Many mobile apps are available for both the iPhone and Android platforms that can seriously bolster your productivity. It has become remarkably convenient to stay connected to the office and get work done on the go without having to whip out a full-fledged PC. Your laptop can stay in your bag.
And just as there are numerous web apps and other programs that can help you stay focused on your computer, it’s perhaps even more important to gain insight into how you’re wasting your time on your smartphone too. When you’re too busy “catching them all” in Pokemon GO, you’re probably neglecting those time-sensitive TPS reports.
The Moment app for iOS devices has already been around for a while. Up until recently, it was designed to track general usage on your iPhone. Now, it has been significantly upgraded to let you track specific app usage. How much time are you spending with Instagram? How much time are you wasting away on YouTube videos? This all happens automatically in the background and you can sift through the data after the fact. There is even the ability to set limits, so you’ll know when you’ve Snapchatted a little too much for the week.
The Android app QualityTime was inspired by the developer’s earlier app DinnerTime. The latter is designed for parents to manage the device usage of their children. QualityTime works on the same fundamental principle, but it’s more about monitoring yourself and how you’re using your phone. Like Moment, QualityTime tracks the time you spend in each app. With the resulting data, you can “discover your smartphone habits” and have quantitative evidence you should be working in Google Docs more and swiping left and right on Tinder less.
Are you addicted to your cellphone? BreakFree could be the perfect Android app for you to stop wasting your time with meaningless smartphone games and social apps and spend more time actually getting work done. It does look at your phone usage and number of screen unlocks to generate what it calls an addiction score. If you want to dig a little deeper, you can track your call and app usage too, so you’ll exactly how many minutes you wasted today on Facebook that could have been spent doing something else.
Part of the irony of using all these app-checking apps is that you can end up wasting all sorts of time reading and analyzing where you’re wasting your time. The meta game is strong. For a much more simplified and straightforward approach, you might want to check out Checky for iOS and Android. All it does is look into how many times you check your phone each day. Just seeing that number could be a real eye opener. It’s a shame there isn’t an associated homescreen widget for the Android version. That would make checking how many times you check your phone that much easier to check!
Taking a similarly minimalist approach to cellphone addiction and improved productivity is the Forest app for the Apple iPhone. It works on fundamentally the same principle as the Pomodoro Technique, except your work ethic is being visualized in the form of a growing forest. When you start the app, you plant a seed for a tree. If you leave the app alone (and not open anything else), the tree will grow. If you leave the app, the tree will die. Over time, you’ll be able to see the lush forest for the trees. There are also customizable tags and detailed statistics for folks who want a deeper analysis of their habits.
Image credit: Iphonedigital / Flickr