Flowstate auto-delete note-taking app is a procrastinator’s worst nightmare

flowstate ios app frustration stress and writers block
Brian Jackson/123RF
Ever find yourself stuck in a writing slump? Do you wish someone could provide you with a catalyst to kick-start your productivity? If that sounds like you, a new app may have the answer to your writer’s block.

Flowstate is a new note-taking and writing app for iOS and OS X that allows you to set a timer for your writing sessions, from five minutes to three hours. Simple enough, right? Actually, there’s a catch. If you stop writing for more than seven seconds, the app will begin to auto-delete your text. Don’t even think about taking a breather, as everything you’ve typed will begin to disappear right in front of your eyes.

The eerily ephemeral auto-destruct mechanism may seem strange at first, but it could be exactly what you need to kick your butt into shape, productivity-wise. For those struggling for inspiration, Flowstate may force you into producing the best writing of your life. The overhanging seven-second rule can lead to a stream of consciousness-style approach to your work that even Margaret Atwood would be jealous of. At the least, it could put an end to the pangs of procrastination we have all become prone to in the Internet era.

The app’s minimal design feels at home on iOS – there is no word of an Android version – and it boasts several fonts that will no doubt appeal to graphic designers (from Futura to Apple’s San Francisco).

According to The Verge, the “Flow” in its title is reportedly a reference to the psychological “flow” coined by Hungarian psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. Describing the process, Csikszentmihalyi stated: “The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action, movement, and thought follows inevitably from the previous one, like playing jazz. Your whole being is involved, and you’re using your skills to the utmost.”

The app’s creators – filmmaker Caleb Slain and software developer Blaine Cronn – believe Flowstate’s unique feature is less about scaring people into writing, and more about testing the mind’s ability to excel under pressure.

“It never stops being a little bit scary because you’re afraid of the capacity of what can come out of you. That’s why the blank page is intimidating,” Slain told The Verge. “The fact is if you press a button, you might figure that out.”

Flowstate is available now on the Mac App Store for $15 and on iOS for $10.

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