Procrastinator? There's An App For That!

Despite the popular belief that time management is something you have or something you don’t,  it is a skill that can be learned. 

You’re not on your own. As a well-weathered procrastinator myself, I’ve learned—through much trial, error, and late nights cramming—what works to help me stay focused and get all my work done. While nobody but yourself can help you beat the beast that is your procrastination, these tips and tools could put you on the right track. 

 

  1. Before You Download Anything: Find Your Patterns

These apps won’t help you if you don’t actually sit down and get work done. (Overplanning is a form of procrastination, after all.) Check out your class schedule and ask yourself what times are the best windows where you could picture yourself working; try to figure out when during the day you are most productive, and when you need a break. Use this knowledge to your advantage!

Don’t forget to figure out where you like to study. Skillman Library? Rockwell Center? If you find a place you like or discover that you work best when you mix it up, commit! When you turn study time into part of your routine, like a class itself, you consistently get classwork completed and minimize your stress.

 

  1. Flora (iOS only)

This app is designed to help you focus by keeping you from cell phone-related distractions for a set amount of time. The incentive? During this time, you plant trees and flowers; they grow over the course of the time you’re running Flora. If you exit out of the app for too long while Flora’s running, you kill your tree. The paid version of this app even plants trees in real life for every certain number of hours you spend focused.

I’ve been using Flora since high school, and I find that it helps me to avoid compulsively checking Snapchat/Instagram/Facebook when I need to be focused. 

 

  1. ToDoist (iOs and Android)

ToDoist allows you to make complex to-do lists with ease. For example, I added the item “finish productivity article by 10/26.” ToDoist brought me to a menu that added a reminder of the due date to my calendar. Then, I could add sub-tasks as part of that goal, such as “cite images” and “check grammar.”

If you’re not a fan of the agenda-style organization or have trouble keeping track of the million due dates that come with college, this could be the perfect app for you. It takes all the difficulty out of To-Do, meaning that all you have to do is the work itself.

 

  1. BlockSite (A Google Chrome browser extension/available on Google Play)

This Chrome extension is an excellent solution if you struggle with getting lost in a YouTube spiral when you’re supposed to be writing that essay due next week. You can use this extension to block certain webpages from your browser either permanently, for a scheduled period of time each day, or in “Work Mode,” which runs for a chosen period of time.

Personally, I block sites such as Netflix, Amazon, and YouTube on Work Mode. Fake productivity, like checking your bank account balance or ordering that stepstool you need on Amazon can destroy actual work time. BlockSite is perfect to curb that impulse to do anything but study.

 

  1. Trello

Say hello to Trello! Okay, sorry, that was a lame introduction, but Trello really is a useful website with an easy-to-use interface. If you struggle with breaking down large tasks into smaller, more workable pieces, Trello will be of great help to you. When you make an account, Trello guides you on how to use the site’s resources.

You can create projects and folders to help you organize all the tasks you need. I used my process of this article as an example. You can drag each item from “Things to Do” to “Doing” to “Done” as you go, as well as make checklist items. You can add more specific details to each item as well. Ultimately, this resource is excellent for handling daunting end-of-term projects.

 

The trick about being productive isn’t really a fancy app or new set of highlighters; the only way to learn time-management is to discover what keeps you accountable for completing your work. In college, the only person who can keep on top of all your To-Dos is you. This can be a pretty overwhelming realization, but don’t worry, you’ve got this! Take time to learn about yourself—that’s part of what college is about, after all.