Tech Corner: Time management apps

By Greg Guevara

Your cell phone can be studying’s worst enemy. Learn how to harness it as a force for good with these procrastination-busting time management apps. Photo: LuminaStock from Getty Images.

What are you doing here? Don’t you have something better to do? Like studying? Well, if you’re going to procrastinate, at least do it by checking out these time management apps that will help you beat procrastination:

1. Pomodoro

The Pomodoro technique divides your time into 25-minute chunks separated by short five-minute breaks. Each chunk is dedicated to a specific task to minimize the chance of your mind wandering off. There are plenty of free Pomodoro apps out there, but you could also just go to tomato-timer.com to use the timer through your desktop. Better yet, forego the need for technology entirely and buy a physical kitchen egg timer to use to keep you focused.

2. Engross

Engross is a more complex Pomodoro timer. You can set tasks and modify the time you spend on break. If you’ve outgrown Pomodoro, this is your next step.

3. Interval Timer

Interval timer is a simple timer built around preparation, work and rest. It was designed to be used for workouts, but the set-work-rest structure can be used with any activity.

4. Toggl

Toggl uses timers that keep track of each individual project you’re working on and tallies up the time you spend on each. If you’re trying to finish multiple projects at once and don’t have it in you to plow through one in one go, this is the app for you.

5. Forest: Stay Focused

For a fun way of managing your time, try Forest: Stay Focused. Before starting a task, this app lets you select what you’re going to need for the task at hand and then blocks out everything you don’t need. When you start a new task, a tree will start to grow, but if you end up using any app that you didn’t specify before you started the task, the tree will die.

6. Cold Turkey

Cold Turkey is the only app that I’ve bought the full version. It keeps track of how much time you spend on each application. It also lets you block those applications for a certain period of time, essentially going “Cold Turkey.” For the time being, it’s only available on desktop. You can also block off certain applications during certain periods of time during the week and set breaks in your workload, but you’ll need to buy the full version for that.

7. Rescue Time

If you for some reason you insist on plotting how you spend your time on a variety of graphs and charts, then Rescue Time is for you. You can look at your productivity expressed in terms of bar graphs, pie charts and percentages.