Research shows the average smartphone user touches their phones over 2,600 times a day! We put together recommendations of favorite tools among our team and our users:
ATTENTION MANAGEMENT TOOLS:
1. Self Control
SelfControl is a free no-frills application for MacOS. It blocks distracting sites for a fixed amount of time and there’s simply no getting around the controls.
“This app got me through late night papers and work reports in high school, college, and grad school. It’s a very basic app, but that’s what makes it so effective: there’s no thinking required. I’ll set it for an hour to block the web pages I procrastinate with on my computer so I have no choice but to start the task I’m supposed to be working on.” - Cherish team member.
Centered is a productivity app for macOS that helps users get in the flow and finish tasks faster. The app provides mindfulness and time management tips and tools (including a distraction reminder) to help users find their Flow States sooner, and stay there longer.
“I’m new to this app but love it so far. What’s interesting is that it isn't just a to do list or website blocker. When you hit play on a task, Centered turns into a mini-player that reminds you what your task is, how much time is left, and calls you out when you’re not staying focused (aka if you’re on facebook but claim to be writing a paper). It also starts to play ambient music in the background to help you focus. It’s shockingly effective.” - Cherish team member
Forest is a popular app that helps people beat their phone addiction and manage their time in an interesting and pleasant way. Users can earn credits by not using their cell phones and plant real trees around the world with the credits. With Forest, users spend less time on their cell phones, focus on what’s more important in their lives, and keep our environment green. There’s also a desktop chrome extension version.
"I’m so in love with this app. I love watching my tree grow and it helps me really focus. It actually makes me feel bad for using my phone because you’d kill your tree if you navigate away from the app. You get more beautiful and interesting trees if you set the app for a longer period of time, and you can even use it together with your team to grow forests together.” - Cherish Team Member
4. Stay Focused
This is a chrome extension that works like Screen Time, where you set a budget on distracting sites and it blocks it after you’ve reached your limit. It's highly configurable, allowing you to block or allow entire sites, specific subdomains, specific paths, specific pages, even specific in-page content (videos, games, images, forms, etc).
“The best part is that it allows access to sites I need but may still lbe distracting. Like if I need to write a paper about Reddit… I don’t want to block all of Reddit but I definitely shouldn’t be on video game threads. I like that it counts down how much time you have left in your budget for something so it really makes me reconsider whether I need to be on that website right then.” - Teen, 16
PomoDone can be used on desktop and mobile to enforce the Pomodoro technique ® . It works on the top of your current task management service (various todo lists, Trello, Evernote, etc) so set up is fast and easy.
“My tutor taught me the Pomodoro Technique. I’m a huge procrastinator, and Pomodoros help me focus because the tasks are only ‘25 minutes big’. It takes some time to get used to, and having an app like PomoDone helps so I don’t have to keep setting a physical timer, plus it reminds me to take a break.”
- Teen, 19
6. Rescue Time
RescueTime helps you understand where you spend your time on your computer. It’s like a budget tracker for time spent on different categories such as email, composition (e.g, Microsoft Word), and distractions (e.g, Youtube). You can also optimize your days for maximum efficiency, balance and happiness using the data of how you spend your time.
"Everyone in our family uses RescueTime to track time spent on computers. It keeps us honest and it’s great for when you aren’t sure how much time your kids spend on the computer—or you suspect they play games when they’re not supposed to. Like ScreenTime on phones, this app allows you to lock certain activities after a certain time period." - Parent of 2 teens
Yep, some good old fashion paper on walls sounds silly, but having a visual reminder or two in your work environment can help remind you to stay motivated
“I know it sounds a bit old fashioned, but I literally put up notes or cute print outs for my girls who are doing online school. They say things like ‘Keep going, you’ve got this’, ‘You are loved’, and ‘stop procrastinating’ and it really seems to work!” - Parent of 3 teens
Any.do is a To-Do List, Calendar, Planner, Tasks & Reminders App with over 25M users.
“It’s got a beautiful, clean interface that allows you to see things in Calendar and Kanban view, add tasks from Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant, and group tasks into different groups. It’s fast and easy to add tasks, intuitive to organize, and has great features if you want to get really technical about how to organize things. It’s really all that you’d need in a to-do list manager ” - Cherish team member
9. Tick Tick
TickTick helps you make the most of your day by following the Get Things Done (GTD) methodology. Can be used to track to-dos, habits, and collaborations with other people.
“I chose TickTick because it’s a super simple but versatile list maker. The design is minimalist, and it uses natural language to make inputting tasks a breeze (e.g, "Pick up Daniel’s cake tomorrow at 1 pm’ becomes a task due at 1 pm). It works across all devices too, so it’s very convenient for people with multiple devices across work and home” - Cherish team member
Keep your tasks organized from anywhere with Todoist on all your devices. Everything stays in sync and accessible across every platform so you’ll never lose track of anything.
“It’s really a full featured to-do list app. It helps you monitor your productivity, organize everything you have to do, and even sync tasks with teammates or family. We use it at work and home, so it’s really convenient that all my to-dos are in one place. It works on all platforms and also syncs with Alexa, which we use at home, so I can even add things like grocery lists, hands free .” - Parent of 1
INFORMATION MANAGEMENT TOOLS
Easy note taking app that allows you to combine handwriting, photos and typing in a single note to bring your projects to life. Use a wide range of note-taking and sketching tools to capture every detail.
“I’ve tried many note taking apps and this is easily the best. It’s sensitive enough for writing on iPads to take great notes - it’s got the right feature to highlight, use different writing tools, and easily convert to typed text. It’s perfect for both school and work notes and it’s easy to organize so you can find and review your notes” - Cherish Team Member
All-in-one workspace where you can write, plan, collaborate and get organized. It allows you to take notes, add tasks, manage projects & more. “We run our entire remote team using Notion.
"It’s easy to template and keep everything uniformly formatted across team members. There are easy to use templates by Notion and other 3rd party sites, and you can create your own layouts and toolkit to fit your team or family’s work flow. I wish I had this when I was a student, it would've been so much easier to keep my life organized.” - Cherish Team Member
Online collaborative whiteboard that enables people to work together remotely. From brainstorming with digital sticky notes to planning and note taking, Miro is a great way to collaborate.
“The hardest part about doing creative work with a remote team is that it’s hard to think together in real time and get visual with your work. Miro is the closest thing to working together live with stickies, colors, and flexible templates to organize your thoughts. You can use it to plan, brainstorm, or just keep track of things across a team. I think it would also be great for school projects” - Cherish Team Member
14. One Tab
A free Chrome extension that converts all your browser tabs into links on just one page and helps free up computer memory when you're working with many browser tabs. It also allows you to restore the tabs if you’d like.
“I’m one of those people who has a million tabs open at any time. I open new tabs for research, things to remember, and things to read later. Honestly, I think most times I don’t even go back to most of the tabs, but I keep them open just in case. It does make my computer really slow, and my computer always sounds like it’s going to explode. One Tab is great because it saves all my tabs in one page and I don’t need to have so many tabs open. ”- Teen, 15
The essential planning tool for students available on iOS, watchOS, macOS, Android and Windows. Never miss another course, lecture and lab, track tasks and deadlines, plan homework, arrange assignments and much more!
“My school uses three different tools to manage our classes and none of them are great to be honest. Junior year is stressful enough with 7 classes and extracurriculars, and with online school it's easy to accidentally miss important assignments. A friend in college told me about this app and i’s clearly designed specifically for students (unlike all the other planners I tried). It helps me plan all of my work for the semester.” - Teen, 17