Time-Track­ing

iPhone Life Magazine - - Contents - BY CON­NER CAREY

FEA­TURED APP

For­est ($1.99) Gam­i­fy­ing oth­er­wise me­nial tasks is per­fect for pro­cras­ti­na­tors and those who are eas­ily dis­tracted. With For­est, you choose a species of shrub or tree, set the time, and tap Start. As you work, the tree will grow from sprout to full-blown plant. But if you leave the app be­fore the timer runs out and the tree grows up, your tree will wither away and die. Is the vir­tual world not enough to mo­ti­vate you? Grow enough trees and you can ex­change your vir­tual achieve­ments for real trees planted in a real for­est, which means your fo­cus con­trib­utes to a bet­ter en­vi­ron­ment for us all. As you grow vir­tual trees, you can add them to your for­est and cre­ate your own beau­ti­ful land­scape within the app. The more you fo­cus, the more species of shrubs and trees you can un­lock. Keep track of how well you've fo­cused over time with the built-in pie chart and learn to strike a bal­ance be­tween work, rest, and play.

Free­dom (Free) It's easy to find your­self mind­lessly scrolling through images and videos on so­cial me­dia when you need to be work­ing on some­thing pro­duc­tive. With Free­dom, you can pre­vent your­self from wast­ing time on ad­dic­tive apps—such as In­sta­gram, Twit­ter, and Face­book (with some workarounds; it's apparently dif­fi­cult to block the Face­book app)—by block­ing them from your­self. Sim­ply set the amount of time you want to block your so­cial me­dia ac­counts or fa­vorite web­sites and ac­cept that fo­cus­ing on the task at hand is the only dis­trac­tion avail­able un­til that timer goes off. Use this app in com­bi­na­tion with the Po­modoro app to cre­ate spurts of fo­cused time with fun breaks in be­tween.

Tide (Free) This el­e­gant timer is all about sooth­ing you into a fo­cused state. It uses the Po­modoro tech­nique, which means you can set the time for 25 min­utes and once it's done, you'll get a five-minute break be­fore be­gin­ning again. Of course, all its times are ad­justable to your pref­er­ences, but the time re­ward is a great way to con­tinue work­ing and fo­cus­ing through­out your day. While you work, you can lis­ten to the sooth­ing sounds of rain and birds, the in­dis­tin­guish­able chat­ter of a cof­fee shop, or even soft in­stru­men­tal pieces. The daily quote at the bot­tom of the app is meant to help you keep work­ing to­ward your goal while the timer keeps you on track.

Fo­cus Keeper (Free) If the tra­di­tional Po­modoro tech­nique is help­ful for you, then this app will eas­ily track your rounds. Work for 25 min­utes at a time with a short break at the end of each ses­sion. Re­peat that four times and you'll get a longer break. You can set how many rounds you want to com­plete in a day and your over­all goal. Check out the graph after your first week to see how beau­ti­fully you fo­cused each day. To un­lock spe­cial fea­tures—such as the abil­ity to cus­tom­ize timers, use dif­fer­ent tick­ing sounds, and des­ig­nate your own color theme—you can go Pro ($1.99). Fo­cus Keeper is sim­ple, straight­for­ward, and de­signed to do what it sets out to do: help you stay fo­cused.

Pro­duc­tiv­ity Chal­lenge Timer (Free) This app doesn't want to hear about any of your ex­cuses. In Pro­duc­tiv­ity Chal­lenge Timer, you start out as an Un­re­pen­tant Slacker and work your way up the ranks as you fo­cus day in and day out. Want to take the week­end off? Too bad—you'll start los­ing your rank if you slack. Set up four projects with the free ver­sion and un­lock 18 achieve­ments. This app also uses the Po­modoro tech­nique. If you love chal­leng­ing your­self, this app is right up your al­ley, but if be­ing ha­rassed isn't your thing, that's OK too. Just visit Set­tings to turn on the app's Judge­ment-Free mode. Oth­er­wise, pre­pare your­self to be in­sulted into a pro­duc­tive hu­man be­ing.

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