5 games and apps to help you boost your productivity
© Miracle Tea Studios
From puzzle games to meditation and next-level note-taking apps, this selection will guide you through your day from the morning commute to hometime.
Finishing work on time and getting back your work-life balance is a goal that so many people struggle to achieve. Turning off your phone is often seen as a great idea to help you switch off, and while it's important that you don't start answering emails on the commute home, your phone can be a vital tool for work.
Whether you want to play games to get your brain into gear on the morning commute, relax on your lunch break or organise tasks effectively, these five games and apps will help. And with National 4pm Finish Day once again asking you to get your tasks done early on Friday, 14 September, this is the perfect time to check them out.
Match-three tile games are quite an oversaturated market, but Ruya sets itself apart for its relaxing atmosphere, minimalist art, and tranquil escapism. The goal is to match up three creatures of the same colour, with the direction you’re swiping dependent on the shape at the top of the screen. This is never too difficult, but it provides just the right amount of challenge to wake you up and help you focus your brain on something productive.
It's all wrapped up in a charming story about same-sex love, acceptance, and adoption, which is told entirely without the use of dialogue. The game is currently available on the app store for £0.99.
Being overly-stressed at work has the effect of making every task seem insurmountable. Headspace is an excellent and easy way to limit this. It is a guided meditation app that reminds you to take a break every so often and can be used at your desk, on public transport, or wherever else you may need it. It is great way to get outside the hectic schedule of work and ensure that you can approach a situation with a clear, stress-free mind. You can also customise it to tackle different areas too, such as meditation for sleep, focus, or anxiety.
Headspace basics is free, along with one session from each pack and some of the mini tools, but if you want unlimited access to everything you will have to opt into a paid subscription.
3. Monument Valley 1 & 2
A set of minimalist apps packed with challenging levels and puzzle maps to work through, the Monument Valley games are a must for anyone with a smartphone (so basically everyone).
In the two games, you explore a set of ruins and monuments, controlling the character by tapping the platform ahead or behind to reach the end of the level. You’ll need to move obstacles around, stand on platforms, and avoid enemies blocking your path. They’re two incredibly atmospheric games that you can easily pick up and play on your break or on your way to or from work.
There’s a reason why they always appear on the ‘Best of’ lists for smartphone games, and that’s due to their exceptional quality and unique presentation. While not the cheapest mobile games available, at £3.99 and £4.99 respectively, they’re well worth the cost.
Searching for something a bit more advanced than your smartphone’s own notetaking app? Look no further than Evernote. It is a useful tool for making notes on the go and sharing them with your friends and co-workers. You can write down ideas, record voice messages, sketch, or add images to notes too, giving you more versatility over how you set yourself reminders.
It also syncs notes across all your devices, so if you happen to be away from your phone, you can continue working without interruption. It’s super simple to use and will likely make keeping track of everything a little less of a chore. Evernote is free for up to 60mb of data. Beyond that, the premium subscription is priced at £4.99 a month.
5. Focus Keeper
Another tool that will make your working life significantly easier, Focus Keeper is designed to help you keep your focus for longer and avoid burning out. It essentially works by letting you set a timer of how long you want to work for. When this time is up, you then get a mini-break, before the timer starts all over again.
It’s a great studying tool and even lets you see your progress over time in the form of a graph. This means that you can easily make a game out of it, trying to keep a consistent rate of focus or attempting to improve your productivity over time.
Focus Keeper is free, but there is also a premium version of the app available for £1.99. This lets you chart your results over a longer period of time, with the free version only capped at three days. Unfortunately, it is only available for iOS devices.