Noodle App of the Month: 30/30 (July 2015)

Whether you want to learn how to build a website from the bottom up or translate a novel collaboratively with someone across the world, you can be sure that there is an educational app that will make your learning swift and effective.

Education technology is quickly transforming our computers and devices, and innovative online tools are revolutionizing the ways we learn.

To help you stay up-to-date on the best new apps, the Noodle team of educational Experts has created the App of the Month series, in which we share new insights into the latest advances in the world of ed tech.

This month, we shine the spotlight on 30/30, an app that can help you tackle tasks efficiently and effectively.

30/30

What is it?

30/30 is an engaging productivity app that puts your to-do list on a timer. The premise of the app is that you should break your work into bit-sized chunks, focusing on one task for 30 minutes, and then taking a break by doing something else for another 30 minutes.

The app doesn’t limit you selecting 30-minute increments, however. You can add up to ten days’ worth of tasks to your list, and set the amount of time you want to spend on each item of your list. When the ticking timer gets to zero, your phone buzzes or rings, letting you know it’s time to move on to the next task.

Who would love it?

If you find yourself spending too much time on any task — answering emails, doing the readings for the class you love (but not others), or scrolling through your social media feeds — then 30/30 offers a great way to stay on track. For high school or college students (and even for those beyond formal education), 30/30 provides an effective way to balance multiple responsibilities and be sure that you are spending your time wisely.

What makes it captivating?

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As the timer ticks down, you can add or subtract time to your task, as well as move the task to the bottom of your list, mark it as complete, or delete it.

While there are hundreds of apps that attempt to solve scheduling and productivity problems, 30/30 stands out because of its easy-to-use interface. With many other time-management apps, editing a list and adding tasks can become a time-consuming to-do in itself. 30/30 avoids this by allowing users to create and manage tasks through a variety of intuitive gestures — tapping to edit, swiping to delete, shaking to undo — all of which take up less time than rearranging and sorting different lists.

30/30 also allows for varying degrees of flexibility. As you watch your timer tick down, there are buttons that allow you to add or subtract time from a certain task if you realize your original estimate was inaccurate. If you want to be strict with yourself, you can click on the lock symbol, which doesn’t allow you to delete a task from your list without going through several extra steps.

Finally, 30/30 lets you do a lot with the lists of tasks you create. You can share a list (a handy feature if you are studying with a group) or make a list repeat on a loop.

How is it making an impact?

While the pull of work can be strong, taking breaks is essential to productivity. In an article for the Scientific American, author Ferris Jabr synthesizes dozens of studies showing the substantial benefits of interspersing rest with work. For instance, Jabr mentions the study Rest Is Not Idleness — co-authored by Noodle Expert Mary Helen Immordino-Yang — which illustrates that while our brains are “idle,” or wandering, our mind is busy engaging in activities that improve our mental health, help us become more creative, and build our code of ethics. Jabr also talks about other ways the brain benefits when taking breaks, including by consolidating memories, rehearsing newly-learned skills, and regaining focus.

Forgetting to take breaks is easy when you are busy, but it’s ultimately detrimental to your overall productivity. 30/30 helps you be sure that you are giving yourself the time you need to replenish your brain before rereading your essay or hitting the books. The app’s effectiveness has been recognized by several publications, including the Washington Post and CNet.

Check out the Noodle App of the Month for June 2015, Gapminder, which makes statistics fun.

Noodle has no ties to or affiliations with 30/30.