You type for a bit, your laptop screen boring into your eyes, and then you see it. Your phone lights up, and all your productivity flies away while you give in to the primal instinct of distraction and time-wasting.

Sound all too familiar? Luckily, there are some examples of tools to help combat that on this list. Here are five social-media limiting apps you can use to help you unplug from distraction and plug into productivity.

OFFTIME

Available for both iPhone and Android, OFFTIME runs by providing you with analytics based on how you use your phone. Ever heard the saying know thyself? Now you will like ever before. Once you know your usage habits, and by extension exactly how much time you spend on social media (a scary prospect for some), you can set periods where OFFTIME will block access to certain apps – during study time, tutorial, or during your online lecture, this app can help you reclaim your razor-sharp mind.

SPACE

Like the website URL implies, this app is geared towards – you guessed it – helping you find your phone-life balance. This app boasts some impressive usage stats, like how SPACE users spend an average of two hours and forty-six minutes on their phone compared to the whopping four hours and sixteen minutes the average US citizen spends on their phone. Additionally, the app’s website states after using SPACE for four weeks users reported an increase in time-management efficiency by 30 percent.

FocusMe

This monthly paid service allows you to fully unshackle yourself from distractions, it’s just like when your mom would take away your GameBoy, except now you can’t just jump on a chair to grab it off the top of the fridge. Allowing you to block both websites and desktop applications, this service also combines timed tracking of your usage, and can provide you with exact reports for how much of your time you’re losing.

AntiSocial

You’re probably noticing a trend among these apps that they track your usage and offer you the option to disable certain apps for a period of time. However, what sets AntiSocial apart is that your usage is benchmarked against all other AntiSocial users – this means you get a benchmark you can base your usage against and see how you stack up to others depending on your app use. This free app is available for Android and iOS.

Brain.fm

This last service is a little different than the rest on this list, because instead of blocking things out using controls, it blocks them out using headphones. Brain.fm is a music streaming service that plays tracks geared towards increasing your productivity, backed by research done at Wesleyan University by Dr. Psyche Loui. It claims to deliver you results in 15 minutes, and its website says music from Brain.fm creates more than 200 per cent synchrony in neural activity compared to other focus music.

Disclaimer: links are examples, not endorsements.

By Matthew Curtis, Fourth-Year Journalism, Carleton

For more articles, see CUOL’s story archive.

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