App or something to keep me on a schedule?
September 22, 2016 4:04 AM   Subscribe

I would like to have more time-based structure in my working day. Like, 8-9am is for email, 9-12 is for today's tasks, etc. But I don't have a good sense of time, so I forget that I should be switching from email to tasks in about 5 minutes, for example. I also get distracted easily, so I go research something to answer an email and end up doing something completely different, forgetting I'm supposed to be answering emails right now. Is there (a Windows 8 or Android) app for that?

When I was in school, the current classroom or teacher was a constant reminder of what class I'm in and the school bell was the notification to change classes. What would be the office equivalent of that? Do homeschooling families use something for such a purpose?

I'm leaning more toward a solution for Windows, because I look at my PC's screen constantly, and my phone screen only occasionally. Maybe something that would sit on top of other windows and show the current task and notify me whenever that task changes?
posted by gakiko to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
I have managed this with a "model calendar" in Google, which would work for you on either phone or desktop (both simultaneously). In Google calendar, you can create a new empty calendar, and put your daily schedule in it: M-F 8-9: email, M-F 9-12 tasks, etc. Add reminders if you want them. Now your phone and computer will tell you "email in 10 minutes," "email now," "tasks in 10 minutes," "tasks now" etc.
posted by instamatic at 4:10 AM on September 22, 2016 [7 favorites]

I use an Android phone with a bunch of alarms set up, each with its own music track for an alarm tone. Simple, easy, works well, don't even have to look at it.
posted by flabdablet at 4:12 AM on September 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

It's kind of old-school at this point, but I've found the Emergent Task Timer to be a simple and helpful tool for building discipline to stay on task. It still seems to work perfectly fine even though it was written 10 years ago. Start with entering the things that you want to be working on that day. Click on the "chime every 15 mins bubble" in the bottom left corner of the chart. When the chime goes off, go to the tab and click on that 15 minute bubble for whatever you were *actually* doing when the chime went off (whether it was what you were planning to do, or some other task, productive or not). It serves as both a tiny little nag to get back to what you meant to be doing, and a personal wall of success or shame depending on how well your execution of the day conforms to what you planned. There's also a PC standalone version if you want something that runs on your desktop but I've not tried it out.
posted by drlith at 7:52 AM on September 22, 2016 [3 favorites]

I know you want android, but I'm going to put this suggestion out there in case it is helpful for others. Plus this app is super new so I bet an android version isn't too far out.

Morning Routine by Ubicolor

I use it for my kid in the morning to help him get through his morning routine without having to be told by me what to do next (or having the "getting dressed" portion take 35 minutes). I think this could be used for exactly what you want since you set activities in a particular order and say how long you want them to last. The downside being not sure if you would want an app open on your phone for hours at a time.
posted by LKWorking at 9:11 AM on September 22, 2016

TimeTune is the Android app for this for me. It's very nice.
posted by lokta at 2:01 PM on September 23, 2016

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