Lesser-Known Android Apps to Boost Productivity

Person opening an app on a phone

Lockdown brought us closer to the remote work culture, and working in our pyjamas is a thing now. However, creating boundaries is essential to work efficiently. Be it with our family, friends, or even our mobile phones. Nevertheless, there has been a rise in the number of hours people spend on social media daily.

According to a recent study by Statistica, Android contributes 74.13% of the total market share in the mobile OS industry, which is quite a massive proportion if we look at the numbers.

I have tried a few lesser-known Android apps, which are unique and should be known amongst the masses. Forest, Toggl, Todoist, etc., are not on my list as they are famous with over a million downloads on the Play Store. I use these apps daily, and they have worked well with no complaints. Do give them a try:

Actuflow

The app is pretty basic and quite effective. I wonder why it wasn’t there from the beginning. Whenever you unlock your phone, it asks for a reason for unlocking it. That’s it! We often unlock our phones mindlessly to quickly glance through our Instagram or Twitter feed (quick plug: follow us on Twitter and Instagram) or for no reason. The app also provides a notification to remind us why we unlocked our phones. It also saves the reason in the activity tab of the app. In my case, the number of unlocks almost halved. You can dismiss it, but there’s a catch. It will save it as a “skipped purpose input”. So there’s no running away from the app. Trust me, very effective.

Block

As the name suggests, the app blocks and limits the use of any app added manually into a category that can be further customised. It is very similar to focus mode but is more powerful in preventing the app’s launch. Unlike focus mode, here, you can add multiple time blocks throughout the week and block notifications that are collected in the app (the free version displays a few notifications) for you to check once the block is inactive or whenever you are free. It is a compelling app to consider if you want to view your app usage, reduce social media consumption, or block notifications but also want to check them once when you are free.

Engross

Want to have Pomodoro and a time tracker in a single app? Engross has got you covered. Other apps like Boosted also provide the same functionality but require in-app purchases to do the same. It also has a calendar and to-do list, making it an all-in-one solution to get things done. A neat little feature I found in the app is a button you can click on once you get distracted. Additionally, statistics, tags, reminders, app whitelist/blocklist, etc., are available (though some require you to pay, the free version is enough for everyday use). Also available for iOS.

Bashful

The problem with the lock-me-out app is that it is pretty strict regarding an emergency. You need to restart your phone to disable the lock (if you are unlucky, you might have even enabled the “keep lock active after restart” option). Bashful provides the same functionality as keep me out, but instead of asking for several permissions, accessibility and overlay do the job. Once enabled, it will not allow you to use any part of your screen unless disabled by a button on the centre which needs to be pressed for a certain period. Also, it will disable only for a few seconds, which can be customised in the settings. Use this app while studying or doing any other task which requires intense focus.

Noice

Wordplay, huh! An elementary focus music app with offline support. Unlike other apps found on the play store, this app is completely free and ad-free. It has 20+ background sounds such as birds, bonfire, coffee shop, rain, etc., and one can play all of them simultaneously and even save presets for future use. It even has a sleep timer and theme support.

Grow

Forest is known to emulate a growing tree when we keep a focus timer, and as time passes, the tree grows and is a part of our forest. Grow is a similar app that imitates fostering a tree in the form of habits we want to inculcate. It’s completely free, ad-free and even works offline. All you have to do is set a reminder, and you will get a notification asking whether you have successfully performed a task you want to develop as a habit. There’s even an experimental feature to write down your experience in a journal. I highly recommend this app to anyone who likes Forest and wants to instil new habits in their life.

Track My Progress

Completely free and ad-free, this app is helpful if you want to track your progress over time. The interface is pretty simple. On the home screen, you have various params (parameters) that can be added or edited with the option to create custom units such as weight, heart rate, hours, etc. Moreover, you can share links to specific params, backup the data through Google and even export it as a .csv file. Useful to track workouts precisely and even study time sometimes.

Daywise

Love it or hate it, we receive a lot of notifications every day through various social media apps or even news sometimes. Either you can turn them off, which will take time or else batch them to be shown at specific times of the day and here, Daywise got you covered. Former seems tiring and not worth it as you might miss important notifications. You can customise the time of the day when you want to receive notifications; even the apps are categorised based on the notification time: instant or batched. It seems straightforward to use. It also has an option to make exceptions for important people and batch the rest so that you never miss messages from them.

Slim Launcher

As the name suggests, it is an Android launcher with a not-so-overwhelming design. The home screen comprises 7 apps (for example, a browser, calculator, dictionary, habit tracker, music player, gallery and an IM app) that are of top priority, with an additional clock, calendar, dialer and camera. So that’s 11 apps. Also, remember that you cannot use or see other apps, which is why I like Slim Launcher. You narrow down the essential apps and only use a few apps simultaneously. It’s free, open-source forever and even has themes. Also, they don’t do ads as well.

Lockscreen Widgets

The only paid app on the list (Rs. 130). Lockscreen Widgets is an app that deserves attention and is worth the price. If you are like me and use the WhatsApp widget to check messages, a calendar widget to go through your day, or a to-do list, you don’t have to unlock your phone. This app adds a widget layer to your lock screen, eliminating the need to unlock your phone. We unlock our phone many times for a particular reason but end up using other apps, defeating our purpose.

Do share this post if you found it helpful, and leave a comment if you use any other productivity app that didn’t make it to the list. We will cover it in the next post. Stay tuned and follow me to get updates when we post new articles. Thank you for reading.

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