Five Apps to Boost Your Productivity

Being a compulsive procrastinator has typically meant never getting work done till the last minute and being overwhelmed in the process. However, this year, I have discovered a few apps that have helped me cope with this chronic procrastination that seems to plague most of us. These apps have helped me manage my time better and feel more in control of my schedule. I hope you find them useful too!  

Here are five apps that I hope will help you increase your productivity this university year:  

1. Todoist

I have started using this app to declutter my mind by keeping track of my to-do's, action items and bigger goals I want to work on. Its minimal design makes it easy to use and functional on a daily basis. I like that it gives me a clear overview of my week while also setting reminders and alarms that help me stay on track. Todoist is available both on Android, IOS and mac.  

2. OneNotes

OneNotes is a handy (and free!) digital notebook that has many helpful features such as its ability to annotate images, highlight, record audio, and add videos. It's been a great help while revising, as I can find all my notes in one place. I also have them organised into separate notebooks for each module. I use OneNotes to take notes on lectures and then come back and insert images from the slides and other useful supplementary material. For my more demanding lectures, I like to use the audio recording feature. Having an audio recording of the lecture makes life much easier as I can just listen back when reviewing my notes adding any points I missed out.   

3. Forest  

Forest is one of my favourite productivity apps, because of its simplicity and utility. It is an excellent app for helping you reduce screen time and remain focused. I find it to be the perfect app to practice the Pomodoro technique, and so I usually set 25/30 minute study sessions and 5/10 minute breaks (also away from the phone). The timer is flexible though (a minimum of 10 minutes, a maximum of 120 minutes, or any 5-minute increments in between.) and you can choose whatever focus time you want and begin.  

If you check something else on your phone or open a blacklisted website (in case of the chrome extension) the tree dies. This ends up being a pretty effective way to guilt you into being productive! For each completed session you grow a virtual tree and gain points. What makes Forest great is that you can use the virtual points collected from your focus sessions and use them to plant real trees in five countries in Africa - Cameroon, Kenya, Senegal, Uganda, and Tanzania.  

4. Cold Turkey

Cold Turkey Is a much-needed website blocker that helps me manage the time I spend on social media and websites that fuel my procrastination. With this app, I can blacklist websites for as long as I need. The Locked mode is a huge help when I have an essay due and no self- control left in me. It does not let me quit an active block session making it hard to procrastinate. It also allows you to limit distractions by giving you the option to set a daily time limit.

  5. Strides

I have only recently started using Strides and find it useful as a habit tracker. The app lets you keep track of just about any habit you want to form (from health, wellness, to deep work). It encourages you to build habits by using the 'don't break the chain' approach in its design and functionality. You can also set yourself streaks/challenges and keep track of your progress.

I hope you find some or one of these apps useful and have a very productive year ahead!