Written by: Shannon Ang
Ever had days when you fall into a slump and put off mountains of uncompleted tasks for the supposed ‘tomorrow’, but never got around to it until the last minute? Well, you’re not alone.
There is no doubt that procrastination is an inevitable obstacle at one point or another. In fact, it is so timeless that Greek philosophers such as Socrates and Aristotle have developed the word, Akrasia, known as weakness of the will to describe its relation to it.
For the new semester, if you are looking for a little assistance to actually get some work done pronto or make the most out of your time, help is at your fingertips (literally). Here’s a roundup of some applications we reckon will help keep procrastination at bay and perhaps amp up your productivity game.
This to-do list management app was listed as an Editor’s Choice on iTunes and it’s not hard to understand why. With its extremely user-friendly interface, anyone is able to run their day by dumping their tasks onto the lists virtually by adding due dates and even attachments. To be more organised, you can arrange related tasks in folders to separate your work and/or academic commitments.
If you’re the forgetful type, utilise its alarm features for self-reminders or be notified via emails, in-app messages or calendar notifications if you sync it to your calendar feed.
Wunderlist also enables easy sharing of the lists you created with others for collaborative purposes. You could easily delegate tasks and a comment system facilitates discussion. The best part? The app is free and supports a variety of platforms – Windows, Android, iOS, Mac and more, meaning you can access it anywhere, anytime. https://www.wunderlist.com
Essentially a timer app that incorporates the popular “Pomodoro Technique” of 25 minutes of intense concentration on work. Then followed by a short five-minute break, but with a nice twist. While the timer ticks away, ambient white noise will be playing in the background. All with the good intention of helping you focus or relax better, while your time schedule is reconstructed in a more efficient way.
You could check back on the statistical overview to see if it works. Besides the original 25-5 Pomodoro time split, users also have the freedom to customise the length of focus period and break times. There is also a library of soundscapes to choose from, but not all of them are free. Talk about being multi-functional! You can also use Tide to monitor and improve sleep or for meditation.
Available on Android and iOS. https://tide.moreless.io/en/
Productivity doesn’t equate to getting a lot done in one sitting, but rather achieving sizable chunks consistently on the go. Evernote is a note-taking app and it’s ideal for organising thoughts and ideas in one space when they strike you spontaneously.
Whether it’s an essay or a quick to-do list, you can add it to your workspace as a note. After that, you can clip and add annotations on photos, screenshots, links and parts of an article on your account and come back to it whenever, using the smart search tools. No more lost links or multiple tabs open. The app also doubles up as a document scanner. You can go a long way with the free basic plan but there are also some premium plans which enable team collaboration and integration with other platforms like Google Drive.
Available on Android and iOS. https://evernote.com/
How do you keep off your phone? By planting some virtual trees, of course. This simple but effective app incentivises you to leave your phone idle for 30-minute intervals. As your trees grow and fill up your forest, you’ll be filled with a sense of satisfaction. ‘Healthy’ trees are planted in your small forest after you successfully stay in the app for a specific duration of time of your choosing. However, if you leave the app while your tree is in the midst of growing, your tree will die and you will be left with a withered piece of wood. The complexity and aesthetic of the trees even differs across how much time you choose to dedicate to planting them. 10 minutes gives you a shrub; 120 minutes bestows you a fine fig tree.
The app also offers other features that enhance the planting experience. For example, you can track how much time you’ve saved over the week. Another fun element the app provides is a list of achievements to conquer. An example is “Novice Planter”, unlocked after your total time spent planting trees reaches 4 hours.
But what is arguably the app’s best feature is that you can use your points accumulated from planting trees to plant REAL trees on Mother Earth. The developers of Forest are currently collaborating with Trees For The Future, an organisation dedicated to improving environmental and social welfare through actual tree-planting. It’s an appealing opportunity to engage in something that has an impact beyond yourself.
Available on Android and iOS. https://forestapp.cc
Your phone might already have an in-built function to track the amount of time you spend on your apps, but Moment brings that analysis above and beyond. Not only does it track your screen time, it comes with a slew of additional functions designed for you to regain control over your phone use.
Tracking your phone usage provides short-term and long-term insights, from the number of times you’ve picked up your phone across a single day to line graphs that illustrate how much of your waking life you spend staring into that colourful screen. You can also set goals on how much time you wish to spend on your phone, or set a maximum number of times you wish to pick up your phone every day. Moment then sends you relevant reminders that helps you evaluate your progress against your goal.
Moment is a freemium app – meaning that while it is free to download and use, a few additional features require money to unlock. This includes coaching courses built into the app on how to achieve better sleep, improve attention span, among other things. It is, with no exaggeration, by far a worthwhile investment. Not to mention, it is aesthetically appealing!
Available on Android and iOS. https://inthemoment.io/
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