We’ve all had those moments of promising to only check YouTube for five minutes and somehow that ended up being two hours. BaTo.Life is an online application which allows you to set up breaks—and properly enforce them. After setting the amount of time for your break, the website will count down. After the timer runs out, the tabs you have opened will be closed, and an alarm will tell you to get back to work. Sort of like an aggressive parent but ... hey, it gets the job done. Literally.
Planting trees may seem like an odd reward, but it sure is a new, innovative take on combating procrastination! The app forces you to keep it open for a pre-selected amount of time, which lets you grow a virtual tree if you don’t go out of the app. Should you exit, your “tree” dies, but if you keep it open for the entire time, your tree is planted in the game. What is interesting is that Forest partners with tree planters: coins that you earn from being focused are partially donated to their tree-planting partners in real life.
FocusWriter offers a very minimalistic, distraction-free writing document that you can use when typing up essays or papers. Leaving only a solid color background or simple wallpaper, the program can remove those tempting tabs open next to your still very-much blank Google doc. It also offers timers, alarms, and daily goals that further ensure that you can finish your 20-page assignment on time.
4. If All Else Fails ... The Excel Sheet Method
Personal tip: While strict, this method has worked quite well for me when I am under a tight time frame to get work done. Simply open up an Excel sheet and label three columns for “Event,” “Start Time," and “End Time." Spend a couple minutes “assigning” all the time that you would have in a day, including blocking out time for short breaks, specific assignments, and other activities you have planned for the day. Follow the schedule as strictly as you can, and even if you can’t finish a task, move on, and revisit it later if possible. Though pressurizing, this method of fighting procrastination has been highly effective for many people—especially when it’s 12AM at Bobst and your paper is due at 9:30AM.