“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it,” Ferris Bueller famously said.
If Bueller’s remark was true back in 1986, it’s even more accurate in 2014. Most people have two, three, or four screens vying for their attention every day, not to mention people to talk to, meetings to attend, and calls to make. It can seem almost impossible to keep track of everything.
That’s why there are to-do list and calendar apps pre-installed on almost every smartphone and hundreds of alternative apps available for you to download. There’s the standard Any.do calendar app, UpTo Calendar‘s social organizer, and many more. It’s just so hard to keep up with everything.
Timeful is intended to make you schedule things, give them due dates, and get them done.
We sat down to talk with Timeful’s creators Yoav Shoham, Dan Ariely, and Jacob Bank before testing the app out.
“Timeful is our attempt to do things better in the world,” Dan told Digital Trends. “We can add continuously to our to-do lists, but it doesn’t help. We squander that time of high-capacity productivity.”
According to Timeful’s creators, most people suffer from “Structured Procrastination,” which essentially means that we make calendars and to-do lists so we can feel as though we’re being productive, even though we’re not.
“We do things that give us the satisfaction of false progress,” Dan told us. “We make to-do lists, cross things off, and so on. We do easy things because they give us a sense of progress.”
The creators of Timeful hope that their app will truly make a difference and help people manage their time better. Timeful is intended to make you schedule things, give them due dates, and get them done.
“Time is more important than money and much harder to manage than money,” Yoav explained. “Tools like calendars don’t include all tasks. We need a place where everything can make itself known.”
The app syncs with all the calendar apps you have on your iPhone, making it easier to have all your info in one place. You can also add tasks to your to-do list using the plus sign at the bottom of the app. Then, you simply drag tasks from to-do list to specific spots in your calendar.
Timeful’s creators told us that the app uses what they call an “intention genome” and “intention rank” to recognize your intentions better. That way, the app can predict when you are most likely to do a task and suggest that you do it at that time. For example, you certainly can’t do laundry while you’re at work, so the app knows to schedule that task for the hours it knows you aren’t working and days when you’ll most likely be at home.
“Good habits are the things that don’t make it into the to-do list or calendar, but once you schedule the habit, we’ll continue to find time for it.”
In addition to reminding me that it’s time for my 11 o’clock meeting, Timeful told me when to breath, to stretch, drink water, or do other good things for myself. The app helps users set wellness goals with the Habits function. This is perhaps the most novel and intriguing part of the app. It was certainly my favorite part. Timeful reminded me to take the time to draw, read a good book, or just relax.
“Good habits are the things that don’t make it into the to-do list or calendar,” Jacob told us. “But once you schedule the habit, we’ll continue to find time for it.”
Timeful built several important habits into the app, so you don’t even have to come up with new ones if you don’t want to. Habits show up as gray suggestions with a red heart icon. Once you accept the habit and place it into your schedule, it turns red. Then later, after you’ve accomplished the wellness goal, the heart turns red and the rest fades to gray. You can tell Timeful to remind you to do good things for yourself on certain days of the week and a specific number of times each week. So if you always get stressed at work and need to be reminded to take a deep breath, Timeful will alert you every work day.
I noticed that once I scheduled reminders to take a deep breath, drink water, or stretch during the work day, Timeful kept suggesting that I continue these habits the next day. After the first week of using the app, I was drinking more water, pausing to breathe, and getting a lot more done.
For those of you who love to color code things (myself included), Timeful has added several different categories, each of which is assigned a color. Blue is for personal tasks, green is for work, yellow is for fun, orange-red is for important things, and magenta is for custom tasks.
Although Timeful is only available for iOS at the moment, the founders do have plans to expand to Android and the Web.