do useful aims to provide you with a sense of how much time you spend on different websites.
It attempts to guide you to be a more successful learner and to use your time more effectively. For instance, instead of watching the news and wasting time on social media, you could learn a new language, master new skills, or take steps that bring you closer to your ambitious.

The story behind do useful

Hi, I'm Eduard, and over the last few years I've enrolled on many online courses to strengthen my research skills, broaden my career prospects, and to simply learn something new that might feed my curiosity and my passions. Some of these courses were free, and others I paid to take part in. However, I haven't completed all of them. Often, I tried to find excuses, telling myself that “this week I'm too busy with my work”, or some other responsibilities, or “this week I’ve a lot on socially, so I don't have the time to submit an assignment…” For some of you, this may sound familiar.

One summer day, my eyes were accidentally opened to this problem as I was sitting on a sun-drenched patio, phone in hand, and happened to be checking which phone apps were draining my phone battery. At that moment it hit me that during the last week I had spent almost four hours looking at Instagram, five on messenger apps, and two and a half just surfing the web. I was shocked when I realised how much time I had been wasting—which also happened to be the exact amount of time I had calculated that I needed to study. At this point, I decided to make some changes to my daily routine.

This led me to the idea that I needed something that could help me fight procrastination. I needed regular pushes, or gentle advice from some as yet unknown source. As I tried to explore how a tool could be developed to solve this problem, I met a number of wonderful people who helped to direct me towards this current solution, and helped me to build it. Now I am happy to share this website with you— and please enjoy it, and let it help you to do something useful.

If you need any help, or if you have any other enquiries please do not hesitate to contact me by sending email to:

How it works

As a student, researcher, and teacher (all at the same time), I wanted to try and find a solution that could help me to achieve my various goals. However, most of the existing options simply didn't work, or were not efficient, perhaps because they were not grounded in research evidence.

To make this tool useful for myself and others, I started to explore frontline knowledge in the field of online learning. I went through numerous research papers published in leading scientific journals in order to determine the features that successful learners might have in common. Then I began to explore behaviour change theories that could help me to change my bad habits and acquire the positive behaviours shared by the best learners. Based on this research, intervention options used by this software are designed to help counter procrastination, with the aim of enabling users to control their time more effectively and improve their self-regulation.

Over the last year I have explored this problem in depth, speaking to a number of world-leading researchers based at UCL, MIT, Durham University, University of Edinburgh, University of Michigan, among others. With the help of a team of professional software developers and with support from world leading researchers I have come up with the solution: the virtual assistant, which will guide you in becoming a successful learner.

I hope that you will find do useful helpful and that you enjoy spending your time more efficiently.


School of Education, Durham University

I am very grateful for the comments that I have received from the staff and doctoral students at the School of Education during the development of I am especially grateful to Jens Beckmann for his support and his help in navigating this project.

Centre for Behaviour Change, University College London

I would like to thank Robert West for his comments and feedback during the process of developing a web browser extension capable of supporting online learners. I would also like to thank Caroline Wood and her colleagues at the Centre for Behaviour Change for their assistance in shaping how interventions are delivered through

The Centre for Behaviour Change is a unique initiative, harnessing the breadth and depth of academic expertise in behaviour change at UCL to address key challenges facing society. Behaviour change is increasingly recognised as central to human well-being, social cohesion and sustainability. Changing behaviour is a challenging and complex process, requiring theories, methods and evidence from many academic disciplines.