Focus for iOS App Review:

Use Focus to improve your productivity and reach your goals.

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In this electronic age of mobile phones and social media, it’s easy to get distracted from the task at hand. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve started a project just to get distracted by my buzzing phone or notification from an app. It’s infuriating when a job that should take only 20 minutes ends up taking an hour because of the constant influx of interruptions. As is popular to say these days, “There is an app for that,” and the truth is, there are about a dozen apps for time and project management, but many of them trip over their own feet. Developers have run away with the development and made what should be a simple app, into an overcomplicated mess. It’s a conundrum – one that can be solved with Focus, an app for iOS.

Focus centers you around specific tasks you set for yourself and helps you to keep your productivity level and in the foreground. The app assists you in managing your time and goals without a lot of extra time spent on the app itself. Some of the features let you:

  • Work in intervals and reminds you to take breaks regularly (based on the Pomodoro Technique)
  • Organize you tasks in a beautiful and simple way
  • Set and achieve daily task and work session goals to keep you motivated
  • Switch devices by using Handoff and iCloud sync
  • See your current progress in a Today Widget
  • Start, stop or extend your work or pause phases with interactive notifications
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First Impressions
The first thing I noticed when I opened the app was how clean the interface is. It’s designed with borders in shades of blue with black text and mainly a white background. Everything about the design is minimalistic and non-distracting. There are four main menus to the app – tasks, session, activity and settings. All of these menus are located at the bottom of the screen, which makes them very easy to locate when needed. Overall, I was very impressed with the easy navigation and how quick I was able to get started. With an app whose purpose is to improve productivity, I thought this was a smart choice for the design.

When I first go started with Focus, I added a few tasks so that some data was populated. One thing I noted when doing this was that there didn’t seem to be an efficient way to add multiple tasks. For example, you tap on the plus sign to add a new item. The keyboard appears in order for you to type in a description and then you tap ‘done’. When you add tasks into Reminders, you can easily continue with your list by tapping ‘enter’, but that option isn’t available here.

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Moving over to the Session options – you are met with a nice looking stopwatch. The default timer is for 25 minutes, but you can change this within the settings menu. The idea here is to work on tasks in time intervals so that you are the most productive you can be. Once you are done, the app also builds in a 5 minute break for you to be able to recharge before starting a new task or continuing on with your current one.

Focus also includes activity statistics. It breaks them down into the sessions and tasks so that you can review your progress and stay on task. It’s a quick at-a-glance view of your stats within the app.

I feel that Focus is a good option to help users be more productive with their tasks. It has a sound theory behind it and it really gives you the option to be able to concentrate on the task at hand. One of the features that I really like – but haven’t had the chance to test out yet – is that the app is compatible with the Apple Watch and the Today Widget.

Focus can be purchased for $4.99 through the iTunes App Store.

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