99 seats, and $255 per year for 249 seats

Bonus: Want better grades with more free time (and less stress)? Get access to our free 3-step study system here to see what other top students do that you may not be doing!

Best Focus App For Setting Goals

Serene app logo

You can always get a distraction blocker, task lister, goal setter, and concentrator music player in one with Serene! This all-around app asks you to set your day-round goals and choose apps and websites to block.

After that, you can also set a customizable timer to keep you focused on achieving your goal. If you try to open an unnecessary website, it will remind you of what you’re accomplishing. 

Additionally, this app does not mercilessly block all your apps and sites you find comfort in during breaks. It only notifies you why there are blockers and that you have something crucial to finish!

Pros

  • Simple and user-friendly interface that works on desktop and macOS
  • Effectively blocks your access to distracting websites
  • It asks you to plan one clear goal that matters most for the day   
  • With focus music options to listen to songs or sounds for better concentration
  • It tracks your productivity 

Cons

  • It currently does not support Windows 
  • You can have minor issues about sessions activating in the wrong order 
  • It would be better if it had an easy onboarding process 

Price

  • $4 per month billed annually; it offers ten deep work hours for free (without credit card needed)

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Best Focus App For Playing Science-Backed Music

Brain.fm app logo

If you love tuning into music while studying, you can opt for Brain.FM because it plays ambient music scientifically proven to motivate the brain to focus. The app’s creator collaborated with researchers and academic institutions to create a tool that provides patented functional songs.

As a result, this focus app elicits strong neutral phase locking, which coordinates brain activity to get your concentration levels up. It also removes distracting sounds from your surroundings!

Lastly, you can explore this tool using the free trial on your first five sessions.

Pros

  • You can select a mental state before starting a session (focus, sleep, meditate, or relax) 
  • It automatically plays selected music upon choosing a study mode 
  • Available in Android, desktop, and iOS
  • It offers five sessions for free 
  • Patented, research-backed music

Cons

  • It would be better if they could widen the range of the song library 
  • The app does not entirely remove distractions  
  • Not suitable for students who want to stream music but do not have an extra budget to do so 

Price

  • $6.99 per month or $49.99 per year

Bonus: Want to learn how I got a 3.9 GPA in med school using a simple-to-follow study strategy? Get access to my exact study method from med school for free here. 

Best Focus App For Scheduling Internet Sites

StayFocusd app logo

Blocking sites, especially social media, is advisable to prevent distractions when studying or working on an academic task. However, StayFocusd understands that you might need some little breaks in between study hours.

With that said, this focus app is a Google Chrome extension that permits you to limit how long you can spend per day using time-wasting websites. It does not entirely block you from using them, but once you have used up the allotted time, they will become inaccessible for the rest of the day.

Still and all, if you want to get serious with what you are doing, you can enable the Strict, Lock, or Screen Time modes that keep you more focused and limit your overall usage more than the regular setting.

Pros

  • Ability to track time and device usage
  • It allows you to visit sites you love during breaks but for a limited duration
  • With an exclusive Screen Time setting to limit overall device usage
  • Lock mode that requires a password to change blocking settings
  • With a Strict mode that prohibits you from changing the settings until the next day for more productivity 

Cons

  • The timer works, but the site confuses between AM and PM 
  • You cannot create a list of exempted sites
  • Limited to Chrome browser only
  • You cannot set multiple blocks at a time 

Price

  • Free

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Best Focus App For Blocking Distractions With No Cancellations

SelfControl app logo

Whenever you notice that your procrastination gets to the highest level, having an app like SelfControl is the best way to force yourself to focus. It is a nuclear option for blocking distractions because you can never cancel it once the session starts

If you want to begin today, this focus app will allow you to set a designated time or duration to block access to websites and apps. After setting them up and taking a few clicks to activate them, any magic will never do wonders to stop it.

That way, you can never access distracting things until you finish your school work. However, even though it is an open-source software anyone can access, it does not have customer support, so you will need to figure things out if errors happen.

Pros

  • An open-source software anyone can easily access
  • It allows you to set durations for focus sessions from 15 minutes to 24 hours.
  • It lets you choose which apps to block and exempt during a session
  • Blocks are irreversible; thus, you cannot cancel them
  • It forces students to stop procrastinating and focus on their work to accomplish more tasks 

Cons

  • Suitable for Mac users only
  • You will need to figure things out alone because it has no customer support
  • Blocks too many sites 
  • It may damage your system files

Price

  • Free

man standing behind flat screen computer monitor

Best Focus App For Teamwork

taskade app logo

If you and your friends love studying together to finish school work, Taskade is the best focus app for the entire squad! It is a to-do list app that allows groups, regardless of the number of members, to create task lists and collaborate in real-time.

You can map out any workflow and distribute workloads within the team. Moreover, it enables you to establish a hierarchy, visually organize tasks, and track the group’s progress. 

Aside from that, this focus app lets groups brainstorm ideas because it offers an excellent knowledge base. It also supports distraction blockers for individual users.

Pros

  • Affordable and easy to use
  • Suitable for individuals, group sessions or works, families, businesses, and organizations 
  • You can share a task list with other team members
  • Real-time collaboration
  • It has ready-to-use templates and an excellent knowledge base 

Cons

  • Limited features in the free version
  • You cannot move tasks to another list 
  • Some users report that it has usability issues and glitches

Price

  • Free, $5 per user per month for the Unlimited plan, and $20 per user per month for a planned tier or more advanced options

Bonus: Want better grades with more free time (and less stress)? Get access to our free 3-step study system here to see what other top students do that you may not be doing!

Best Focus App For Free Website Blocking

LeechBlock app logo

We understand that it may be challenging for students to spend a part of their allowance on a focus app with monthly or annual subscriptions. Fortunately, LeechBlock NG is a free application that works on most major browsers.

This focus app has extensive versatility in blocking distractions. You can create lists of which apps to block and restrict them all at once!

Furthermore, since it has a wide range of customization options, you can also make schedules for blocking sites. For instance, you can set Twitter to be inaccessible between 11 AM to 5 PM or designate five minutes of Instagram per hour for idle browsing.

Nevertheless, if you want to stay on a single timetable, you can use the lockdown schedule to enable a systematic blockage of sites and apps. You can also add an option where you will need to input a lengthy code to access something in your blocked list!

Pros

  • Extensive versatility and excellent customization options
  • Multiple block lists, daily time limits, and scheduling
  • Secure to use
  • Average customer or contact support
  • You can add an option where there is a lengthy code to a blocked site to make it challenging to access during a session

Cons

  • No time tracking and reports
  • Overwhelming interface
  • Compatible with Chrome and Firefox only; thus, you can still access the blocked websites using a different browser

Price

  • Free on browsers

Bonus: Want to learn how I got a 3.9 GPA in med school using a simple-to-follow study strategy? Get access to my exact study method from med school for free here. 

Getting fond of using your smart device the entire day is enjoyable, but you might as well use it for a better cause. If you want to spend more time playing with it, you must also finish your tasks as soon as possible!

Fortunately, you can choose from a wide selection of the best apps to help you stay focused on studying. Once you learn how to use one efficiently, you can achieve what you want in time, giving you more ways to reach your study goals!

Whenever you’re ready, there are 4 ways I can help you:

1. The Med School Handbook:  Join thousands of other students who have taken advantage of the hundreds of FREE tips & strategies I wish I were given on the first day of medical school to crush it with less stress. 

2. The Med School BlueprintJoin the hundreds of students who have used our A-Z blueprint and playbook for EVERY phase of the medical journey so you can start to see grades like these. 

3. Med Ignite Study ProgramGet personalized help to create the perfect study system for yourself so you can see better grades ASAP on your medical journey & see results like these. 

4. Learn the one study strategy that saved my grades in medical school here (viewed by more than a million students like you). 

If this post has helped you solve your little conflict today, you may also check these informative articles below to guide you more in your journey!

Until the next one my friend…

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