Of all the seasonal shifts, the one from summer to fall might be the most difficult for our concentration. After months of laid-back, half-day Fridays, vacations, and a general slowdown in the office, once autumn arrives, it’s back to business. This can be a stressful transition for many professionals who must now switch from low power to heads-down mode to finish out the year strong.
Staying on task, focusing in meetings, and delivering quality work is important, but to get your mind back on track, you could probably use a little help. Here are six recommended apps from executives and experts to help you get your work done this the fall—and beyond:
Different tunes are meant for various moods. After all, the Sinatra you listen to while making your grandma’s pasta sauce isn’t what you fire up when you’re trying to improve your running stride. Because music can be an effective way to center your energy, chief engagement and brand officer at EHE Joy Altimare recommends Brian.fm to help you focus and relax. Each playlist is designed to support professionals through various tasks, depending on what beat and mix works best for them. Powered by a smart algorithm, it pays attention to your actions—from skipping over songs to replaying others—to cater to your unique preferences. “I’ve been using it for a month and have found that it’s really useful in keeping me focused and on task, even when I’ve had a sleepless night,” she says.
As many studies have indicated, the power of meditation isn’t questionable. Not only does it work to increase your cortal thickness that directly translates to your attention span, but it decreases stress and improves your ability to multitask, too. There are a number of meditation apps available, but Altimare’s top pick is Headspace. As a personal user for more than a year, she subscribes to a 10-minute-a-day habit that’s transformed her productivity. “Living in New York City, I’ve learned the value of taking care of your mind at the beginning and end of the day,” she continues. “I love how Headspace leads me through relaxing, guided meditations and techniques that allow me to calm down, refocus, and then redirect my energy toward positivity and success.”
Be honest with yourself: How many times do you open Instagram or Facebook in a day? If you’re like most professionals, it’s more often than your boss should ever know. You can help curb this time-sucking habit by using the Freedom app. Career and branding expert Wendi Weiner explains, as the name suggests, this iOS-friendly download blocks certain websites for stints of time, giving you liberty from your own temptations, since it can take about 25 minutes to get back on task after getting distracted.
Another way to supercharge your productivity is to ensure you’re prioritizing your wellness and nutrition. Kieran Donahue, vice president of brand, marketing, and digital for the Americas at Marriott International, knows this firsthand, since she works with more than 6,000 properties day in and day out. “It’s important to keep my body and mind healthy in order to maintain my schedule and successfully lead my team as we embark on a new season of projects,” she explains. She turns to Noom to track what she’s eating, and as a resource for helpful and mindful articles, as well as group support and tips that help her overcome unhealthy habits. The better we fuel our bodies, the more mental strength we’ll reap in return.
You probably spend more time with your iPhone than you do with anything else in your life. Weiner says the Moment app for iOS enables you to see just how much attention you’re giving this device daily. “It allows you to set daily limits for phone use so that you can focus on other tasks,” she says. In addition to helping you give your all at the office, you can also use it to prevent missing out on quality time with your partner, family, or friends after work, too.
Even when you try (really, really) hard to fit in a killer workout, not every schedule allows for a daily sweat. But since science proves the importance of exercise for our everyday health and mental clarity, Craig Dubitsky, founder of Hello Products, keeps this app on hand for when he has only—you guessed it—seven minutes to work out. “It allows me to get in a solid workout anywhere, and in only seven precious, sometimes painful minutes. Intense focus like this clears out the cobwebs, and gets me ready for all that’s on tap for the rest of the day, pronto,” he explains.