Are productivity apps worth it?

Image of phone with productivity apps
Gisselle Reyes/Staff

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Every time I check my calendar, I have a mini freak-out at how fast this semester is going by! As we head into the final stretch, the “To Do” column on my bCourses seems to have doubled in length. “Midterm,” “essay” and “group project,” fill up my screen and dreams at night. Wanting to optimize how I could study and manage my time, I reflected on the different types of productivity apps that I’ve used and how effective (or ineffective) they were for my productivity. 

Timer apps

From app/website blocking applications such as the Flora app that prevents you from checking other apps on your phone to the Pomodoro technique apps, timer apps either work for you or don’t. While some of us already have the self-control to put our phones down, others sometimes need a hand. Although I feel like I’ve tried them all, I have yet to find a timer app that I didn’t just bypass or delete so that I scroll through Twitter whenever I wanted. My addiction to retweeting memes might be something I need to work on and can’t rely on an app to fix.

Planner apps

Recently, I have opted out of paper planners and gone fully digital. It was a hard transition, but one I definitely recommend. With everything being online (the Canvas bCourses app, PDF readings for class, e-vites), planner apps have been handy and plugging in dates has kept me super organized! Due dates and deadlines rarely slip past me, now that I’ve synced everything and can get notifications right on my phone to remind me about a meeting I would’ve forgotten about otherwise. Thank you, Google Calendar!

Quizlet and other flashcard-type apps

The summer before I started college, a friend of mine told me that flashcards were the secret to success. I didn’t take them seriously and never set aside the time to make any. But last year, I started rewriting my notes and key ideas onto flashcards. I found that they were super helpful to retain information. This year, I took it a step further and used Quizlet. It cut down the time it took to make the cards and made studying super accessible for wherever I was.

Hydration reminder apps

Sometimes, I could go hours without remembering to have a drink of water. Getting in your required liters of water is key, especially when you’re cramming for an exam or knocking out a project on the day it’s due. Irrespective of whether you’re in study mode or not, hydration apps are a must! I personally use Plant Nanny since the plants I get to grow based on my water consumption are just too cute.

As someone who can admit they’re addicted to their phone, I’m glad some good has come out of it. Productivity apps can seem gimmicky or questionable, but I’ve definitely found some winners!

Contact Marissa Boling at [email protected].