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Read this now: 7 clever mobile apps to conquer procrastination

Michael Ansaldo | Feb. 10, 2014
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.

(10+2)x5 Procrastination Hack
This app is based on Merlin Mann's (10+2)*5 technique, which postulates the path to productivity is to work with "single-minded focus" for 10 minutes, then take a two-minute break to do whatever you want — surf the Web, call a friend — and repeat the process five times for a total of 60 minutes. The (10+2)x5 Procrastination Hack app is a timer to track these sessions. It breaks the hour down into five 12-minute intervals of "work" and "play." Once you start the first "work" timer, the app cycles through each interval, alerting you when it's time to stop working and start playing, and vice versa. Because you never need to stop what you're doing and reset the timer, there's nothing to impede your productivity. And that's the point, isn't it? (iOS, $1.99)

Whether it's the temptation to check your Facebook feed or squeeze in a game of Angry Birds, the lure of your ever-present apps can quickly torpedo your work efforts. AppsDetox helps you reign in your mobile app usage by enforcing blockage rules for individual apps. You set the detox terms: you can restrict the number of launches, block an app during specific times of day or days of the week, or, for the hopelessly weak-willed, forbid access "forever." If you try to use a blocked app, you'll get a pithy reminder like, "Hey dude! You wanted to detox from AmazonMP3," or "Facebook? Not now." But AppDetox isn't playing around: it keeps time-stamped records of your violations. And, no, you can't block AppDetox — we know you were thinking it. (Android, Free)

Beat Procrastination
While the bulk of the apps in this roundup attempt to modify the behaviors that contribute to your procrastination, Beat Procrastination aims to change your unconscious attitudes about putting things off. In this meditation app, clinical hypnotherapist Andrew Johnson first leads you through some progressive muscle relaxation, then helps you reprogram yourself to associate feelings of happiness, satisfaction, and confidence the completion of tasks (and some downright uncomfortable feelings with avoiding them). Stop Procrastination is no quick fix — it's recommended you listen to it at least once a day for a minimum of three weeks — but it may have the longest-lasting results. (iOS, Android, Windows Phone $2.99)

Avoiding Procrastination 101
As the name implies, this app is an introductory text to overcoming productivity barriers. After a brief self-evaluation to get at the root of your problem (hint: you choose to procrastinate), this guide offers 101 tips for ending procrastination at work, home, school, and in your relationships. It also makes suggestions for improving your well-being, as procrastination is frequently a symptom of other underlying issues. While tips like reducing household clutter, learning to say "no," and getting more exercise may not initially sound like cutting-edge productivity hacks, they do address "hidden" drains on your motivation. The only downside: Scrolling through dozens of pages of text can be a procrastination trigger in itself, so this app is perhaps best used in tandem with one of the others in our list. (Android, $1.36; Window Phone, $0.99)


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