While they often aid our daily tasks, smartphones can distract us and reduce our productivity. Whether we work in an office or at home, staying focused can be a never ending challenge for some, and with more people staying home to work than ever before this is becoming a greater problem.
In this article, we discuss why working from home can be such a challenge while offering tips as well as Android and iPhone productivity apps that can help with maintaining focus.
The Challenges of Working from Home
For many people, the idea of working from home is a dream come true. They imagine themselves working steadily throughout the day while lounging on the sofa in their pajamas, drinking endless cups of coffee.
While this may be what working from home is like for some, it also comes with unexpected challenges that can be difficult to manage. Those who have had to switch to a work-from-home lifestyle after a 9-5 work environment may struggle to focus and work consistently.
One of the biggest challenges is managing time responsibly and working without the guidance of a manager and accountability from colleagues. Additionally, with the family around, noise from the TV, conversations and excited children can easily take you out of the ‘zone’ often resulting in hours of lost work time. Finally, your phone is most likely on the desk right next to you, begging to be picked up.
It's Easier To Get Distracted Than You Think
If you have ever experienced picking up your phone to check a message only to find yourself putting it down thirty minutes later, you are not alone. Studies show that even 2.8 seconds of distraction can affect your ability to concentrate, and the recovery time for a 30-second distraction is up to 25 minutes!
These can be worrying statistics, especially if you have developed bad habits while working from home. Smartphones are full of apps designed to attract our attention; whether it’s a game, social media or a shopping app which results in a daily stream of interruptions.
If you already know you have let your productivity levels slip, use these tips and productivity apps to start taking back control.
4 iPhone Tips For Boosting Your Productivity
You can begin improving your productivity by simply tweaking a few settings on your iPhone. Apple already offers several tools and insights that help to reduce the amount of time you spend on your phone.
Tip #1: DND Is Your Friend
Do Not Disturb (DND), is the most effective way to limit the amount of time you spend using your smartphone when you should be working or sleeping. You can control DND by tapping the moon icon in the iPhone’s Control Center.
When DND is turned on, your smartphone stops showing notifications. Calls, texts, social media updates and more simply go to your Notification Center without sending an alert.
If you still want to receive calls from your loved ones or boss, you can allow them to contact you by adding them to your ‘Favorite’ contacts. When they call, you get a notification, regardless of whether DND is active or not.
Tip #2: Track Your Screen Time
Screen Time is an iOS and macOS feature that has been around for several years. Apple developed the app in order to address the growing concern of the effect prolonged smartphone usage has on mental health. iPhone owners can use Screen Time to not only track but also limit smartphone usage, including usage of iCloud Family Members.
Screen Time divides your apps into different categories such as games, social media and productivity and tells you how much time you are spending using each and specific apps, and how many times a day you pick up your phone.
Using Screen Time can provide valuable insight into the way you use your phone and which areas you need to control.
Tip #3: Turn Off Vibrate
A staple feature of the iPhone is the side switch that instantly silences your device without having to access settings.
Many people use vibrate as the default setting when we want to avoid disrupting others, but still want to know when they get a notification. Studies suggest that hearing the buzz of your phone on the desk is just as distracting as having the sound on, even if we don’t check the notification.
Change your notification setting to ‘Silent’ and prevent your phone from giving out a tactile or auditory indicator when you get a notification.
Tip #4: Create a Distraction-Free Home Screen
If you are not prepared to say goodbye to the apps that distract you most, rearrange your iPhone's home screen to keep them hidden. Ensuring your games, social media and video streaming apps are less visible on your home screen will limit your use of them by keeping them out of mind.
There are several ways to do this: first, move these apps to the last page of your home screen, separating them from apps you need for work. Alternatively, you can hide them on the last page of your app folders. Fill up the front page of your home screen with productivity apps to help you focus on your goals.
4 iPhone Productivity Apps to Improve your Focus
Although there are great tricks for boosting productivity simply by utilizing the iPhone's default settings, third-party apps open up a whole host of other ways to improve your focus and increase productivity. Below are four of our favorite apps for staying focused while working from home.
The premise of Forest is simple: when you want to focus on a task, plant a digital tree that will grow over a specific time frame. If you leave the Forest app to check your Twitter feed, or watch a YouTube video, your tree will die and you have to start again.
This method may sound simple, but has proven to be extremely effective for keeping you from using other apps on your phone. You also receive rewards for the trees you plant and punished for the ones you kill, gamifying your productivity.
BeFocused uses a timer to help you focus while you work. Unlike Forest, it uses a technique called the Pomodoro Method. This involves working in short bursts followed by short breaks not only to avoid burnout, but to ensure 100% of your attention is on one single task for 25 minutes. The BeFocused app provides you with timers as well as task management and analytical features.
Meditation has grown in popularity over the last few years as a method of boosting productivity, improving focus, and mindfulness. If meditation is something you have always wanted to try out but were not sure where to start, then Headspace is the app for you. It has guided meditations for sleep, exercise and of course, focus, that teach the art of meditation in a relaxed and simple way.
Sleep Cycle is a simple app that allows you to track and manage your sleep patterns. With many people currently suffering from a lack of routine, sleep can be inconsistent and disjointed. Sleep Cycle can help get your sleep back on track with sleep aids to help you fall asleep, and a special wake up phase to help you rise in the morning.
One of the key factors in improving your work-from-home productivity and focus is reducing the number of times you pick up your phone. But it can be difficult without physically removing your phone from your presence, which you might not be able to do if you use certain apps for work. Luckily, there's a solution.
The Air Essential, one of the best wireless chargers for iPhone 11 and other Qi-enabled smartphones, is a wireless charging mat with luxurious design. Equipped with chain-coil, Air Essential makes wireless charging so easy – just drop your phone on the guided charging mat and charge begins without the need for perfect placement. When you pick up your phone, charging stops. That’s how wireless charging works and it’s been regarded as one of the drawbacks of wireless chargers, but in this circumstance, it could become an advantage. In fact, wireless charging is more convenient and more battery-friendly compared with wired charging.
With the size of a notebook and the sleek minimalist design, Air Essential is the perfect wireless charger for your table.
How to Be Productive When Working From Home
While working at home may have introduced new challenges, you can regain a sense of control and purpose with these tips, iPhone productivity apps, and the Air Essential charger.