Want to start the 2019-2020 school year out right? Check out these 7 apps (for your phone and computer) that can help you stay focused, organized and calm. Bonus: they are all free!
P.S. If these blurbs seem daunting then read at least the first sentence of each description to get a sense of whether the app seems useful or not. If not, skip over it and spend a few extra seconds doing something else... like your homework :) After all, you probably clicked on this article looking for ways to keep yourself focused...
Time Management Apps
Exams: An app to help busy students keep track of upcoming exams and projects. Among the many features of this app is the ability to add assignments (add notes too if you want something more detailed!) and then view them, their due date, and the amount of days until they are due. All of the exams you have added can be found on the “My Exams” page of the app. This app is very easy to use and has a simple layout, so even at a quick glance you can figure out your priorities and what needs to get done!
StudyBreak: StudyBreak helps make sure that you are productive during your study sessions (in a very flexible way). First, set a study to break ratio (ex: for every 50 minutes of studying take a 10 minute break), select what subject you are working on and click the start button! Feel like you need a break? Just click the button again and the app figures out how long your break should be based on the study to break ratio you set. This allows you to stay on task while having the flexibility to take a break when you need it. If you need a break after 30 (not 50) minutes, StudyBreak will make sure that you are still working 50 minutes out of every hour! There is even a statistics page if you are curious about how much you studied each day, how long you spent on break, time spent on each subject and more. This is another simple app that is perfect for time management in your study sessions.
Be Focused- Focus Timer: This app also helps you divide up your study and break time in a more rigid way than the app above (StudyBreak is flexible but that might not work for everyone). Set break and study interval times and then click the play button to begin! You can also decide how many work cycles you want to complete before getting a longer break, which is one of the app’s unique features. There is also the possibility to create a To-do list in the app and look at your study statistics (ex: how long you have worked on each task or how many breaks have you taken). Again, I highly recommend this app if you need more structure in your study routine.
Self Control: Self Control is a web extension for Macs that prevents you from accessing distractions. Besides the odd skull logo, this web app is pretty great. After downloading it, you can enter in distracting sites to the “blacklist” and then choose the amount of time that you do not want to be able to access those sites. This is helpful when you need to buckle down and focus for a chunk of time.
StayFocusd: Don’t have a Mac? Have no fear! StayFocusd is almost identical to SelfControl but it can be used on Windows or Chrome. In addition to choosing what sites to block and for how long, there is an option to bypass the block. However, considering to do this you need to retype a 400+ word paragraph exactly, I’d say you are better off trying to get back to work. Would highly recommend this if you need to force yourself to focus!
Headspace: This app is great for calming your mind and keeping you focused through guided meditations. Different meditations have different purposes, and most of them are just 3-5 minutes! They are great to do on a break from studying, before bed, when you wake up or whenever you feel you need to reset. When you first open the app, you do have to make an account and take a survey (so the app knows your goals and other things that it can use to guide you), but this only takes a few minutes. While some meditations are unavailable unless you buy the premium package, there are still lots of options to choose from if you do not want to pay.
Sanvello: Sanvello is an app that aims to help you stay happy and mentally healthy. There are so many functions of this app, so I have bulleted them for simplicity:
Track your daily mood and view a graph of how your mood changes over time.
There is a community aspect to the app where you can post messages and chat with other people about topics such as your goals, what you are thankful for and more.
Take check-in assessments which give you a general idea of the anxiety, stress or depression you are experiencing (however, do not rely too heavily on this because it is not a stand-in for a professional).
Track your “skills” in terms of meditation, goals, health and other things. You raise your skill level by doing things like meditating through the app, adding to your goals page, journaling and more.
Other smaller activities in the app include creating goals, writing in a digital journal, meditating, tracking healthy habits (time spent outdoors, water intake etc.), adding to your “hope board”, writing down your thoughts and more.
This app also begins with a survey to help construct your profile (only takes a few minutes). There are so many things you can do in this app and I highly recommend using it throughout the school year. You can do some of the activities on the bus, during a break from studying or at any other opportunity you have.
Thank you so much for reading this, and I hope you found something helpful! I combed through dozens of apps and definitely think these are the best free apps to help you be successful this school year :)
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