Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Need a personal time assistant? Apps aim to improve productivity

13 August 2014, 11:57

Toronto - Too many things to do and not enough time to do them? New apps are designed to act as personal time assistants to get tasks done and improve productivity.

Timeful, a free iPhone app available in the United States and Canada, uses artificial intelligence to schedule tasks in users' calendars based on meetings and events they are already committed to. It also estimates how long it will take to do the tasks.

"Time is by far the most precious resource we have and by far the one we manage the poorest," said Dan Ariely, co-founder of the California-based company Timeful.

Users connect their iCloud, Google or Outlook calendars to integrate their existing meetings and events. They can also add to-do items and habits they would like to establish.

"There's a cacophony of things that say 'do me.' We provide algorithmic help to make them more concrete, because if it's not in your schedule, it's unlikely to get done," said Yoav Shoham, a co-founder of Timeful.

The app determines when users are most likely to complete certain tasks, and takes into account when they are most productive to schedule them, and factors the information into the algorithm. The app also calculates when and where a task is most likely to be completed.

"Time, like money, is about opportunity cost," said Ariely. "Every minute you're not focused during your productive hours is a waste."

Other personal assistant apps available that aim to make people more productive include Tempo for iPhone and Sunrise for iPhone and Android.

Although the apps do not create schedules, they include additional context about meetings, such as directions, to improve productivity. Tempo also provides drive time and insights about people and companies associated with each event.

But not everyone is convinced an app is needed for time management.

"An app could be helpful, but (productivity) is more about the discipline of planning more than it is about a particular tool," said Mark Ellwood, president of Toronto-based Pace Productivity.

"We have found time spent with planning correlates with results, regardless of whether someone is using an app, a piece of paper, or the back of an envelope," he added.

Ellwood said one possible risk of using an app is that it could take longer to manage tasks within it than it would just write it down, which would defeat the purpose.

He added that productivity is about focusing on high-priority items, which requires discipline.

"I could have the world's best to-do list or app and still procrastinate and still work on things that don't need to get done," he said.

"Ultimately it's the person that decides what to do with their time. The intelligence needs to be in your head, not the machine" he added.

- Reuters


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Wilson Ochieng
Apologise for attack on Auditor G...

Apologise for attack on Auditor General, President Uhuru Kenyatta is told by Kisumu Senator Anyang Nyong'o. Read more...

Submitted by
Wilson Ochieng
Quit if you can't fight corruptio...

An MP has told President Uhuru Kenyatta to quit office if he cannot fight corruption. Read more...

Submitted by
Wilson Ochieng
Investigate Uhuru, Ruto for corru...

Investigate President Uhuru Kenyatta and DP William Ruto's offices over corruption, CORD leader Raila Odinga has said. Read more...

Submitted by
Victor Tinto
Its a 1 horse race to State House...

Its a 1 horse race to State House, DP William Ruto has mocked the CORD Coalition. Read more...

Submitted by
Victor Tinto
Enjoy your time left in power, We...

CORD Co Principal Moses Wetangu'la has told the Jubilee Coalition to enjoy its last few months in power before it is voted out in the 2017 elections. Read more...

Submitted by
Victor Tinto
Stop hiding in State House and sa...

ODM MP's have called on President Uhuru Kenyatta to release drought aid and to stop sitting on public funds. Read more...