September is drawing to a close and professors have already started talking about Midterms. Um, wasn’t it just summer yesterday? To make the most of your semester, we’ve found 5 apps that will guarantee you the most productive study habits of all time. 4.0 time!
Blacklists distracting websites you’re addicted to.
As the name suggests, this militant Mac app with a skull and crossbones for a logo, truly inspires some frightening self-control. You put in the websites that distract you (no cheating!) on a blacklist, and set the timer for however long you wish to study. The maximum time is 24 hours. The app then prevents you from visiting those sites. You can also choose to whitelist some sites. This means that you put in websites that you must absolutely visit, such as your email, school website, etc., and the app blocks everything else. The most amazing addition to this app is that once you start the timer, you cannot stop it. Even if you delete the app from or restart your computer, the websites that you have blocked will remain blocked for the duration of time you have set. An alternative app for PC users is Freedom.
Blocks distracting websites with motivational quotes.
This app doesn’t just keep you away from distractions; it motivates you as well. Set as a menu bar, it blocks not only distracting websites but also distracting apps on your Mac such as Twitter or Skype. When it blocks a site, it shows you a quote to encourage you and keep you on track. One of our personal favorites by Confucius is: “A person who chases two rabbits catches neither.” Truly a ringer for what the app is about: to get something done, kill off distractions and set a goal for yourself. The downside to this app is the price.
$7 for iPhone/iPad and $20 for the Mac.
Helps you stay sharp via brain teasers.
While this app is classified as a brain-builder, it is still helpful with developing the skills needed to read and reason quickly and efficiently. It is available across multiple platforms including your iPhone, iPad, and Mac. It’s also available for android users. While similar to its Lumosity competitor, Elevate is far more affordable, especially if you’re looking to buy a month or year membership.
You can access 5 sessions per week with 3 games per session for free. To go pro, you pay only $5/month or $27/year compared to Lumosity’s $15/month or $80/year.
Tracks time management by allowing you to work in “short bursts”.
You’ve probably heard people say how terrible it is to study in long stretches with no breaks in between. But despite this advice, you sometimes get so caught up with work that you forget to take breathers. Unlike the other apps mentioned, this app isn’t only concerned with distractions. It’s also concerned with getting the best out of the time you’ve dedicated to studying (tip: use the app in conjunction with Self-Control or Focus). The Pomodoro technique is a time management hack. You work in short bursts, and take breaks in between. The breaks are necessary to keep the mind, fresh, fast, and focused. The Pomodoro Timer is set to follow the technique, which basically looks like this:
- Get rid of distractions (email, phone, unnecessary browser tabs, manage colleague interruptions).
- Pick a focus task. Homework, reading, video, etc.
- Set the timer to 25 minutes.
- Work on the task until the timer rings.
- Take a 5-minute break.
- Every 4 sessions take a longer break, perhaps 15 or 20 minutes.
There is a free app, but if you’d like to go pro, the price is $3 in the Apple app store. The app is also available online as Pomodoro Focus Booster. A great Pomodoro timer for android users is ClearFocus.
Automated system that delivers the best studying music.
While music can be great for studying, it could inhibit you from getting the most out of your study time if the right tunes are not listened to. Other times, when the right tunes are used, they could be a distraction because you know the songs and end up singing or humming them, which draws you out of your study space. To combat this, Sleep Pillow is designed to give you the best kinds of sounds (all probably unknown to you) for studying and sleep. We can’t stress enough how helpful this is to really get you in the zone! It’s available for Apple and Android users, too.
Image via Cassie Howard