Best Apps For Procrastinators
By Karin Eldor
Let me guess: you’re ready to read this article, but you’re already distracted by a ping in your group chat and some new Facebook notifications -- you just have to see what everyone was up to this weekend. Right?
Too many of us can relate to the detrimental habit known as procrastination.
Putting off important tasks can cause a multitude of unsettling feelings and consequences: anxiety (because the tasks become daunting), stress (because a looming deadline is getting nearer and ever more real), and even tardiness (because of disorganization and poor planning).
Procrastination has this funny way of making you feel great and comfortable in the moment, but then once your deadline inches closer and closer, and the task at hand seems harder to accomplish, you get a sickening feeling in the pit of your stomach.
And even scarier: when you arrive to work and get an email from your boss that reads like this:
“Please send me the budget and strategy for Q2 by 5pm today.” Cue utter panic.
It’s time to take control and advance your career with the best apps and websites for procrastinators. These productivity tools and apps will help put you on the right path and stop the spiral of procrastination now.
Anti-Social & SelfControl: You know what it’s like to go down the black hole of social media feeds (after all, going through your Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat newsfeeds alone can require as much focus as reading The New York Times). Anti-Social and Self-Control block the social apps on your phone and the sites on your browser that are your biggest distractions and time sucks. (Be warned: to regain access to the sites and apps you blocked, you’ll need to reboot. So you’ll think twice about checking your social feeds next time you’re aching to procrastinate.) Hey, sometimes you need this kick in the butt to stop you from checking Facebook or TMZ!
Procraster: You might be procrastinating because you’ve reached a roadblock. Becoming frustrated in your current task can lead you to prioritize less urgent tasks, because they’re easier. I don’t need to tell you: this is not a good way to manage your time. When you feel yourself procrastinating, open up the Procraster tab and select the mindset you’re in -- basically, the reason you’re procrastinating. This app will help get you back on a productive track.
StickK, Pact & Beeminder: When it comes to goal-setting, you might be the type to put your money where your mouth is by either paying up if you stray, or earning a reward if you meet the goal(s). These three sites allow you to set your goals and name your stakes; they work for everything from mastering deadlifts to meeting deadlines.
Wunderlist: Named “App of the Year” in 2013, Wunderlist promises to “keep your life in sync” by helping you manage your to-do lists. You might be procrastinating in life because you just feel overwhelmed: Wunderlist helps you prioritize all your tasks and sets reminders to keep you on point. With Wunderlist Pro, you can also share your lists and work collaboratively with coworkers, friends and family.
Pocket: Sometimes spending even a minute on Facebook or Twitter can lead you to get caught in a virtual “web” (pun intended) of articles, information and websites. It can get to the point where you don’t even remember how you ended up on some random sites! Pocket is a cloud-based bookmarking website and app that lets you store, accumulate and even tag articles and sites for future use, so there’s no need to get pulled in while you’re working. Once saved to Pocket, your articles are available on your mobile or tablet, ideal for those moments when you have a few minutes to kill.
Honourable mention: Freedom
This has a similar concept to Anti-Social and SelfControl, only it’s a bit pricier (there are affordable packages available, depending on your budget). With an easy dashboard interface and scheduling tool that lets you schedule “freedom sessions” (recurring blocks of time in your calendar when you turn on the blocking functionality), it’s no wonder all kinds of professionals swear by Freedom to regain balance in their workday and stay focused on their tasks.
More procrastination busters:
The Pomodoro Diet: This technique was invented by Francesco Cirillo to help boost productivity in the face of procrastination. The concept is this: Work for 25 minutes straight with zero interruptions (no tabs open, no checking text messages, and no getting up for breaks). Each 25-minute work block is called a "pomodoro." If you have an unrelated thought, “park it” and write it down. You can even purchase a physical tomato-shaped timer to set your 25-minute intervals, or one of a dozen “Pomodoro timer” apps available for download. At the end of each 25 minute “pomodoro”, get up and do anything that’s unrelated to work, for 5 minutes. Then move on to your next 25-minute spree. Repeat until you’ve completed 4 “Pomodoros” in total. (Once you’ve done 4 blocks of work, you can move up to 15- or 20-minute breaks if needed.)
The 2-Minute Rule: Have you heard of this technique? Entrepreneur James Clear talks about this concept, which is partly based on David Allen’s bestselling book, Getting Things Done. Basically, if something will take you less than 2 minutes to do it, then just do it right away (I’m referring to everything from doing the dishes to replying to your boss’ email). And if you’re starting a new goal, take 2 minutes to get it started. For example, if your goal is reading more, then read the first two pages of a book. Resolving to eat healthier? Pick up a fruit. Chances are, you’ll continue on this positive track and momentum. This technique isn’t about results, but rather about the process of actually doing the work. The focus is on taking action.
Even if procrastination has been your modus operandi for as long as you can remember, it’s never too late to break the vicious cycle. Give any of these tools and techniques a try ASAP: it might be the best thing you’ll have done today.
Note: This is an informative piece. Monster.ca does not endorse any of the apps listed in this article. Do your due diligence when deciding its usage.