If you are feeling like you are in a productivity slump or you’re finding it difficult to focus, especially with deadlines coming up, you may be in need of some study apps to keep you accountable. Here are some great ones to check out!
For many students, our phones are our nemeses in the studying game. Social media, games, or just browsing the internet can be a massive distraction from actually getting work done! On the other hand, in 2021 there is an amazing variety of apps out there, and many can be a big asset to studying. Over the past 6 years, I have been experimenting with different apps to help me organise my studying, structure study sessions and keep me accountable. Here are some of my favourites:
AppBlock (or other app blocking services)
If you are going to keep your phone on/near you during studying, it is often going to be a big temptation to look at it rather than your work. These apps allow you to block those distracting apps while still letting you use the apps that you need. AppBlock, for instance, allows you to create ‘profiles’ which automatically come on at designated hours. I have a ‘Work’ profile which is on during the day and a ‘Night’ profile which helps me get off the apps and get to sleep!
HOLD and Forest
Both of these apps incentivise you to stay off your phone for certain intervals. HOLD gives you points for every 30 minutes you are off. You can get rewards and get placed in a league. I like that there is no timer, so by the time I check my phone, I have often completed 45-50 minutes, at which point I might as well gain another ten points. Forest allows you to set the time you want to study for. Each time interval will ‘grow’ a tree or bush. Upgrading to Premium will mean you are simultaneously planting real trees!
Study Timer apps
Pomodoro and interval timers
The ‘Pomodoro technique’ was developed in the 1980s as a way to break work down into intervals, originally 25 minutes interspersed with breaks. You would do four and then have a longer break at the end. Like at the gym, intervals ensure you are pushing yourself while also giving you a chance to catch your breath. If you like this method or are thinking of trying it out, you can use the Pomodoro app to keep yourself on track. Even if the Pomodoro intervals are not your thing, there are plenty of timer apps to help you structure your study time, like Focus To-Do, Focusmeter, or just use your regular Clock app.
I downloaded Boosted when I was still working part-time alongside my studies. It let me time how long I was spending on my different tasks, which helped me to keep to my allocated working hours. I also saw how long different tasks were taking me, like my weekly reading. As term went on, I was able to schedule my tasks using this data, and I set myself a goal for how much working time I wanted to have achieved each week.
Task management apps
Note apps (Keep, One Note, etc.)
There’s nothing wrong with sticking to the classics – even the apps that are already on your phone! Keeping a to-do list is always handy. Many people prefer to keep them on paper and give themselves the satisfaction of getting out a marker and ticking or crossing out a task. I like having mine on an app that will automatically back up like Keep or OneNote so I know I will always have it handy. You can experiment with doing a daily or weekly list, or just having different lists for different projects.
At my work, I found both of these really helpful in organising the tasks for many different projects as well as being able to add in deadlines and sub-tasks. This allowed me to really divide my work into manageable chunks and not get overwhelmed by a big deadline. Plus, these are especially designed for working across teams so you can use these for instance if you have a group project or are on the exec running a club or society.
With the examples above, I have tried to get across the range of different apps out there for you to use and is most helpful for me. However, everyone is different and there is a huge range of Productivity apps available. Many will combine the functions I’ve discussed above! Now it’s your turn to experiment with what works best for you. It’s important to remember an app cannot do the work for you, but I hope you find something in here to give you a hand.
Have you tried these apps? Is there another app that has revolutionised your studying?Tweet us at @warwicklibrary, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave a comment below.
by Emma Worrall