As college students, we all have goals: study for our classes, get a workout in, develop our hobbies, or differentiate ourselves at our jobs or internships. For many of us, these goals are within reach, as long as we put in some effort each day. However, more often than not, we get distracted by our text messages, news alerts, or social media.
With the introduction of the new application FLIP – Focus Timer for Study, our phones are converted from distraction devices into tools that can be used to enhance productivity. FLIP has time tracking and focus grading features that help users monitor their progress on goals by setting daily quotas of work to be done.
FLIP’s key feature and namesake is its ability to track productive time by having the user flip their phone over. After a user sets a goal and flips their phone over, the app will start counting down until the user’s goal end time.
If a user chooses to use their phone for more than a few seconds during this work time, the app will indicate that the user took an unscheduled break and decrease the user’s focus level by a letter grade. This provides an incentive for the user to increase their focus level again by being more productive.
FLIP’s graded productivity scale gives users a concrete idea of how productive they’re being. The pressure of the timer and focus grades also mimics the high-tension test-taking environments in classes, motivating even the biggest procrastinators to use their full focus during the designated productivity
The app times users using the Pomodoro Technique, which is a method for time management intended to improve levels of productivity through the use of repeated periods of high-focus work time separated by small breaks. While the app’s standard is 25 minutes of focus for every five minutes of break, the user can customize the timers to whatever they feel is best.
Although the app’s flip feature is simple, it is effective for various psychological reasons. For example, the app eliminates the the need to physically turn on the phone screen to begin and pause timer, which decreases the chances of getting distracted by notifications.
FLIP allows users to add the timer as a widget to their phone’s home screen, where it can serve as a visual reminder of the user’s goals. This feature is also efficient — with a single tap of a button, users can start tracking their productivity.
Another useful feature is that a user can set a “D-Day” as a goal, such as an essay deadline or final exam date, which ensures that the user will work on that objective every day until D-Day.
All of the data the app collects can be viewed again through its statistics pages. The charts and timelines on this page make it easy to track how well the user has been focusing over time and whether or not objectives are being met.
FLIP has a reward system built into the application, with hours of being productive corresponding to its in-game currency of points that can be used to unlock more features within the app. This is especially useful for those who have trouble sticking to a task when there is no immediate reward.
By channeling the psychology behind video games, users feel the satisfaction of small, easy achievements as they work towards a larger goal as well as small rewards.
FLIP was created by RinaSoft and released in Nov. 2017. Since the app is relatively new, the production team is extremely responsive to bugs and always open to criticism and suggestions, which is evident in their responses to reviews.
FLIP can be downloaded in both the Android Play Store and iTunes App Store as of Nov. 2018.