The new school year is uncharted territory. Millions of students nationwide will be studying at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic and physical distancing orders for schools and students. The allure of the bed and distractions at home will definitely take precious time off your studies and work. With that in mind, I have compiled some apps that might help you regain focus and productivity.
Google’s productivity suite is one of the most accessible productivity apps you can find. Simply having a Google account gives you access to Google Drive to transfer files and create documents, spreadsheets, presentations. The rest of the tools can easily be found on the right side of either Google Drive or Gmail.
Google’s productivity tools include Google Calendar where you can set your weekly activities; Google Keep where you can store some notes which you can easily access when using other Google products; and Google Tasks, Google’s own to-do list application.
The applications themselves are straightforward with their function with. Some like Calendar and Tasks can be integrated with each other so users can see their pending tasks in their calendars. What’s great about Google’s productivity tools is that reminders and events are carried over to your phone so you can be sure to remember your tasks at hand.
Like Google Task, Todoist is a free to-do list app available on the Apple AppStore, Google PlayStore, and Windows. The app has everything you might need in a to-do app and more. You can add tasks, prioritize which ones to finish first, and share your needed tasks to others.
Todoist also has an interactive way to reward your productivity with its Karma feature. Karma is earned when the user completes a task, after a certain number of points users level up. This feature keeps users trying to reach their daily goals and sometimes even more.
Forest is a focus-helping app aimed at users who want to finish their tasks by hook or by crook. The app’s premise is simple, you can’t exit (when in deep focus mode) the app until the timer runs out. This makes phones useless for the time being, which is great if your extremely reliant or addicted to your phone. The app also makes focusing fun by showing a growing tree as the timer runs down. The ultimate goal is to focus as much as possible in a day and grow as many trees as possible to make a forest.
The app also has some other useful features such as ambient sounds during focus time or planting time in the app. The app also aims to plant real trees with users able to contribute as they use the app. The app has partnered with Trees for the Future, a non-profit organization that plants trees in the real world. As of writing the app claims to have planted more than 800,000 trees around the world.
Focus To-Do is a mixture of a focus-helping app and a to-do list app. The app is based on the Pomodoro Technique which is basically allotting a certain time (usually 25 mins) to focus on your tasks and a short break (typically 5 mins) after. The method is considered effective to maintain focus on a task at hand and prevent burnouts.
Aside from the Pomodoro Timer, the app also has built-in to-do features that can be integrated with the timer itself. The app also has some basic statistics to help visualize your task progression and your daily progress and focus times.
These apps are just a few and many more offer the same use. It’s up to you and what you think will be most effective in keeping you productive.
Words by Gabriel Pe
Also published in Gadgets Magazine July 2020