9 free apps I use every day for habit building, mental focus, and achieving my goals

Do you get distracted easily? Find yourself mindlessly scrolling or clicking? Suck at following through or following up? Are your finances in a confusing mess? How about your spelling and grammar, how’s that?

I am so excited to share with you 9 free apps I use to solve all of the above, and more! You could say I’m a bit obsessed with optimizing any possible area of my life, preferably through the use of free and simple technology.

Life hacking is awesome, especially when it’s easy, fun and sustainable. Over the years, I’ve found a handful of helpful tools to help me stay on track with whatever it is I’m really trying to do. From financial management to drinking water to staying sober to email follow up, I’ve got ya covered.

Let’s dive in!

1. StayFocused [Chrome extension]

This is by far my #1 most recommended Chrome extension for productivity and focus. I’ve been using this app for years (albeit, on and off) with great success! Currently, I use it to block all distracting websites during my working hours and then limit the amount of time I can spend on those sites to 10 minutes total during nonworking hours. I even block the settings page for the app itself, so I can’t cheat!

2. Boomerang for Gmail [Gmail extension]

This app is a total Godsend because it reminds you to follow up on emails and automatically sends emails to people on given days and times. It even returns an email to your inbox if someone doesn’t reply within a given timeframe. Probably my favorite feature is how it “boomerangs” important emails like flight itineraries and tickets when you really need them. Totally customizable, with many more features, you need this extension if you have Gmail!

3. Messenger (unofficial) [Chrome extension]

I love this app because it gives me the best of Facebook: Messenger. It even works if I’ve blocked Facebook with the StayFocused app. You can even do video/voice calls with it, which is what I mostly use Messenger for.

4. Insight Timer [Android/iOS App]

This is a meditation timer. There are also hundreds (thousands?) of guided meditations, organized by topic/intention. The app keeps track of how often/long you meditate, allows you to save your favorite guided meditations, and you can also create customized timers. For instance, I have a 10-minute timer and a 30-minute timer, each start and end with bells/singing bowl sounds, and then every 5 minutes there’s another chime (helps me stay motivated…5 more minutes! lol).

5. HabitBull [Android/iOS App]

If you’re a visual person who likes to see your progress with your daily/weekly goals, this is going to become your new best friend. See how long you can go without doing X, or see how many days in a row you can do X. Color-code, customize, and smash your habit building goals!

6. Day Counter [Android Widget]

Counts days since, or days until. I use this to keep track of how many days I’ve been sober, how many days I’ve gone without sugar, how many days I’ve gone….etc. You get the point.This is a widget, not an app, which means that it’s super simple and just a number that counts up/down and is displayed right on your home screen. I find it very motivating!

7. Mint [Android/iOS App & Website]

Keep track of all your financials and net worth. I’ve been using this website/app so long I can’t remember. It’s where I check all my credit card statements, bank statements, loans, and other financial accounts. It has budgeting features and breaks down your spending into trends and spreadsheets you can see how much you’re spending in any given category, over any length of time. I don’t know how I could live without this app!

8. Grammarly [Chrome Extension]

Turns out I overuse commas, who knew? This is a Chrome extension that quietly works in the background to edit any email, blog post, status update, or other text input for grammatical, syntactical, punctuation, and spelling errors. Write better emails! Sound smarter! Don’t look like an idiot.

9. Honey [Chrome Extension]

Don’t spend more than you need to, especially on Amazon (because who buys anywhere else, anyway?)! This friendly app tells you when you’re overspending on anything, and then tells you where to get the exact same thing cheaper. This means if you’re about to buy a heater on Amazon for $44.99, Honey might stop you in your tracks and be like, hey, no! That fan is only $16.99 on eBay, here’s a link to prove it, look! It even catches lower prices within the same website. This is a must-have app for anyone with a credit card and computer.

OK, that’s it for now! Aside from Google Drive, which I use religiously for everything in my life (including a spreadsheet of all household expenses), those are my most-used must-have apps. There are so many amazing apps and tools out there, I’d love to hear your favorites!

I’m curious…what are your favorite apps or tools? Did I miss anything?

10 thoughts on “9 free apps I use every day for habit building, mental focus, and achieving my goals

  1. Hi there! Do you have an Instagram?! I just found your blog (from your review of the health coaching school) and decided to try to follow you there too!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for reading! I did decide to get back into RE at least part time, to sort this all out. I’m working on a team though, which is nice because I don’t have to do as much of the backend business stuff. This allows me to focus more on my extracurricular learning and goals. I am keeping my job as a group health coach with the local non-profit I work for though. I love what they’re about and it’s only a few hours a week. I am phasing out private clients tho. I’m curious, how do you relate to this issue?


  2. Love this post! Like you, I love finding ways to optimize my life. I also use Boomerang, mostly for scheduling e-mails so that I can send reminder e-mails for clubs all at once instead of risking forgetting about them! I also love Insight Timer for meditation, although lately I’ve been doing a Zen Habits meditation challenge but as soon as I’m done with that it’ll be back to Insight Timer 🙂 Messenger, of course, is also amazing.

    Here are some of my favorites: OurHome is really great for keeping track of chores, Flo for period tracking, MapMyRide for biking and running, Google Calendar, This AM by Refinery29 for quick news in the morning. Ooh also I’ve been using Now Then Pro to analyze exactly how I spend my time. That one costs money but I think it was like $3 and works really well for me!

    x Beatrice @ The Bliss Bean

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for more great apps to check out! Is the Flo app you use the MyFlo? I have that one too! Love it. Ther’es another app to analyze time that’s called RescueTime. It lets you know how much time you spend on various apps/websites etc across all devices. You may want to check that out, as it’s free and really in-depth! xo


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