In a world full of social media and other digital distractions, technology can either be a huge time drain, or it can be used to our advantage. Whether you want to improve your family or social life, your work performance, or your study habits, you can do it with the help of a good productivity app.
I'm going to share a few of my favourite productivity apps below, but first let's look at the benefits of using a productivity app to track your habits and goals.
Why use an app to track your goals?
In his bestselling book Atomic Habits, James Cleary states, "You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems." Using a productivity app gives you a smart system for organising your goals and guiding you back on track when you get off course.
If you're used to to-do lists and daily planners – or if you don't record your goals at all – it may initially feel a bit awkward using a productivity app to track your goals and habits.
However, there are several major advantages to using an app rather than a to-do list (or worse, no habit-tracking system at all):
My top-recommended productivity apps for students.
Now let's check out three apps that can help you achieve your goals!
Available for iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch, Strides is an app for tracking your goals and habits. The free version of the app lets you track three items.
There are four main ways you can track your goals in Strides:
One of the main strengths of Strides is it’s abundance of visual data, with motivating progress reports, success rates, and pace lines to motivate you and keep you accountable. The app even gives you a projected finish date for some types of goals, readjusting when you work ahead or get off track.
2. Toggl Track
Tracking how much time you spend on various activities can be an eye-opening exercise. For instance, you might keep track of hours spent studying, practicing an instrument, or even watching Netflix. Armed with this information, you can reclaim some of your lost time and put it toward achieving your goals.
Toggl Track is my favourite app for tracking time spent on any activity. To use the app, you simply log an activity and click the timer, and Toggl will start counting, stopwatch-style.
You can use Toggl on desktop (Windows and Mac) or mobile (iOS and Android). There are also browser extensions available for Chrome and Firefox users. The free version of Toggl gives you:
Habitica is a free and open-source app for setting habits and boosting productivity. The app, designed like a role-playing game (RPG), uses gamification to motivate you and make goal setting fun.
Just like in a video game, you can level up your character by checking off tasks. As you progress in your goals, you'll unlock new game features like armour, pets, skills, and quests. You'll also earn "Gold," which you can put toward in-game or custom rewards. For instance, you might reward yourself with a night out with friends after a successful week of study.
If you need an extra layer of accountability, you can join a Habitica party or guild and collaborate or compete with your friends and other users of the app.
In addition to its web app, Habitica has mobile apps available for iOS and Android.
Do you struggle with goal setting?
If you find yourself struggling to consistently follow through on your goals, you're not alone: Most people can benefit from a helping hand in this area, especially busy students. A productivity app can help you get back valuable time by eliminating distractions and keeping you on course. Give it a shot!
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