Image – Pixabay
[Robert Wheatley | Lifestyle Editor]
When it comes to exams, being unorganised and distracted is going to stress you out even more on top of all your revision. That’s why we’ve put together some tried and tested smartphone apps that aim to aid your productivity. From apps that stop you getting distracted by your phone, to apps that will help you organise your time. We’ve picked the best of the best so that you don’t have to trawl through the app store yourself!
Our first app is Forest by forestapp.cc. It claims to be a “self-motivated and interesting method to help you beat phone addiction” and for students with a phone addiction, it’s probably going to be super useful.
The app works by allowing the user to ‘plant’ a virtual tree, which they must maintain by not using apps like Facebook, Youtube or their phone’s messaging app. Opening them will wither the plant, and then you’ll have to replant a tree. Do this too many times, and your forest will be very dead, and you’ll be the laughing stock of all other forest-owners.
Users can lock their phone and leave the app, but anything else will cause the plant to wither. It’s quite a clever concept, and the way it compels me to work hard to keep the tree alive is interesting; is it because I don’t want to lose? Is it because I care for this little sproutling? Or is it simply because you’re not supposed to make the tree die? Either way, I found myself wanting to use social media and then remembering I couldn’t because virtual mother nature would punish me for my sins.
However, it will only work for apps on the phone. Naturally, going onto YouTube and watching a video on your computer isn’t going to be picked up by the phone. But this isn’t a flaw; it’s a phone app, so it’s only really going to be able to impact your phone, although a version that perhaps that works on the computer as an app would be far more efficient.
Overall, it’s very simple to use, pleasant to look at, and hardly affects the performance or battery of your phone at all. I’d recommend giving it a go if you’re particularly distracted by your phone during revision, but not if you hate trees.
White Noise Free
This app isn’t just white noise among relaxation apps (ba-dum-tss). The app provides a multitude of high-quality looped sounds from nature and beyond, offering different types of noise; white noise, brown noise, etc.
You also have the ability to record your own sounds, download more soundtracks, and combine the soundtracks so that you can listen to the Amazon Jungle with a thunderstorm overlaid, or beach waves crashing with a campfire. The results are excellent, with lovely sound quality and a seamless looping. Listening to the Amazon Jungle was great because I felt like I was there, and not sitting in the LRC hyped up on coffee.
It works as an alarm or timer too, and when combined, lets you fall asleep to these sounds for a specific amount of time, and then wakes you up in the morning with a standard alarm beeping. It’s honestly a decent free app, and with some excellent audio quality and customisation, and if you’re struggling to concentrate and like some soft background noise, it comes highly recommended.
If you want to get going with your revision, it’s good to have a plan. That’s where apps like TimeTune can help. TimeTune helps you create a routine to ensure you’re following through on things you need to get done. Just to note, however, this app is not available on the iTunes store.
Got an exam coming up? You can set out a day of revision by setting out hourly blocks of activities, perhaps on a specific topic to research per hour, by applying a comment to reflect what needs to be done and when, and then set a reminder to let you know when it’s time to move on. If you want to do this daily, simply clone the day and select which days you want to remain the same.
It also lets you see how much of each activity you’re doing, so if you set up a schedule, you can see how much time is spent doing studying or having breaks.
You can also set reminders just in case you want to remember something that isn’t on your regular schedule for that day. Even if you have a set routine each day, having it dotted down, and one that actively notifies you of it throughout the day can be a helpful reminder just in case you forget.
Habitica helps you increase your productivity, but does so in an RPG-themed manner, making you create a little avatar to represent yourself as you complete real-world tasks to level up in-app.
When setting yourself ‘habits’, you create ones that are positive, negative or both. Positive habits will increase your experience, but negative habits will decrease your health. Too many of these, and you’ll lose all your health, a level and some of your items; lose too many coins and you can’t upgrade your character with rewards. If you lose health, you can regain it by gaining a level, and this is done by completing habits and avoiding negative ones.
‘Dailies’ are your important tasks for each day, which is likely to be studying at the moment! ‘Todos’ are simple things like reminders of, say, getting lunch or seeing a friend. If you do not complete your daily task, you will lose health overnight, which means you have to rest in the ‘Tavern’ until you wake up in the morning.
Joining a party will let you go on quests with others to battle monsters. You can also socialise with others by joining guilds and chilling in the tavern, where it provides message boards for people with a similar reason for their productivity. Going online gives you all of your stats and information all on one page, accessed with your login details.
It’s a fun method of making yourself a bit more productive but takes some investment to get fully to grips with its entire user interface. If you’re in revision mode, the social aspects are probably not something you want to invest your time into just yet. You can give it a shot for an amusing alternative to productivity apps.
Got a project, presentation or simply a revision group you want to organise? Wunderlist allows you to create groups which you can add friends to via email, and with the app, they can access this to add to-dos that need to be completed. For example, finding books related to a topic you need to cover.
You can assign the to-dos to specific group members. For example, making one of your poor group members trawl the LRC for a book. You can set a due date for the task, set reminders for them, as well as add files like PowerPoint presentations so that the group can view outside the app.
Doing group work can often be quite confusing in that people know what they’re doing, but can easily forget if they have multiple things to focus on at the time. Having an app like Wunderlist lets you organise everything to ensure everyone knows what they need to do, and when it’s due.
Have you found any apps that help you out during exam season? Tweet us @TridentMediaUK, with a little description about why it’s useful!