By Mia Dowling
As second semester commences on campus, the thought of balancing five assignments (all due in the same week of course), three exams and all other commitments sounds daunting – never mind completing all this work!
Although phones can be thought as a distraction when trying to revise they can also be an invaluable tool to help you get more value out of the little spare time you have as a student, so we’ve spent some time picking some great apps to help you be more productive!
The Pomodoro technique is a time management technique which uses a timer to break down work into intervals, usually around 25 minutes, which are separated by short breaks. The idea of this technique is that by breaking down work into smaller chunks, you will essentially be more productive as you are making better use of your time!
FocusList was created with inspiration from the Pomodoro technique, and its three key features are: helping you plan your day, keeping track of your time and helping you stay focused.
Plan your day
FocusList allows you to create your own ‘focus list’ for the day and also lets you split bigger tasks into smaller ones. By breaking down your tasks, you are able to plan the day ahead and set it out in such a way that you are able to commit to everything on your list. In addition, the app lets you ‘Timebox’ each activity and estimate the set amount of time you want to commit, and therefore be realistic with how much time you have available!
As you’ve created your list of things to do, it’s time to tackle them! The app encourages you to focus on one task at a time by picking a task, doing it for 25 minutes and taking a 5- minute break. You then continue with this process until the task is complete. Even if you can continue after 25 minutes take the break just to assimilate what you have just learned, which will allow you to feel fresh when you start your next slot.
The app comes with a built-in time tracker which allows you to determine whether you had a productive day or not. You can track the amount of time you worked that day, which tasks you completed and also which hours of the day you were most productive.
The app can be used on all Apple devices which is great to sync your iPad or Apple Watch to to keep on top of your tasks! The app is simple in its format and usability which should help you stay focused and most importantly get work done! Its main downside is its initial £4.99 cost, but once purchased its functionality provides great value for money.
Need some help getting that motivation? Well, Strides is the app for you. Strides helps you to create ‘good’ habits and track how you incorporate those habits into your life by giving you statistics on how well you’ve done during the day.
All in one place
[Credit: Strides Habit Tracker]
The key feature of this app is its dashboard which shows the progress you have made on all of your habits and goals in one place to save you time. The number of features in this app is endless as it provides automatic alerts to keep you on top of your game and stops you getting distracted, in addition to status icons which ensure you don’t forget to log your progress! Another nice addition is a congratulation when you finish your goals for the day or for the week.
[Credit: Strides Habit Tracker]
Strides can let you track just about anything in your life! It can help you be productive in your lifestyle by tracking how much water you drink or the amount of exercise you do, or help you be more productive by tracking how early you wake up or how much reading you do in a day.
The unique feature of this app is tracking specific habits. You can stop yourself getting distracted by increasing the amount of time you spend at the library or try to track how often you get distracted by your habit of going to the Forum as opposed to revising.
SMART Goal Setting
I personally remember setting SMART goals in secondary school so that over time you are able to look back at these targets at the end of term and assessing yourself to see if they were achieved. SMART stands for: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timely and these are the most important things to consider when setting a goal that you will be able to achieve. Setting these smart goals on Strides enables you too: set a goal, see how you complete this goal on average over time and project the goal by breaking it down and ensuring you can complete it by the due date.
Overall, the app provides a lot features in its standard version, although you can upgrade to the premium version if you want more functionality.
As a student often working on more than one assignment at a time, I find it is both essential but time-consuming to spend hours proofreading and spell checking. However, Grammarly is an essential app that could improve your productivity by slashing the amount of time you have to spend proofreading!
Like most apps, Grammarly has both a free and premium version. The premium version provides over 400 types of checks and features, although the free version provides a pretty thorough check of your work. Grammarly offers both a downloadable editor in which you can copy and paste any English text into to detect errors, or you can get Grammarly’s browser extension for most common used web browsers to allow you to write correctly and with confidence on nearly every website on the web.
Once downloaded, the app’s logo can be seen in the top section of your web browser, as seen above. If working on a website, or using a word processor, Grammarly checks your work as you go and therefore reduces the amount of time you have to spend proofreading at the end; in addition to providing both synonyms and definitions when reading more difficult texts.
You can copy and paste an essay you have completed and Grammarly instantly detects errors by underlining them in red and often provides a solution to your error in green. Grammarly premium can improve your work even further by detecting any plagiarism (an essential error to spot in any assignment), enhancing your vocabulary and even show advanced issues such as sentence structure.
Overall, Grammarly is an essential for any student that needs help in proofreading their assignments and improving the quality of their writing.
Are there any phone apps you use to improve your productivity? Let us know about them over on Twitter @TridentMediaUK!