1. Assisting Teachers in Understanding Assistive Technology: What Recent Research Says
  2. Introducing the Assistive Technology Blog Series
  3. Preparing Pre-Service Educators to Make AT Decisions
  4. 3 Key Questions When Considering Assistive Technology
  5. Data Tools to Inform AT for Reading and Writing
  6. Supporting Online Reading Using Assistive Technology
  7. FOCUS To-Do Increases Time Management Skills in Pre-Service Teachers
  8. Assistive Technology Solutions to Support Math
  9. Behavior and Burnout? Values-Based Practice Using ACTCompanion
A clock (which can be used as an Assistive Technology) and words saying "Time Management"

FOCUS To-Do Increases Time Management Skills in Pre-Service Teachers

Author: Tahnee Wilder; info@ciddl.org

A report by the U.S. Department of Education found that most students enrolled in four-year institutions are enrolled in a first-year course that has time management skills ranking as one of the most common academic goals for success. The development of time management skills in pre-service teachers is especially needed to be positive role models for students in their classrooms. In this blog, we introduce an online time management tool, Focus-To-Do, that can be used as an Assistive Technology with your teacher candidates.

What is Focus To-Do?

Focus-To- Do is an application or extension that can sync across devices and can motivate users to stay focused and on task. Focus-To-Do incorporates checklists, visual (and sometimes physical) cues, and timers that can support students build their executive function and time-management skills.


The checklists (see image below) within the Focus-To-Do application can help develop time-management skills for students by tracking their assignments, due dates, and the time spent on each task. The checklists have an “added tasks” option within the sub-list option for better planning and organizing of big assignments that require multi-steps to complete. The notes section within the tasks is a great place to store ideas and references within the assignment.

Interface of the Focus-To-Do application

Visual cues

The Pomodoro Technique is a time-management method used to increase productivity by having intervals of focus time and breaks. The Focus To Do application (or extension) provides excellent visual cues for focused and break times to increase self-regulation skills. When using the application on a mobile device, the application can send haptic responses during a concentrated time to remind the user to remain focused on the task and not be distracted by other applications (see image below).  

Interface of the Pomodoro Technique function with the Focus-To-Do


Academic advisors, counselors, faculty, and professors are often asked by their scholars for specific strategies for success within their courses. Every course is different, yet the same basic structure is needed for success: increased inhibition to attend social settings and increased focused time on their coursework. Faculty and support staff can provide the Focus-To- Do Timer as a resource for their students to increase their skills in planning, organizing, and self-regulation skills for their course. 

The Focus-To-Do in Action

The application is currently being used at the University of Central Florida in an executive function coaching program for post-secondary students with disabilities. Students are provided the application as an option to increase their time-management skills and their progress is recorded week-to-week. The anecdotal responses of the students have been positive. One student stated they “need the visual reminders to keep working” and that the “built-in breaks (by the timer) are helpful because it doesn’t feel so overwhelming to get it all done at once.”

Application in Teacher Preparation

The Focus-To-Do Timer is a great tool to increase executive function and time-management skills for any user. We’ve covered some neat features of this tool, but we’d like to hear from you. What are some ways you support time-management and executive function skills in your teacher candidates? Are there other similar apps or technologies used in your teacher preparation programs? Join the CIDDL community and keep the conversation going!