Culture x

These apps will help you stay on top of your game all semester long.

Forest, an app that helps with time management (Image via YouTube)

It’s officially August, which means classes are about to be back in session and, unfortunately, it’s time to get responsible again. (Cue crowd booing.) Say goodbye to those golden, leisurely days while you still can, my friends.

As the first day of classes approaches, the struggle to get, and stay on task is not far behind; it follows closely after day one with a totally uncalled-for vengeance. You know what I mean, right? Optimistic you is just trying to get a head start on things. “I’m going to be organized and do everything ahead of time this semester,” you say, with nothing but good intentions. But then, your good ol’ pals distraction, procrastination and disorder rear their ugly heads and before you know it, it’s October and you still don’t have a book for Class A and the work you said you’d do on Tuesday still isn’t done by Friday. Yikes.

Starting this semester, perhaps you could try and get on optimistic you’s good side. If you can’t do it on your own, that’s no problem. Here are three apps for fighting everyone’s inner slacker that will help you keep focused, form habits and stay organized.

1. Forest

At only $1.99 in the App Store and free to download in the Google Play Store, Forest is the perfect application for those who just can’t seem to put down their phone, and shake their phone addiction,  no matter what. The idea behind the app is pretty simple—press a button, plant a tree.

Say you have something that you really need to focus on, like a paper that’s due in three hours, but Instagram and Snapchat are calling your name. Simply open up Forest and plant a tiny, virtual tree. Said tree will grow while you do what you need to do; if you leave the app before your set time has elapsed, your tree withers away and dies. If you are using the app every day for all of your tasks, you will eventually have a thriving digital forest, along with a nice sense of responsibility and achievement.

As the proverbial icing on the cake, staying on task with Forest is great for both you and the environment. The Forest team is partnered with a tree-planting organization called Trees for the Future. When users spend the virtual coins that they earn on planting trees, the people behind Forest donate to Trees for the Future and create planting orders.

This app is a win-win, because not only are you getting things done, but you’re also doing a little bit of world-saving while you’re at it. Go you!

2. Streaks

Now that you’re a focusing pro, let’s address the issue of forming and keeping a routine. More than your run-of-the-mill to-do list, Streaks was created to help its users form good habits and break bad ones.

Track a maximum of twelve tasks that you want to complete, on whatever days you want, and build up a streak of consecutive progress. Maybe you need to remember to study or you’re trying to eat less junk food, Streaks can help with that. Every time you complete a task, your streak is extended and eventually, a new habit will be formed. If you break the chain of good progress, the streak on that task will reset to zero days.

Trying to avoid the freshman fifteen, or just stay healthy in general? Streaks pairs with the iOS Health app and it can automatically track your health goals. With Streaks and Health, you can count your steps, measure your heart rate, record your blood pressure and more.

No need to track your progress because Streaks will do all of that for you; it even reminds you when it’s time to complete a task. It’s like having your own pocket tutor, personal trainer and assistant all rolled up into one award-winning, highly customizable application.

Streaks works hand-in-hand with Forest to keep you on task. As of now, this $4.99 app is only in the App Store, but the developers are gauging interest for Android users.

3. Awesome Note 2

At this point, you might be plenty focused and on task, but are you organized? If not, BRID’s $3.99 iOS app, Awesome Note 2, is the app you need. This app is the king of all organization applications because it is for more than just note-taking. With it, a neat and stylish notebook, to-do list and calendar are all in the palm of your hand to help keep your life in working order.

Writing clear, effective notes is a breeze with Awesome Note, courtesy of the additional capability of adding photos, voice recordings, drawings and more. Write notes, a diary, checklists and anything else you may need without having to worry about things getting cluttered, because the app lets you manage your notes with folders. You can even view your notes in various ways, including thumbnails, list and detailed view.

Always be on time with the app’s schedule management features, including a calendar (with all major holidays and whatever else you add) and a to-do view that lets you manage a day’s events easily. Easily find events and notes, with the app’s search feature.

Share and sync your notes and calendar over iCloud, to Evernote, the iOS Calendar and AirDrop. On the contrary, if you want to keep your notes a secret, it’s no problem. Awesome Note has a password and Touch-ID feature that helps make sure you’re the only one that can access it.

By making use of Forest, Streaks, Awesome Note 2 and little bit of your own determination, it should be easy to stay on track this semester, and for future semesters to come. Kick those jerks distraction, procrastination and disorder to the curb. They were never really your friends anyway. Stay on you’re A-game all semester long with these three apps and make optimistic, day-one you proud; unless, of course, you have phone storage issues (it happens to the best of us), then you just need to try a little harder. I can’t really help you with that, but good luck!

Leave a Reply