Last updated: Jun 24, 2016

I’ve always been a procrastinator. Studying for high school history exams, calling the dreaded cable company, scrubbing my bathroom—you name it, I’ve said, “I’ll do it tomorrow.” So when I heard about a popular task-manager app called 30/30 (iOS), I had to try it out. 

What it does

The app lets you schedule your to-do list in timed intervals. The simple concept: You work on a task for 30 minutes; the app alerts you when your time is up, and you get a 30-minute break (hence the name 30/30).  

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The pros

The interface is so bright and pleasing to the eye, it’s hard not to feel motivated when you open it. I had fun color coding and labeling my tasks with mini icons (say, silverware for the week's meal prep, a piggy bank for managing my budget). You can also choose how you want to be alerted—with a ring, a vibration, or a visual notification. (I found the ring worked best, so I didn't, you know, procrastinate by checking my phone.) If you finish a task early, you touch the check mark, which brings you to the next item on your to-do list. Or, if the timer goes off and you are in the zone, you can hit '+5m' to give yourself an extra five minutes. 


Knowing that I was being timed really motivated me to get stuff done. And knowing that I only had to work in 30-minute bursts helped me get through the really daunting chores (like my taxes). I'd find myself thinking, You probably only have 20 minutes left on the clock, so get as much done as you can and then you can watch an episode of Friends!

I have an unhealthy habit of scrolling through Instagram and obsessively clicking through Snapchat stories to avoid whatever it is I don't want to do. But with this app, I felt like I was always on a mission to beat the clock.

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The cons

One of the app's downsides is that it’s confusing at first. It took me a little while to figure out how to set my tasks and change my settings. But once you get the hang of it, it’s pretty self-explanatory. My other complaint is that there are a lot of interactive options for managing your to-dos. On each task, you can 2-finger tap, 3-finger tap, touch and hold, shake the phone, spread your fingers apart vertically, and more. Each kind of tap and swipe does something different, and there are so many options, it's a little overwhelming.

Who should try it

If you have a serious problem focusing, 30/30 might be yet another source of distraction. But for people like me who need a little extra motivation to get things done, the ticking clock may be just the amount of pressure you need.