Student Wellness Services  /  Occupational Therapy  /  Time Management Resources

Time Management Resources and OT Favorites

June 30, 2022

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Favorite Programs and Resources

Below is a list of our favorite apps and resources! These are resources we have personally tried and enjoyed. As much as possible, we try to present apps that have useful features in the free version, though some apps have premium paid tiers or have a cost.

Note: This is solely for your information only. Caltech is not sponsored by, or otherwise affiliated with these programs. We just like these resources!


If you are on campus, check out a Kindle from the Caltech library to read these for free.

Did you know many libraries will let you borrow digital books for free? Link up your local library card with the Libby, by OverDrive app (Android and iOS) and check out digital books from your local library.

Top 5 Favorites (If I could only recommend 5 / Where to start):

  1. Tiny Habits: The Small Changes That Change Everything by BJ Fogg
  2. The Now Habit: A Strategic Program for Overcoming Procrastination and Enjoying Guilt-Free Play by Neil Fiore
  3. The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work by Shawn Achor
  4. I Will Teach You To Be Rich, Second Edition: No Guilt. No Excuses. No BS. Just a 6-Week Program That Works by Ramit Sethi
  5. Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams by Matthew Walker

These books are also great reads:

  • Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear
  • Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen
  • Before Happiness: The 5 Hidden Keys to Achieving Success, Spreading Happiness, and Sustaining Positive Change by Shawn Achor
  • Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don't Know by Adam Grant
  • The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do to Get More of It by Kelly McGonigal
  • Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life by Nir Eyal
  • Stolen Focus: Why You Can't Pay Attention--and How to Think Deeply Again by Johann Hari
  • Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals by Oliver Burkeman

Video Series

  • Study Skills by Crash Course - In 10 episodes, Thomas Frank teaches you study skills! Based on introductory college-level material and scientific studies, this course takes you through the tools and skills you need to get better at studying and finishing assignments in school and beyond.

Apps for Organization and Notes

  • TickTick - TickTick is a comprehensive to-do list that has built-in tools such as tags, a Pomodoro timer, and Kanban board views, making it a versatile choice. It also understands natural language like Todoist and can also sync with Google Calendar. (Also good: Todoist)
  • Notion (Free Personal Pro account when signing up with a .edu account) - Notion is an incredible workspace with a multitude of templates. This enables you to create notes, tables, Kanban boards, timelines, calendars, databases, notes, reminders, and more all within the same program. Its shared workspace feature also makes collaboration and viewing shared documentation easy.
  • Obsidian - Great for organizing your thoughts in research. Create a web and link interconnected ideas with ease. (Also good: Roam Research)
  • Notability for iPad - This powerful note-taking app lets you incorporate slides, photos, text, drawings, and audio all in one place. Audio recordings can also be synced up with replays of your own drawings and notes. Great for students who learn best from writing and drawing but want the versatility of digital notes.
  • GoodNotes for iPad - A great option for taking notes on the iPad that allows you to search your own handwriting. It doesn't have synced audio recordings but does have a useful flashcard layout that helps you practice key information.

Money Management

  • YNAB (1 year free trial for enrolled students) - YNAB stands for "You Need a Budget." This powerful zero-based budgeting system allows you to live flexibly and have distinct plans for your money. No need to attempt to categorize the last 3 month's worth of transactions, Simply create your accounts and categories and start from day one. Their philosophy is to give every dollar a job. See reports of where your money goes, set goals, and visualize your net worth.

Reducing Online Distractions

ColdTurkey and ColdTurkey Writer - ColdTurkey is serious business, once you start it, you can't pause it! ColdTurkey will block distracting websites and programs, or lock you out of your computer entirely. ColdTurkey writer is a simple text editor that holds you accountable to your goal - whether it's number of words typed or a certain amount of time spent writing.

Newsfeed Eradicator - This Chrome extension wipes your newsfeed blank and replaces it with a quote so you can still chat or access important events without distractions.
Also, try messenger.com to only access Facebook messages but with none of the distractions.

Forest - Plant a tree and let it grow on your screen while you work. Beware, if you navigate away from your screen, your tree will die!

Self-Care - Mindfulness, Reflection, and Self-Guided Resources

Fabulous | iOS, Android - Users can follow Fabulous' built-in program to wellness and also set goals for self-care, exercise, meditating, and more

Daylio | iOS, Android - Micro diary to help track your mood and activities. Daylio creates helpful statistics to help you understand your habits better.

Mindfulness Applications: Headspace, Calm, Oak, Insight Timer
Headspace and Calm are popular apps for mindfulness meditation - they are available on both iOS and Android and have a free trial with vast libraries. Oak is a completely free app that is only available on iOS. Insight Timer is available for iOS and Android and offers thousands of guided meditations for free.

Stop, Breathe & Think | iOS, Android - Stop, Breathe & Think, the app for meditation & mindfulness, has a unique approach that allows you to check in with your emotions, and then recommends short, guided meditations, yoga and acupressure videos, tuned to how you feel.

My Virtual Hopebox | iOS, Android - Virtual Hope Box is a multi-media coping skill app designed for individuals struggling with depression. The four main features of Virtual Hope Box include sections for distraction, inspiration, relaxation, and coping skill options.

notOK | iOS, Android - It's okay to be notOK. This app lets you get immediate support from your friends, family, or peer network. notOK is a digital panic button service to get you immediate support via text, phone call, or GPS location from your trusted contacts when you're struggling to reach out.

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