The Best Apps to Overcome Procrastination

6 apps that will help you beat procrastination and save time (and money).
by Kelly Ayres
October 22, 2015
It's a challenge for everyone to stay on task, but fear not, these apps will put a stop to time-suck distractions and help you to get your work done—today.
In an age where most of us spend our eight-hour (and then some) workdays on a computer, distractions are rampant at best and unavoidable at worst. Couple that with social media #FOMO, and we can’t help it—our eyes and minds wander, and our work suffers.

It starts slow, with a quick scan of Twitter headlines. Maybe a funny GIF emailed by a coworker turns into an all-out meme war, and by lunch, you’re knee-deep in Buzzfeed quizzes with very little output to show for a morning in the office.

Instead of spending the last few minutes of your workday frantically trying to fit hours of neglected work into a few minutes, rechannel your addiction into work inspiration by using technology against itself.

Our go-to list gives you a few of the best smartphone apps to help even the worst procrastinators get and stay on track at work. Trust us — it's been scientifically proven to work.

SELFCONTROL

Do you subscribe to an “all-or-nothing” mantra? Find your willpower weakening upon arriving on a site featuring a cute animal?

SelfControl is the app for procrastinators who inevitably cave to their distractions. In simple terms: it blocks you from all your favorite blogs and beloved time-sucking websites. SelfControl lets you define a website blacklist and a timeframe—even if you remove the app or restart your device, the program won't stop working until time's up.

APPDETOX

Sometimes the best detoxes don’t come from green juice. If you’re finding your workday punctuated by frequent app updates, Instagram black holes, or endless Tinder swiping, AppDetox is for you. You create your own rules to stop heavy use, like creating time limits for the apps that are your main offenders. When you break your rules, AppDetox can either remind you gently to take a break or, for those of us who need tough love, stop the app from working at all. You can even track your violations if shame is your kind of thing. 

SQUAWK

If your procrastination stems from your tendency to get easily overwhelmed by a long to-do list, Squawk is an app you should add to your repertoire. It streamlines your tasks to remind you of your assignments in priority order, one at a time. You can choose when and how often the reminder appears, and how — by time, when you unlock your phone, or when you connect to a particular WiFi network. By focusing on one item at a time, the app proves to be an efficient solution to keeping you on task all day, every day.

PROCRASTER

We know that positive reinforcement works in psychology—now your iPhone's using it too! Procraster offers short-term rewards and solutions to long lists or big projects. Sometimes we procrastinate because we get stuck on a problem or roadblock. This app helps you get to the source by providing a list of issues and advice for overcoming your particular barrier. But besides being a great listener and guide, Procraster will also prompt you to break your project into single tasks and choose a reward for each. Rewards include everything from grabbing a cookie to checking your Instagram page, but you can also customize your own rewards too. Each task is timed for 25 minutes and once it’s complete, you #treatyourself.

WRITTEN? KITTEN!

Another positive reinforcement app, but this option uses something that inspires nearly everyone—pictures of cute kittens! Since many of us procrastinate by looking at pictures of cute animals, Written? Kitten! is a useful, albeit silly app that rewards completed tasks and projects with a kitten photo. Knowing you have one of these coming is incentive enough to knock your to-do list out completely.

PROCRASTINATION PUNISHER

Another tried and true method of psychology: negative reinforcement. When kitten pictures aren’t enough to curb your procrastination, you need Bad Cop mode. Procrastination Punisher hits you where it hurts—in the purse! You block the typical app or website culprits for a selected time frame. If you use or visit them during that window, you’ll get charged a procrastination fee. This should be incentive enough to stop checking Facebook!

Keep your goals on track with these apps for chronic procrastination. Whether you go for rewards or reprimands, download a few of our suggested apps and use them to get back to work!

Tell us, how do you overcome procrastination? Can you rein yourself in, or do you need an app to help you?