I’ve tried 7 focus apps to improve my productivity. Here’s what I’ve learned.

Do focus apps really help you stay focused?

Alexandra Denisa Neagoe
5 min readSep 29, 2020
Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

Being productive and not procrastinating until the last minute to do a task is something that I struggle with every single day.

Naturally, I started looking for ways in which I can work on my focus and my productivity. Was I doing this as a form of procrastination? Definitely, maybe. But did it help me in the end? Yes.

One of the things I came across is focus apps. By now I’m sure everyone knows about them, but to be honest, I’ve only discovered them recently, or at least I’ve just given them a try.

Needless to say, I had to try a handful of them to see what features work best for me. And since I’ve tested them at least a couple of times, I’ve actually been more productive, so that’s definitely a plus on all of them.

So without further ado, here are the focus apps I’ve been testing and how each of them worked for me.


This one is, by far, my favorite. It’s very user-friendly. The interface is great and very easy to use. Not only you can use it for focus, but also for naps, sleep and breathing exercises or meditation.

It also offers different sounds to help you focus, such as sea, rain, storm, or muse (in the free version, you have many more options in the plus version).

You can also find articles on productivity, learning, meditation, and many more. As a bonus, you can also find meditation sessions for different affections you might struggle with. You also have access to stats for your own in-app activity, so you can keep track of it.

Screenshot of Tide app

Score: 9.5/10 (only because they don’t have more sound options on the free version)


Pomodoro is another good app for focus and productivity. Is easy to use, it offers sounds (like forest river, ocean waves, or rain) to help you stay focused and you can also access stats, to keep track of your productivity evolution.

The app itself is not as user-friendly as the first one and it does not offer other things such as meditation or articles. However, if you do not need those, this app is quite good. Definitely worth checking it out.

Screenshot of Pomodoro app

Score: 7.5/10


Plantie is a cool one. It uses gamification as part of the app which I find quite entertaining. Once you start using the app you get rewards like badges and coins which you can buy plants with and harvest them.

So if working on a rewards-based system, this app is perfect for that. It does not offer any sounds to help you stay focused, but this is not an essential thing when it comes to productivity (at least not for me).

Screenshot of Plantie app

Score: 8.5/10

Focus Keeper

Not much to say about this one. It’s your basic Pomodoro focus app where you can set your focus time and your breaks. That’s it. Nothing special, but it does the job if what you’re looking for is simply a timer. I will say this though, it is pretty straight-forward to use.

Screenshot of the Focus Keeper app

Score: 4/10


Cleverest is quite the friendly app. Whenever you log in, you are greeted by a smiley face. Literally. Which I think is kinda cool.

You have three session options: work, relax, and social and each of them have different time options, from 10 minutes, up to 8 hours. You also get to look at stats, to keep track of your productivity.

Overall the app does the job and the smiley face gets a bonus point.

Screenshot of Cleverest app

Score: 6/10

Flat Tomato

Just like Focus Keeper, Flat Tomato is your basic focus app. The only difference is that you can also add a task list. However, the interface is not that visually appealing so that’s a minus from my point of view. Personally, I want my app to have a more friendly, welcoming interface.

Screenshot of Flat Tomato app

Score: 4/10


Emphasis, like all the ones mentioned before, it implements the Pomodoro technique. The interface is slightly better than the one from Flat tomato, but otherwise, they are pretty much the same: timer and task lists.

Screenshot of Emphasis app

Score: 4.5/10

There you have it. These are the apps I tested out to try to get my productivity on track. I think I’m going to stick with Tide until I find something else that catches my attention.

What I have learned

  • 25-minute sessions help me focus.
  • If I’m working on something that normally takes a lot of time, like writing an article, doing longer sessions helps more.
  • Relaxing sounds like the sea, forest, rain help me focus better.
  • Having other options besides focus is quite useful.
  • My productivity has increased overall while testing the apps.
  • I need to find a desktop version of this so maybe I should do research on that too.

Now, however, I would like to hear from you. How do you stay focused and productive? What apps do you use to help you with that? Have you tried any of these apps? If so, which one is your favorite?



Alexandra Denisa Neagoe

Content Specialist. Passionate about everything digital, traveling, books, and movies.