Call it a disease, a bad habit, or a character flaw, but procrastination spares no one from its strangling grip. Just search "procrastination" in any mobile app store, and you'll be rewarded with a glut of solutions that promise to motivate, badger, cajole, prod, inspire or otherwise spur you into action. Before you kick another project down the road, check out these 7 apps and conquer your task-avoidance once and for all.
Yelling Mom takes its cue from the original procrastination killer — your nagging mother. This reminder app operates on the principle that the best motivation is an aggressive prodding. When you schedule a task, you can set Yelling Mom to remind you at the appointed time with one of an array of obnoxious alerts, ranging from wailing sirens to a referee's whistle to a melismatic disco diva. (Oddly, an actual yelling mom is not among the options.) Fortunately, the app is easier to manage than your mother: You can postpone items on your task list or delete them altogether. You can also lock an item to guarantee it will keep coming up until you do it or delete it, but that option is only as strong as your will. (iOS, $1.99)
Few things are as galvanizing as the whip-crack of a deadline. Finish combats procrastination by sorting scheduled tasks into short-term (within 0-2 days), mid-term (3-7 days), and long-term (8+ days) due dates. As time progresses, your tasks move through the term blocks, with Finish pushing you reminders at every step. Ignore them at your peril: The app will continue to bother you about a task until you mark it complete. But having every task's looming zero hour in your face can quickly turn from motivating to maddening, so Finish also offers Focus Mode, which shows you only your most pressing tasks in each term block and collapses the rest. (iOS, $0.99)
Procraster uses prompts and short-term rewards to help you tackle projects one task at a time. When you're stuck, you select the project you're working on from the project list. Procraster prompts you to identify the source of your block by offering a list of common culprits: "My project is too big," "I don't know where to start," "I've made a mistake," "I have to finish my project," and "I have to be perfect." Choose one and Procraster responds with some sage advice about your problem, then asks you to set a single task to perform and choose an incentive (preset rewards include "coffee" and "check Facebook," but you can add your own). From there, Procaster's timer breaks the task down into a series of 25-minute sessions. When you finish a session, you can collect your reward. Procraster can be configured to add completed sessions to your calendar so you can track your productive time and use it as motivation. (iOS, $0.99)
Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.