Looking for ways to improve your productivity, or perhaps you are grappling with ideas about how to maintain focus? These six apps might be able to help you… By Jennifer McNally
It has been said that time heals all wounds, well now you can use it to help you study. You may have heard about the Pomodoro Technique which encourages short, efficient bursts of work, Focus Keeper records and tracks your productivity. Using a helpful timer, it enables you to complete surges of efficient study for 25 minutes and then it reminds you to take regular 5 minute breaks thus avoiding becoming overwhelmed. If you have a large amount of writing to do, this technique would help you to break up the time you spend working and limit the time you spend procrastinating.
Remember to take a longer break after 4 sessions of 25 minute work bursts to ensure you are getting enough rest.
Reducing distractions will improve focus and productivity, therefore, it is really important before you start studying to make sure your study environment is just right. So what do you do when you are stuck on a busy train or sat in a noisy study area? Put your headphones on because this app might help you….
With an assortment of soothing, environmental-themed background noises, Naturespace will help you to focus and relax. There are 6 noises for you to choose from that capture different aspects of the world’s ecosystems. These noises play on a loop to make you feel at one with nature. All you need to do is take your pick, focus and study.
I like that these sounds have been captured from the wild to give an authentic audio experience.
If you like the background noise of your local coffee shop, Coffitivity is home to a collection of coffee house noises to promote creativity and provide a quiet bustle of noise in the background. On your personal listening device, you can choose from a morning murmur to a lunchtime lounge allowing you to turn any silent study area into your own hub of creativity.
You can play your own music over the top to create an authentic coffee house atmosphere. You will almost be able to smell the coffee aroma.
Do you ever have ideas for an assignment in your head but struggle to get them on the page? You might want to try mind mapping which allows you to visualise your ideas in front of you, promoting lateral thinking and the development of ideas. Mind mapping might have been something you did at secondary school on an A3 piece of paper, well Mindly does just that but in a virtual space.
With the central idea of your essay topic in the middle, you can branch your ideas and even add sub-branches to truly shape your thoughts. Attach notes and images to the various sections of your mind map easily to develop your work and export the finished product in multiple formats. Once your mind map is constructed, you have done the hard work. Now all you need to do is sit down and transfer it to the page.
Use mind mapping for all sorts of study purposes such as memorising and revision, sharing ideas for a group project, or structuring presentations.
Swipes is a place to hold all of your lists and tasks. Working alongside Evernote and Gmail, it can help you to list and prioritise your to do list into three categories; schedule, current and done, enabling you to focus on the most important first.
Sometimes we can have a task that is so big that you are tempted to put it off. This app has the function to include action steps for each task. Complete each small action step, one at a time, and eventually, you will have chipped away at that big annoying task that you’ve been putting off for weeks!
If you’re an email hoarder like me, Swipes is a great way to keep your inbox neat and tidy as it turns your emails into tasks within Swipes.
Office Lens is great if you want to make a digital copy of a physical document such as lecture notes or a piece of group work that has been put together on a whiteboard. Images taken can be converted into a Word or PowerPoint document that can be edited, Office Lens also works well with OneNote. Images can be cropped, straightened and just generally made to look more like a proper scanned in image.
In whiteboard mode, this app removes the shine off whiteboard images making them more visually accessible.
If you’re new to using apps to help you study, try one of these and tell us if it has supported your learning.
Have you got a favourite app to help you study that isn’t mentioned here? Please let us know in the comments or tweet @warwicklibrary #StudyBlog
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