Mike's NBC-TV stories

Productivity and Focus Apps

Whether you’re distracted by summer plans, getting ready for the school year, or even too much news, PC Mike Wendland has three apps that can help you stay on track.

The app called Forest makes a game of planting virtual seeds that grow when you stay on task and away from your phone. The less you use your device, the lusher your trees will become. It may seem silly at first, but it’s clearly an effective tool to see just how much time you spend on, or off, your smartphone. The app is $1.99 for iOS and Android.

A more straightforward approach to staying on-track is from the app called Focus To-Do. Use the app’s timer while performing a task, schedule break times, and more. Results are compiled in a custom report, making it easy to see how much time is spent on specific tasks, so adjustments can be made. The app is 99 cents for iOS.

The FocusMe app is for Android users. It takes a different approach by actually giving users the ability to block websites and applications for specific times and days, such as on the weekend or during the work day. FocusMe also shows how much time you spend on certain websites and using different applications. The app is free for Android users but does require a subscription, starting at $2.50 a month.

Mike is a veteran journalist whose video "PC Mike" reports have been distributed weekly to all 215 NBC-TV stations since 1994, making him one of the most experienced tech reporters in the country. His tech stories and videos have appeared on MSNBC, CNBC, the Today Show, The New York Times, USA Today and in numerous national newspapers and magazines. In addition to the PC Mike tech blog, he also publishes the Roadtreking.com RV Travel Blog in which he travels North America in an RV reporting about interesting people and places.