Distractions, screen time, our location, mental health and more are all factors that can lead to demotivation and decreased productivity. Technology is a great tool to use efficiently to boost productivity and improve motivation. Here are some apps and websites that can help you organise and schedule your work, motivate you to be productive, and, in general, help you track your lifestyle and figure out how you can reach deadlines and get work done on time!
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Notion is one of the most widely used apps out there. It's a productivity and note-taking app and website that's very efficient to use and incredibly easy to understand. I generally use it to keep track of all my deadlines, categorise them based on which courses they're for, and add labels to them indicating whether they're an assignment, group project or exam, and track my progress. Having them listed makes remembering them really easy, and it ensures that I turn everything in on time.
Notion has several pre-made templates for everything from notes, writing down schedules, to-do lists, and more. It's as easy as picking a template and adding your own content to it. It ensures that all your work is in one place, and also has the provision of collaborating with team members.
The website also has an education plan that unlocks more features free of cost for university students if you use your university email to log in. Another thing I really like is that you can personalise your pages on Notion by adding different backgrounds, header images, emojis, fonts, colours and more.
Pomodoro Apps: Forest and Study Bunny
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Pomodoro is a time management technique to improve focus and productivity. It emphasises working for short bursts of time while focusing, followed by short breaks and eventually a longer break. Pomodoro is generally 25 minutes followed by 5 minute breaks, and after four rounds of this, you can take a longer break. 25 minutes is said to be the perfect amount of time for you to focus without procrastinating or experiencing burnout, and having 5-minute breaks makes sure you don't get too distracted.
However, the focus bandwidth is different for different people, which is where Pomodoro apps like Forest and Study Bunny come in. Forest involves setting a timer for you to study, and as soon as you start it, you start to grow a plant. If you stop it, then your plant dies, but if you complete it, a tree is added to your virtual forest.
The urge to grow your forest and not let your plants die can be a great motivator to be productive. An alternative is Study Bunny, in which you have a pet bunny to take care of. The more you complete your study timers, the more coins you get, which you use to feed your bunny and buy accessories. Both the apps have premium versions if you want to unlock more features!
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While Google Calendar may seem simple, it's great when it comes to scheduling classes and meetings, and getting regular reminders. You can open your Google Calendar, and fill it in with all your meetings, their links, deadlines, and more. You can colour code them to differentiate between them better, and set reminders so that you are notified of those meetings and deadlines beforehand. You can also change when you want to get the reminders and if your events are repeated daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly, and they'll automatically get saved.
I generally have my reminders set for ten minutes before the event, and you can add a widget on your phone which will display the calendar on your home screen. If you get invited to events through your Gmail account, then they automatically get saved on your calendar as well, so that you don't miss them! It's very easy to use and makes scheduling and keeping track of events really efficient.
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Google Keep may just seem like a simple note-taking app, but once you explore it, it can be very helpful. You can make both quick notes on it as well as to-do lists, and can pin the most important ones.
Different notes and lists can also be given different colours and background images so that you can personalise your lists and differentiate between them easily! As it is synced to your Google account, you can also sync it with your Google Calendar and share notes the way you share Google Docs, which can be especially helpful if you're sharing a checklist or tracking progress while collaborating with multiple people.
It also has a widget that can be added to your homescreen when you need to note down things in a hurry. This can often be the case if you're attending a lecture and need to quickly note down a detail for reference, or think of something and want to remember it for later. The app has options to make checklists, take and save pictures, record voice notes, add new notes, and even draw. These features along with it's simple and easily customizable quality make it a great productivity tool!
Habit Tracker: Daylio
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Another great way to boost your productivity is to track and improve your daily habits. Being more self-aware can help you understand and manage your time better, as well as improve your ability to concentrate. I've explored an app called Daylio, on which you journal everyday by selecting activities you did, tracking your food and water intake, adding how well you slept, and more.
You can also set goals. For example, you can set a goal to read 10 pages of a book every day. You can fill in whether you did so, and get reminders to do it throughout the day based on when you set them.
You can also choose times and goals to study, and schedule your activities. If you continue your streak of achieving your daily goals, then you get badges to mark your progress. The app displays statistics on a weekly basis that you can use to see if you've improved or need to improve in certain areas, which will support your journey of self-growth and discipline. You can also purchase the premium version of the app if you want to unlock more features!
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If you're the kind of person who is more productive in a group setting, you can also look into websites like Study Together to have virtual group study sessions. The app also has the option of doing solo studying and trying to replicate your ideal study environment virtually. You can join different study groups and chat groups for support and motivation, enable certain sounds and backgrounds that contribute to your productivity, and track your progress through goals and statistics.
It also has a competitive element to it which involves a global leaderboard that tracks the number of hours you have logged in to be productive. The website also has community challenges on a monthly basis that provide you with a productivity-related prompt which you can complete and see other users who are a part of the community. It's a great way to not only be productive but socialize with like-minded people and motivate each other to study and work well.
Productivity isn't just about how much time you're able to spend being productive, but also depends on other factors like your lifestyle. These apps are designed not only to improve productivity but also to help you work on yourself, which will have a positive effect on your productivity. In case you aren't able to find exactly these apps, there are several alternatives available online!