Shovel is free. Every feature. Every day. No surprises.
The SHOVEL team is made up of a small group of people with a single mission – to make sure college students don’t settle for less than their best.
We are two dads, each with 3 kids who went to college; a Harvard hockey player who struggled due to lack of time; and a small team of amazing young developers who are totally consumed by our goal of helping students do their very best in college.
So how do we pay our bills? For now, we are self-funded. To help fund development we will soon have a mobile version for a nominal fee. We’ll also ask for donations from users and others who believe in our mission. Don’t worry, we’ll be around no matter what. Our goal for 2019 is to make sure that every student has the very best tool for managing their time and workload.
The idea for SHOVEL began when Petr Placek was working as a project manager on the Steinway Tower in New York. (That is also the origin of the Shovel name. It’s a tool, it’s an action, and it’s also a call to action). Petr played hockey at Harvard and was all too familiar with trying to get things done with too little time.
Petr was amazed daily by how accurately the project managers could sequence each sub-contractor’s part of the project and have materials and workers on site and get things done at just the right time. The reason was that they invested the time up front, to estimate how long things were going to take. They did that based on experience. Sure they were often wrong, but they learned and improved next time. He realized that there was no reason that students couldn’t do the same – if they had the right tool.
SHOVEL is a study planner that actually plans.
One thing we’ve learned talking to students and professors is that time management is the biggest cause of poor performance in college. Students continually overestimate the study time they have available and underestimate the time they need to get things done. They get behind and start cutting corners. Stress goes up, grades go down, and a spiral of bad decisions follows.
If time is the problem, we knew that just giving advice on a website wasn’t going to be enough. Students would need to be in complete control of their time and workload. To do that they would need a planner, but one that was very different than any other they had used before.
The problem with most study planning tools is that they are simple to-do lists. They tell you when you have something due, but they tell you nothing about your ability to actually get it done in time.
SHOVEL helps students understand EXACTLY how and where they use their time – down to the minute. It then shows them every single study block they have available across their entire semester.
More importantly, SHOVEL lets students try to make accurate estimates of how long tasks will take. No, they aren’t always right, but just like a project manager, they learn as they go, adjust their estimates, and improve over time.
SHOVEL is a sophisticated time calculator that continuously looks at the study time blocks a student has and compares it with the time they need to get every task done, in real time. As a student gets things done and time goes by, SHOVEL looks at the next tasks and recalculates how the time available for those tasks is affected going forward.
We made sure that SHOVEL is flexible and adaptable because college students are spontaneous. If they decide to skip their studies and go have fun, they can see exactly how it affects their ability to get things done days and weeks ahead. Knowledge is power.
SHOVEL is good now, but you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. We will continue to improve it relentlessly and we will never, ever give up.
Happy New Year and good luck next semester!