We’ve been churning out posts on spring cleaning for the connected educator this month to keep our teacher friends uber organized.
In that vein, there are a four productivity apps that we’ve been using our end that merit a blog shout-out. These apps are good for educators, students, parents, or just busy humans, in general.
I recommend Paper for the creative (and potentially absent-minded) spirit who wants to do a better job committing ideas, sketches, and notes to word before it slips away. I see Paper as a notetaking and sketch app above all else, but it’s more comprehensive than that. It does a nice job saving phone numbers and to-dos. It’s the virtual sticky note that other programs have tried to manufacture, just way more successful at replicating the feeling of “oh! I have an idea I should jot down” digitally.
Shout-out to Chalkup CEO Justin Chando for introducing me to IFTTT. This app allows a user to create a set of conditional statements (they call ‘em “recipes”) that trigger an automatic chain of events.
For example, you can create a recipe that adds items to your calendar when you receive a confirmation email from your doctor’s office. It can add a note on a Slack channel or email your colleagues an update when a specific event takes place. You can set up a system in which you receive a text when you’re mentioned on Twitter. You can even draft a recipe that will sent you a text or email when you’ve spent more hours at school than you want to - a friendly “it’s time to go home” buzz.
Maybe sometimes when we should be grading, planning, or emailing we’re looking at Instagram instead. Maybe sometimes a platform that blocks certain sites/apps for you while you should be working would be a huge distraction-buster.
No shame in this. Just a little digital help to keep you focused.
I consider myself a bit of a time management authority. I’ve read the books, I’ve overhauled my inbox, and I’ve tested different schedules for my workweek. So now that I’ve tooted my own horn, I’ll say this: I get block scheduling. I understand that for many people breaking your day into chunks - or devoting yourself to just 30 minutes of a task - is the only way you’re going to get something done.
With this app, you set up a list of tasks and a corresponding length of time. When you start the timer, it will tell you when to move on to the next task. It’s really simple but it gets the job done. That’s probably why I like it.
This app is an on-demand concierge. It’s almost like a real-life Siri who can help you track down resources, restaurants, register for conferences, or nab plane tickets when you’re too busy focusing on school to order dinner or make a dentist appointment for yourself. I really don’t know how else to describe it other than….magic. I get the name, now. I hear it.