News, Science and Technology

24me app combats procrastination by acting as a personal assistant

A new app has developed a way to help students fight procrastination.

The iPhone app 24me added a feature called Procrastination Fighter, and it may have the potential to help college students by telling them when they have free time to complete their tasks.

24me is a free app that functions as a planner and personal assistant to help users get their to-do lists done. Through this app, users can add tasks such as “pay bills” or “call mom.” These tasks can be shared with others, should the task involve more than one person’s input.

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Courtesy 24me

Procrastination Fighter is part of the app’s most recent update. It uses a smart algorithm that works by learning patterns of a user’s behavior. When tasks are overdue, presumably as a result of procrastination, the app finds open spaces in the user’s schedule when those tasks can be completed.

In an informal survey of University of Miami students, 74 percent identified themselves as procrastinators, and 62 percent said they procrastinate “regularly” or “all the time.”

In the survey, 78 percent reported using calendars, and 67 percent use reminders as tools to help with time management.

Another 57 percent said procrastination had a moderate-to-high impact on their ability to meet responsibilities.

Liat Mordechay Hertanu is the chief marketing officer for 24me. She co-founded the app with her partner in life, Gilad Hertanu, after struggles with scheduling and an ADHD diagnosis.

“We’re parents of three and have very busy careers, both of us,” she said. “We’re overwhelmed by time management and everything else. Other than that, I was diagnosed in a way with ADHD when I was pregnant with my second child.”

She said the two searched for a tool to help her get things done, but to no avail.

“We couldn’t find any,” she said. “And the moment we couldn’t find it, we realized that it’s not just a problem for people like me with ADHD – it’s a common problem.”

She then took the idea of a virtual personal assistant to the next level by allowing the app to remind users not just to make a plan of things to do, but also to remind them to get those things done.

The app connects with service providers such as Pageonce and TaskRabbit to allow users to complete these real world tasks straight from their phones. For example, if it is your friend’s birthday, 24me will display a link to the friend’s Facebook page or to purchase a gift card. Or, if it is time to pay that bill, a link to pay it will appear next to the reminder on the app.

“It has lots of features that will help students during their studying,” Hertanu said. “But obviously, the product is not a niche [sic]. It enables different people with different lifestyles to use it.”

Senior Jessica Stockus said she would consider using the app.

“I have a very packed schedule,” Stockus said. “So I’m usually good at orienting when I need to do what. However, sometimes it’s good to put everything in one place and know when to get this or that done instead of just going to The Rat.”

Junior Parthiva Hirdaramani said he would “probably” consider using the app to help fight procrastination.

“Drake says procrastination is his weakness,” Hirdaramani said. “I think it’s mine, too.”

However, senior Mansoor Alsughayer said that procrastination is not so easily solved.

“Yes I would try [the app], but I don’t know if I’d keeping using it,” Alsughayer said. “I’ve tried using apps like that before, but I stopped and started procrastinating again. If you’re a procrastinator, it’s hard to stop, and I don’t think an app will help you. You need to find the source of the problem.”

24me is based in Israel and is used in more than 80 countries around the world, with its largest user base concentrated in the United States. The app has been featured by companies like Amazon and Google, and Apple named 24me one of the Best Apps of 2014.

For more information about 24me, visit twentyfour.me.

April 14, 2015

Reporters

S Molly Dominick


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