Distractions are often what drives people who work from home back to the daily office grind. But, what if distraction-blocking apps could help you remain focused? While numerous apps exist to block websites and other apps, this post will focus only on those that work on at least two different platforms, such as Android and iOS or Windows and Mac. This means even if you use multiple devices, you can use the same app for each device.
Freedom is one of the most versatile of all the distraction-blocking apps on this list. It’s designed to help you block out everything that distracts you online. It blocks both websites and apps.
The best part is Freedom syncs your settings across all the devices you use. It’s compatible with Android, iOS, Windows, Mac, and Chrome OS. It’s also compatible with Linux if you use the Chrome browser extension. Developers are working on a Linux app, but it’s not available just yet.
While a free trial is available, you’ll have to pay to use Freedom. Plans start as low as $2.42 per month. Discounts are frequently available, so check the developer’s site for discounts before subscribing.
RescueTime is part training tool and part distraction-blocking tool. It’s tied with Freedom when it comes to features. One thing that stands out is how it trains you to use your time more productively. By showing you where you waste time, it’s easier to learn what to block and what’s keeping you from getting things done.
It’s available for Android, iOS, Mac, Windows, Linux, and Chrome OS. There are also browser plugins for Firefox, Chrome, and Brave. The premium version is $6 per month with a free trial. The free lite version tracks your time and offers reports but doesn’t block any websites or apps.
FocusMe is quickly becoming one of the more popular distraction-blocking apps. Set custom schedules and even block nearly everything with the force mode. It’s a straightforward app made for Windows, Mac, and Android. With regular use, it’s designed to help you build better productivity habits.
The Android app is completely free. However, reviewers say it’s not as powerful as the premium desktop versions. You can try those out for free for thirty days with no credit card required. After that, it starts at $3.33 per month, with a $149.99 lifetime option available.
Forest is specifically for smartphones and an app I personally use. If you’re like me and get constantly distracted by every notification, Forest is ideal for helping you ignore your phone and focus on work. I also use it as a timer app to remind me to take a break. While you can stop the app at any time, you can help the environment by letting it block you from using your phone during a set time period.
Every time you succeed and don’t use your phone (you can’t cheat by minimizing the app), you earn coins. These are then used to pay for real trees to be planted around the world. It’s one of the simplest distraction-blocking apps, but it’s also free for both iOS and Android.
While most distraction-blocking apps require a monthly fee, LeechBlock is free. It doesn’t have quite as many features, but if you’re just looking to block specific sites while trying to work, LeechBlock has you covered. Choose up to thirty sites and specify when you want them blocked. You can even set a password to deter you from using them while you’re working. However, if you use third-party logins that go through blocked sites for work, you’ll still be able to log in.
This app comes in the form of a browser extension only. The good news is it works on Firefox, Chrome, and all Chromium-based browsers, including Edge, Opera, Brave, Vivaldi, etc. So, whether you’re using Windows, Mac, or Linux, you can use LeechBlock.
If you want to block more than digital distractions, such as random noises outside your window or in your home (if you’re working remotely), you may prefer something different. Focus@Will uses a scientifically-proven soundtrack to block out distractions and help you focus within 20 minutes. The service promises to keep you focused for up to 200 minutes per session. It’s $35 per year, with discounts available for two-year subscriptions and lifetime plans. A 28-day free trial is available.
Brain.fm is a similar service. You can try it free for five sessions. While it promises to work in just 15 minutes, it does cost significantly more at $6.99 per month or $49.99 per year.
If you’ve used any of these apps, please share your experience. Otherwise, take advantage of the free trials most of these offer to see which ones help you increase your productivity.