I can't manage my time to write an essay

Hi! I don’t seem to be a new user of Omni software, and they really help me to be more productive. However, to say I have no problems with time and task managing is to lie. I’m still very far from being productive person spending no time on useless things. Now I’m preparing for college admissions and have to write an admission paper and statement of purpose. Those who’ve gone through this will understand me. And it’s a big challenge for me because I’m not so very good at writing, I spend several hours every day on finding the right solution for writing my essay and ensuring successful enrollment but fail. You’re my last hope, guys. If you have any tips on how to write an A-grade admission essay, please, share them with me.


First, welcome.

I have a daughter at a similar-but-different stage: Applying for jobs after University.

I think you start by writing down who you want to portray yourself to be. For example “I want to be a Doctor because I want to help people”.

Then you should work out a framework of paragraphs. For example:

  • Paragraph 1: I’ve achieved academically.
  • Paragraph 2: I helped out an an animal refuge.

Then you fill in the paragraphs.

Then you - perhaps with help - edit the paragraphs for spelling, nuance, meaning etc.

This is a structured approach. Hopefully others will chip in with their view of how to structure this.

Good luck!


A text is a path through a kind of tree or “dependency graph”, which has:

  • the overarching claim(s) at the top,
  • key supporting points below
  • and below the key points, sub-claims, and bits of evidence etc, that support them.

The path can be:

  • top down (first claim then back up)
  • bottom up, starting with details/evidence, then moving up towards conclusions.

So you have three stages:

  1. Gather the claims and supporting evidence as roughly and chaotically as you like
  2. Shape them into a load-bearing tree structure using an outliner like OmniOutliner
    • (summary of central claims at the top – “I am qualified”, “I am motivated”)
    • and enough supporting material for each claim below for the thing to feel solid
  3. Choose a path through the tree/outline, and give it a tone that works.

And, if all this makes you run for the hills, then do.

Shaping dependency graphs like this, choosing routes through them, and adjusting the tone that you take on those routes, is all that you are going to be doing for several years in college.

If it’s not your thing, why do it ?

Plenty of other routes around – making furniture, repairing motorcycles, whatever it is that actually absorbs you, and lets you easily put in the hours that gradually build up confidence and skill.


What could reduce your stress is the use of a mind mapping tool. You can just add your thoughts, ideas, etc. as new branches or attach a new idea, refinement, etc. to an existing branch in one or several one man brainstorming sessions without constantly criticizing, doubting or correcting yourself (which blocks you the most!). You need to play with your thoughts.
After closing such a session you could start ordering the branches by dragging and dropping them into the proper place. If you want to you could even add notes to the branches. If you go through this procedure a couple of times you should have a first raw draft which you then can refine as much as needed.


OmniFocus and other task manager apps can help you keep track of what you have to do, but they can’t tell you how to do what you have to do. You have to figure that out yourself.

My advice to students who are writing a statement of purpose for university or postgraduate study is to emphasize the following elements:

  1. What do you intend to study in your program? This is particularly important for postgraduate study and for universities in places where you apply to study one subject for the BA or BS, such as England.

  2. How have your previous studies prepared you to pursue your subject at a higher level? What theories or approaches have you learned? What have you done in research or application of the subject?

  3. Why is the program to which you are applying a good program for you? What courses would you like to pursue? Which professors are doing research and teaching that interests you? (That is particularly important for postgraduate study.) What resources are available at the institution that relate to your interests?

  4. If relevant, explain why any “black marks” on your record are not relevant. For example, if you have poor grades in one semester due to medical problems, emotional distress, life challenges, etc., acknowledge the problem and then explain how you have addressed it. When I review postgraduate applicants, I am much more likely to look favorably upon an applicant who has acknowledged a difficult time in their studies than one who does not mention the problem at all.

Good luck with your applications!

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If you can come to terms with your calendar being the master of your domain then you’ll start to prioritize work, play, good habits, and everything in between correctly. You won’t have distractions and fomo.

I’ve been using “reclaim” to own my time and block my calendar. It’s free through March. Give it a try and let me know what you think. I’ve made full use of it and their roadmap has more to come.

And good luck!

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Thank you all very much, I didn’t expect that so many people will answer my question and give me so much useful information. I also carried out my own research and think that I must share the information I found. University personal statement guide it’s probably the most valuble piece of information I found. And even if I still fail, I can send my paper to editors from that service and get it edited by a professional.

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In other words this thread has been a spam stunt :-)

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I’m sorry, but you’re wrong. Spam threads and spam comments look a bit different as you know. I don’t post dozens of links to scam sites and something like that. I just ask for some information here, saw a few good recommendations and decided to share the tool i found, why not?

Puffing essay mills ?

You are aware that some jurisdictions are moving to criminalise them now ?

[Essay mills to be banned under plans to reform post-16 education - GOV.UK](https://www.gov.uk/government/news/essay-mills-to-be-banned-under-plans-to-reform-post-16-education)

@Kokiji if you have trouble writing that essay, learn how to write—and the best way of learning anything is to learn from somebody who already knows how to do it. Even if that person fails to teach you anything, at a minimum you will experience what it means to do it right. That’s is invaluable.

Don’t Google, don’t watch YouTube videos. Find someone who knows how to write and write it together with that person. Pay that person if you must. It is a life investment.

It’s what smart people do. They learn from others who already know. It’s 100 times faster and better than attempting to do this yourself.


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