App Spotlight

Studying with Apps

There are many benefits of using online tools to manage study habits. One major advantage is accessibility. Students can have their study materials and schedule with them at all times so that they can use their free time wisely anywhere they go. Studying works well in short, focused bursts over an extended period of time, so having everything at the touch of a button can really maximize the quality and quantity of study time. Another plus of using technology is the advanced features that it can provide to help students visually track their progress and maintain a collection of tasks or study tools.

There are thousands of apps and websites out there to help students manage their study habits. Some are primarily geared toward task management, while others are designed more for assessing knowledge of the content.

When considering a technological trend for studying, pay attention to these important criteria:

  1. Accessibility
  2. Adaptability
  3. Multiple Review Modes
  4. Centralized location

Kid Tested, TO Approved Apps

Erica MechlinskiApp Spotlight


By Kristin Backert-Evans

One of the great things about technology is that if you’re looking for something, the internet probably has it. Recently, one of my students introduced me to Ambient-Mixer, a website where you can listen to “relaxing music, ambient atmospheres, and astonishing sound effects.” I was a little skeptical at first because there are tons of sites out there that play classical music to help stimulate the brain and tune out distractions, but Ambient-Mixer takes it several steps further by allowing YOU to create the perfect soundscape that will enable you to focus.

Are you a huge Harry Potter fan? Well, take a look at the Ravenclaw Common Room template. You can set the volume for individual sounds, such as pages flipping, the wind blowing, and a fire burning. Or maybe you’re more of a Disney fan? Check out Belle’s Library, where you can adjust the volume on a grandfather clock, a chair creaking, and footsteps. There are templates for everything! From ‘Autumn Forest’ to ‘Victorian London’ to ‘Inside the TARDIS,’ you’re guaranteed to find a mix of sounds that works best for you. And these are just the templates – you have the freedom to upload your own audio files if there are certain sounds that you know relax you, or you can choose from existing ones on the site and create your own perfect ambient mix.

Background noises can increase productivity and reduce stress, which makes them ideal for students who are struggling to tackle workloads in this age of virtual learning. And even though I’m not currently a student, I’ve found that this website works great for me too! I never would have thought that listening to sounds like “milk and honey ambient pad” and “pre-thunderstorm” would help me better focus on my work. So the next time you’re having a hard time concentrating on a task, try perusing the options on Ambient-Mixer until you find your ideal sounds!

Erica MechlinskiAmbient-Mixer

Time Management Apps

By Colette Hapi

Time management skills are essential for all aspects of life. Whether you’re writing a paper for school or juggling Thanksgiving dinner, knowing how to manage your time appropriately will make things run much more smoothly. Practicing these skills at a young age will allow you to learn how to work independently, use time effectively, and complete tasks by the deadline. Here are some great apps students can use to improve their time management skills:

  • Rescue Time (AndroidApple): This application sends you weekly reports that allow you to pinpoint the things that are stealing your time. For example, maybe you spend two hours idly browsing clothing sites, or maybe you open up social media sites ten times an hour. Once you know where your time is going, you can use Rescue Time’s distraction blockers (i.e., block your access to these time-stealing sites) to increase productivity.
  • Toggl (AndroidApple): Toggl allows you to track how much time you spend on projects and tasks. This is a great way for students to see what sorts of assignments or classes demand the most of their time and why; for example, maybe Algebra worksheets consistently take a long time to complete because the content is difficult. With that knowledge, students can then appropriately budget the correct amount of time they need to finish a task.
  • Pocket (AndroidApple): This app is great to help students stay focused on the task at hand. Many times, students get sidetracked by something that pops up on their screen, like a new TikTok video or an article. With this app, you can place the item into your “saves” and review it at a later and more convenient time. This way, you’re less distracted and can focus on your immediate work.
  • Be Focused Timer (Apple): Be Focused provides a handy way to track blocks of time and your past work history. You can set a timer to work for a specific amount of time on a task and then set a timer to take a short break. This app allows you to manage your tasks, track your goals, and customize work interval duration to maximize your productivity.

There are dozens of time management apps out there, so go out and explore! Since we’re living in a digital world, using apps to our benefit can help us feel more in control of how we spend our time. If you’ve found other time management apps that have been useful for you and your family, let us know.

Erica MechlinskiTime Management Apps


A crucial part of doing well in school is knowing what assignments you need to complete on a daily basis, as well as whether you have any tests or projects coming up. However, since teachers can post information in multiple places — the whiteboard in a classroom, an online portal, in emails — it can sometimes be difficult to remember what exactly you have to work on. There are many apps out there that can help you recall the tasks you need to complete, but right now Thinking Organized is really loving Momentum.

Momentum is actually a Chrome extension, and it pops up when you turn on your computer. You can customize it in several ways, but we recommend using the daily focus and to-do list features. The daily focus helps you prioritize what you want to work on; perhaps it’s studying for a big Chemistry test, making an outline for an essay, or emailing a teacher. This top priority will show up on your homepage, kindly prompting you to accomplish this task. For the to-do list, add in your daily assignments so that you have a clear idea of what you need to complete. You can also add in due dates for each task to help you better manage your time.

In a nutshell, Momentum can help you:

  • Organize and prioritize your daily and long-term tasks
  • Track your progress on academic assignments
  • Learn to identify the tasks that need to be attended to first
  • Budget your time as you estimate how long your daily tasks should take to complete

Have you given Momentum a try yet? If so, let us know!

Erica MechlinskiMomentum

Our Picks: Three Summer Learning Apps/Games for T(w)eens

Let’s face it—teens love their screen time. But, it doesn’t need to be wasted on Netflix or Fortnite. Check out our top three summer picks for games and apps that will keep your teen interested (while building executive function skills at the same time!).

Erica MechlinskiOur Picks: Three Summer Learning Apps/Games for T(w)eens

Smartwatch 101

By Jennifer Sax

If you are not up-to-date on the latest “smart” technology, a smartwatch is essentially a mini smartphone for your wrist. They are made by a variety of manufacturers and function as a companion to your smartphone. In addition to answering phone calls, reading text messages, tracking steps, and controlling music, there are many features that may help you with your organization, memory, and time management skills. Smartwatches are an excellent tool for individuals with executive dysfunction, so we’ve highlighted a few features that are sure to help strengthen these vitals skills.

Erica MechlinskiSmartwatch 101

Three Websites for Improving Productivity

Many of the students who work with Thinking Organized struggle to maintain attention to a task. Often times they zone out without realizing it, or they’re uninterested in the material and cannot absorb it. As a result, homework and tasks are incomplete, and the students (and their family) are left in a whirlwind of panic. So how can these students avoid this panic and better concentrate on a task? By checking out the great websites below!

Erica MechlinskiThree Websites for Improving Productivity


Summer has arrived, so this month we will be focusing on an educational app that is also tons of fun. If you have never heard of the app Hopscotch, get your iPhone or iPad ready to hit the download button.

While a price tag of $9.99 may seem expensive for purchasing an app, the endless possibilities and educational value offered by this one make it worth it. It won the “Parents’ Choice Gold Award” in addition to the “Children’s Technology Review: Best Educational Technology” distinction and has been featured in many well-known publications (The New York Times, Parents Magazine), so you can rest assured that both parents and kids love this app!

Erica MechlinskiHopscotch

Tomato Timer: The Tomato Technique for Time Management

Many students (and adults!) struggle with time management and sometimes it can feel as though there are not enough hours in the day to cross everything off of the to-do list. Part of the reason time management can be so tricky is because time is a difficult concept to grasp and it is very open ended. When students get home from school, they leave behind the rigid schedule of the school day and suddenly have hours to fill on their own. It can be very easy to get swept up in gaming, social media, or hanging out with friends after a long day of classes and extracurricular activities.

Erica MechlinskiTomato Timer: The Tomato Technique for Time Management


Has the sentence, “I barely slept at all last night” become commonplace when talking with your students or children who have ADHD? It is not unusual to hear this coming from many of the students I work with here at Thinking Organized. Fortunately, there are many apps available to help students fall asleep, track their sleep, and wake up. One app, SleepBot, helps do all three!

Erica MechlinskiSleepBot


When choosing among thousands of time management productivity apps in the app store, try looking for these two important criteria:

  1. Organization Made Easy
  2. Versatility

The basic version of Evernote can be downloaded for free from the iTunes App Store and is available for your phone, tablet and computer.

Erica MechlinskiEvernote