Using Technology to Stay Productive

Spencer Linsner—Since I posted last, the spring semester and all the new classes that go with it have been in full swing for a few weeks now. But, despite all these new beginnings, some things just don’t change. For people like me, that includes procrastination and disorganization. I often forget to write down what work I’ve been assigned for class, and when I do get around to starting said work, Facebook, Twitter, Netflix, YouTube, and Reddit (especially Reddit) all beckon with promises of mindless fun for hours on end.

So, to the end of helping others avoid the pitfalls I have spelled out above, I will share my secrets for keeping productive with the help of two (well, technically three) awesome apps.

First up is iStudiezPro, an app for iOS devices and Mac computers. Now before you question the ability of an app with a name as grossly misspelled as this to help you in academic matters, hear me out. This app is a virtual planner that can fit in your pocket, and is capable of assigning and organizing all kinds of information about your classes. It can remind you when you have a class coming up, keep track of upcoming assignments and exams, calculate your GPA once you get those assignments and exams back and enter their grades, record when your professor’s office hours are, and much more. Plus, if you create a free account, you can sync data between your iPhone/iPod, iPad, and Mac (don’t have a Mac, so I can’t vouch for that, but iPhone/iPad works just fine!) It costs about 2 or 3 bucks, but it’s worth every penny, and you can find it here.

Next is one that is very drastic, but extremely helpful if you find your computer is more often used to procrastinate than work. If you’re running Windows, it’s called ColdTurkey, and if you’re on a Mac, it’s SelfControl. Designed by different people, both have the same ruthless agenda; you compile a blacklist of sites and programs you want to block yourself from (or on SelfControl, if you’re really intense, you can block everything except the sites on a whitelist), set a time frame during which you want the block to occur, press OK, and cry as you realize all those crack-like sites that you used to goof off on when you should have been studying are ripped from your grasp. Having said that, please recognize this caveat about these programs: ONCE YOU HAVE STARTED A SESSION IN COLDTURKEY OR SELFCONTROL, THERE IS BASICALLY NO WAY TO STOP IT UNTIL YOUR TIME IS UP. BE CAREFUL. I CAN’T STRESS THAT LAST PART ENOUGH. When I showed a friend SelfControl and she finished her homework 45 minutes sooner than she expected, she was furious that I had barred her from accessing Tumblr for nearly an hour. I tried to point out that I also managed to cut her time spent working by an hour, but she was inconsolable. Oh well. You can find the link to get ColdTurkey here, and SelfControl here.

Well, that’s all for today. And to drive home the necessity of these apps, here’s an awesome video I found while trolling YouTube when I could have been studying:

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