As autumn falls nearer, the cold monotonous winter months take over our dwindling attention spans. Exams are closing in, folks – whether you like it or not! Our study habits eventually descend into rapid short-term clicks of switching between ‘snaps, ‘grams, ‘books, ‘tubes – you name it. But there is still hope: check out these useful apps for blocking out time-wasters!
A very practical one to start out with, LeechBlock is a browser extension app that lets you limit your time spent on different websites during the day. If you’re like me and get stuck on an hours-long loop of Twitter, YouTube and Instagram, this app can limit your time spent on those more addicting apps. For instance, you could allow each of these websites to only be available 30 minutes a day.
Additional tools that LeechBlock offers are password options that work as a barrier for you to overcome, giving you a few more moments to think whether you really need to be slacking off at the current time. If impulse control is a hard task for you, like it is me, setting that extra bridge to cross is a real priority check.
When your workload really can’t afford the leisure time, this is definitely a useful choice to try out.
Sometimes blocking your browser just isn’t enough! Luckily, Cold Turkey – an app for both Windows and MacOS – helps you get a proper study session done without straying off and procrastinating for hours on end.
The app lets you pick and choose websites (and even apps!) that would normally pull your attention away and gives you the feature of locking them off for a set time. When you tell yourself that it’s going to take you only 2 hours to write that assignment, with Cold Turkey you could very well be telling the truth!
As someone who finds myself spending all day watching whole seasons of a tv-series, this has been a life-saver on many occasions.
Hocus Focus makes your workspace more productive. There are moments when you need to limit yourself to only one window on your computer. For those who find that things tend to get too cluttered on your screen, or if you’re the type of person who switches from one tab or app to the other and forgets what you were supposed to do in the first place, Hocus Focus is an excellent tool to help you curb your habits and focus on one thing at a time.
This app comes with a great setting that allows you to hide apps when you’re not using them or when they become too inactive, and even lets you save pre-set workspaces when you really need to just do that one essay before midnight.
If completely blocking off your favourite apps is just added pressure, Mindful Browsing gets you to pay attention in a much calmer manner. This free Chrome extension gently nudges your attention when it sees you using apps that you would consider time-wasters and reminds you to spend your time in more productive places.
Once you set it up, Mindful Browsing asks you to list off all the websites that would normally waste your time and encourages you on what you should be doing instead. How? Well, once you find yourself in one of these sites, the app pops up a photo of something tranquil and relaxing and reminds you of goals that you have previously set up for yourself.
Great for that self-motivational pep-talk!
My favourite for last, Forest can be best described as a moral conscience for your phone. For Android and IOS alike, this pastel-toned mobile app grows a small intricate forest whenever you decide to put your phone down and limit your distractions. As long as the app is active, a small sapling is sprouted and grows for your set time of studying. Eventually, day by day, if you’re keeping up with your studies, the tree will eventually become a beautiful forest.
But here’s the tough part:
If you leave the app before the time is up, the tree will be killed. Be warned, because these digital creations are so meticulously crafted – growing up alongside you – that you just can’t help not to become attached to them. It’s a high-stakes game of willpower and gives a lot of extra weight for the importance of your study session.
Additionally, if you’re feeling like helping both yourself and the environment, Forest plants actual trees! In partnership with the non-profit organisation Trees For The Future, they plant real trees around the world depending on your time spent using the app!
Good luck with those deadlines!
Written by Jānis Lazda – PR & Graphics committee