At OUA we know how hard it can be organising life around study – and often finding the motivation to do so. That’s why we’ve come up with this list of five awesome FREE apps that will leave you wondering how you ever lived without them.
SelfControl (OS/X) and StayFocusd (all browsers)
What is self-control? One could be forgiven for thinking it’s something gained through years of discipline, often involving great sacrifice – but one would be wrong.
SelfControl is actually a free application that lets you block your own access to distracting websites, email, or just about anything else on the internet, really.
Just set a period of time to block, add sites to your blacklist, and click ‘Start’. Until that timer expires, you won’t be able to access those sites – even if you restart your computer or delete the application.
Stayfocusd works in a similar way, but is an extension to your internet browser, with versions available for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari.
Google Docs (Android and OS/X)
Google Docs is an app version of the popular online document sharing system that lets you create, edit, and collaborate with others from your iPod, iPhone, iPad or android phones. Also available to download is ‘Google Sheets’ (the spreadsheet equivalent) and Google Slides (the PowerPoint equivalent).
EasyBib (Android and OS/X)
“I love annotating bibliographies,” said no-one ever.
EasyBib takes away the hard work by allowing you to automatically create citations for your bibliography by scanning book barcodes with your phone’s camera. EasyBib claim their citations are “perfect and accurate” as they’re “checked by librarians and teachers”.
You can export citations to email so you can send them to your inbox quickly, and they have over 7000 citation styles, including Harvard, ASA, AMA, CSE and ACS formats. You’re welcome.
Time Out (OS/X)
At some point you need to take a break. Yes, you do. Between studying, working, picking the kids up from school or whatever it is that fills up your week, you ‘gots to chill’. Here’s an app that tells you when and how long.
TimeOut comes with two kinds of breaks: a ‘Normal’ break, typically for 10 minutes every hour, so you can move about and relax, plus a ‘Micro’ break: a brief pause of 15 seconds every 15 minutes, so you can remember not to tense up too much for long periods. Sorry android and PC users – it’s only available for Mac OS/X at this stage.
HeadSpace (OS/X and Android)
Mindfulness is a buzzword that’s thrown about a bit these days, but with good reason – if you could block out the past (that average score you received in your Statistics assessment), and the future (that upcoming Statistics exam), and focus on the present (studying for said exam), then why wouldn’t you? Because that’s basically what mindfulness and meditation is trying to achieve.
As actress Emma Watson says, “It’s an app that teaches you how to meditate. It’s kind of genius.”
And kids – any app that Hermione endorses is really worth looking into. Besides HeadSpace there are many other fantastic mindfulness apps out there, such as SmilingMind, Pause, and Calm.