5 Mobile Apps for Building Better Work Habits

For any entrepreneur who aims to start and grow a company, self-discipline is key. Whether that means setting your alarm an hour earlier, teaching yourself to code, or committing to write a weekly blog post, building better work habits will help you succeed.

Here are five mobile apps to support you in doing just that:

  1. Way of Life (iOS; free basic version, $4.99 premium) — Studies say it takes 21 days for an activity to become a habit. Way of Life (pictured) can help you get there: Submit your daily goals, and every day the app will ask you whether you took that action. Once you’ve been using the app for a while, you can look at its charts to see your performance trends. Track three habits for free or as many as you want with the premium version.
  2. Lift (iOS; free) — Whether you’re focused on a personal resolution (stop smoking) or a business one (start networking), this free app provides a framework that holds you accountable for sticking to your goals. You can set as many “habits” as you want (inbox zero, write a blog post, exercise, etc.), and “check in” with each habit on a daily basis, adding notes about what you did. Lift bills itself as a social network: Your activities are automatically broadcast to the Lift user community, and you may share them on Facebook and Twitter if you like. For some users, Lift’s social aspects can increase accountability; for others, the lack of privacy may be a turnoff.
  3. ChainCal (iOS; $1.99) — If you’re working to set a daily goal for your business, this app offers a powerful visual aid to help you stay on track. You can set daily reminders for each goal and confirm whether or not you’ve met those milestones. Each day you complete a goal, the app will highlight your unbroken “chain” on a calendar, motivating you to keep the chain going as long as you can.
  4. Habit Streak (Android; free) — Habit Streak is Android’s most popular habit-forming app. You can set daily goals and report to the app whether or not you reached them. The app will also remind you to meet your goals daily. Each consecutive goal completion earns a check mark; if you miss a day, you’ll have to start from scratch.
  5. 30/30 (iOS; free) — Do you often find your mind wandering while trying to complete business-related tasks? 30/30 is the tool to keep you on track. Use the app to create a to-do list and allot a specific amount of time to each item listed. A timer goes off when it’s time to switch from one activity to the next, ensuring that you work through your entire list. Limit yourself to 30 minutes of email each day and see how much that simple change boosts your productivity. In time, you’ll train yourself to stick to your task time limits without using the app.

Of course, one of the most powerful ways to improve your work habits may be to remove apps instead of adding new ones. For instance, Harj Taggar, a partner at the startup incubator Y Combinator, decided to overcome his email addiction by removing his email app from his phone. As a result, Taggar says, he increased his concentration levels and overall productivity, and now checks email less frequently while using his computer, too. He also removed time-consuming apps like Facebook and Twitter.

“It’s been the best decision I’ve made this year and would highly recommend it,” Taggar notes on his blog.

About Kathryn Hawkins

Kathryn Hawkins is a principal at the content marketing agency Eucalypt Media. She's written about business, marketing, and entrepreneurship for publications including BNET, TheAtlantic.com, Inc.com, and owns and operates the positive news site Gimundo. Follow her on Twitter at @kathrynhawkins.
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4 comments
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SupplyChainCowboy
SupplyChainCowboy

Another app I really like is called RescueTime. It tracks all your activity on your computer and cell phone and categorizes it as "productive" or "not productive". It helped me see how much time I'm spending on emails vs. other programs. If you pay for the full version (which I haven't yet), you can compare yourself against other friends or employees. You can also voluntarily block distracting sites for a period of time ("I need to focus for two hours!").

 

I have no relationship with RescueTime, but it's helped me a bunch and I thought I'd add it to the list.