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5 Must-Have Apps for Students Struggling with Productivity

5 Must-Have Apps for Students Struggling with Productivity

These days people are often saying that it’s never been easier to be a student and finish a college degree with flying colors. In the age of internet access that previous generations didn’t have it all seems quite easy, right?

Well, that’s a statement that’s difficult to argue with, but all of these perks and benefits come with a number of factors that have shown themselves to be a serious distraction. Let’s simplify this – how often do you go online for some innocent browsing in order to find a piece of information and you find yourself hours later watching videos of cute kittens?

Therefore students need all the help they can get in order to keep their focus on studying. In the spirit of fighting fire with fire, you should use technology to your advantage and explore your options when it comes to apps that boost productivity.

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1. Capture Your Lessons

When in a class full of students, chances are that something will redirect your focus from your professor holding the class. The best thing to do here is to have a backup, so it is suggested that you start capturing your lessons.

With apps like OfficeLens or SoundNote, you’ll be able to record your classes, photograph whiteboards, and convert your files into a format you find most suitable for learning. This depends on the type of learner you are, but overall you’ll find these apps to be a very practical way to boost your productivity by not missing anything.

2. Increase the Quality of Your Studying

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    The key to successful learning is repetition – this can be the most boring part of your overall student experience, but it’s something you can’t really study without.

    A large percentage of students find flashcards with questions to be the most efficient solution here. However, this is something that takes time and effort to create, leaving very little time for you to actually study, or have some fun for a change.

    You will therefore be happy to know that there’s an app called StudyBlue that offers functionality – it creates digital flash cards for you by using your course information and, of course, it allows you to add them as well.

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    3. No More Late Mornings

    If you’re a late sleeper, you have most likely gotten very frustrated numerous times because you missed a lecture or an exam because you completely ignored your alarm or seven of them, perhaps.

    This shouldn’t be a problem for you anymore, if you start using Alarmy: Sleep If You Can. It really is as tough as it sounds – when you set an alarm on this app it won’t stop making terrible noises until you perform a specific task, such as taking a photo of a specific item, for example.

    4. Get Your Writing in Order

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      An integral part of student life is to write all sorts of papers and essays and therefore you’re most likely familiar with this one irritating thing called writer’s block. Now, it doesn’t really matter if you consider writing to be one of your talents or not, because it is required for you to do it.

      Therefore, when you have a dilemma or you require academic assistance regarding your assignment, you can turn to EssayShark – it’s created by experienced professionals and it will offer you guidance when you’re in need of it. You can check out this essay sample and see what kind of results you can expect if you decide to use their app.

      5. Social Networks Shut Down

      In the end, you should pay attention to the most problematic distraction there is – social networks. It can be really difficult to focus on your studying when you get a notification from a crush of yours or perhaps when you’re participating in an online argument. Let’s face it, you need to stop wasting your time on endless scrolling.

      With an app called Anti-Social, you can mark sites as distracting and, when turned on, it will prevent your phone from ringing if there’s a notification headed your way. It will be of tremendous help when it comes to increasing your productivity. If you want to achieve enviable levels of productivity, you need to implement some discipline to your student life. Luckily for you, your efforts regarding this problem extend to only a couple of clicks, because downloading any of these apps will do this for you – you just need to make your selection based on your requirements.

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      Aleksandar Ilic

      Blogger, Social Media Butterfly, Guitarist

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      Last Updated on July 17, 2019

      The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

      The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

      What happens in our heads when we set goals?

      Apparently a lot more than you’d think.

      Goal setting isn’t quite so simple as deciding on the things you’d like to accomplish and working towards them.

      According to the research of psychologists, neurologists, and other scientists, setting a goal invests ourselves into the target as if we’d already accomplished it. That is, by setting something as a goal, however small or large, however near or far in the future, a part of our brain believes that desired outcome is an essential part of who we are – setting up the conditions that drive us to work towards the goals to fulfill the brain’s self-image.

      Apparently, the brain cannot distinguish between things we want and things we have. Neurologically, then, our brains treat the failure to achieve our goal the same way as it treats the loss of a valued possession. And up until the moment, the goal is achieved, we have failed to achieve it, setting up a constant tension that the brain seeks to resolve.

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      Ideally, this tension is resolved by driving us towards accomplishment. In many cases, though, the brain simply responds to the loss, causing us to feel fear, anxiety, even anguish, depending on the value of the as-yet-unattained goal.

      Love, Loss, Dopamine, and Our Dreams

      The brains functions are carried out by a stew of chemicals called neurotransmitters. You’ve probably heard of serotonin, which plays a key role in our emotional life – most of the effective anti-depressant medications on the market are serotonin reuptake inhibitors, meaning they regulate serotonin levels in the brain leading to more stable moods.

      Somewhat less well-known is another neurotransmitter, dopamine. Among other things, dopamine acts as a motivator, creating a sensation of pleasure when the brain is stimulated by achievement. Dopamine is also involved in maintaining attention – some forms of ADHD are linked to irregular responses to dopamine.[1]

      So dopamine plays a key role in keeping us focused on our goals and motivating us to attain them, rewarding our attention and achievement by elevating our mood. That is, we feel good when we work towards our goals.

      Dopamine is related to wanting – to desire. The attainment of the object of our desire releases dopamine into our brains and we feel good. Conversely, the frustration of our desires starves us of dopamine, causing anxiety and fear.

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      One of the greatest desires is romantic love – the long-lasting, “till death do us part” kind. It’s no surprise, then, that romantic love is sustained, at least in part, through the constant flow of dopamine released in the presence – real or imagined – of our true love. Loss of romantic love cuts off that supply of dopamine, which is why it feels like you’re dying – your brain responds by triggering all sorts of anxiety-related responses.

      Herein lies obsession, as we go to ever-increasing lengths in search of that dopamine reward. Stalking specialists warn against any kind of contact with a stalker, positive or negative, because any response at all triggers that reward mechanism. If you let the phone ring 50 times and finally pick up on the 51st ring to tell your stalker off, your stalker gets his or her reward, and learns that all s/he has to do is wait for the phone to ring 51 times.

      Romantic love isn’t the only kind of desire that can create this kind of dopamine addiction, though – as Captain Ahab (from Moby Dick) knew well, any suitably important goal can become an obsession once the mind has established ownership.

      The Neurology of Ownership

      Ownership turns out to be about a lot more than just legal rights. When we own something, we invest a part of ourselves into it – it becomes an extension of ourselves.

      In a famous experiment at Cornell University, researchers gave students school logo coffee mugs, and then offered to trade them chocolate bars for the mugs. Very few were willing to make the trade, no matter how much they professed to like chocolate. Big deal, right? Maybe they just really liked those mugs![2]

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      But when they reversed the experiment, handing out chocolate and then offering to trade mugs for the candy, they found that now, few students were all that interested in the mugs. Apparently the key thing about the mugs or the chocolate wasn’t whether students valued whatever they had in their possession, but simply that they had it in their possession.

      This phenomenon is called the “endowment effect”. In a nutshell, the endowment effect occurs when we take ownership of an object (or idea, or person); in becoming “ours” it becomes integrated with our sense of identity, making us reluctant to part with it (losing it is seen as a loss, which triggers that dopamine shut-off I discussed above).

      Interestingly, researchers have found that the endowment effect doesn’t require actual ownership or even possession to come into play. In fact, it’s enough to have a reasonable expectation of future possession for us to start thinking of something as a part of us – as jilted lovers, gambling losers, and 7-year olds denied a toy at the store have all experienced.

      The Upshot for Goal-Setters

      So what does all this mean for would-be achievers?

      On one hand, it’s a warning against setting unreasonable goals. The bigger the potential for positive growth a goal has, the more anxiety and stress your brain is going to create around it’s non-achievement.

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      It also suggests that the common wisdom to limit your goals to a small number of reasonable, attainable objectives is good advice. The more goals you have, the more ends your brain thinks it “owns” and therefore the more grief and fear the absence of those ends is going to cause you.

      On a more positive note, the fact that the brain rewards our attentiveness by releasing dopamine means that our brain is working with us to direct us to achievement. Paying attention to your goals feels good, encouraging us to spend more time doing it. This may be why outcome visualization — a favorite technique of self-help gurus involving imagining yourself having completed your objectives — has such a poor track record in clinical studies. It effectively tricks our brain into rewarding us for achieving our goals even though we haven’t done it yet!

      But ultimately, our brain wants us to achieve our goals, so that it’s a sense of who we are that can be fulfilled. And that’s pretty good news!

      More About Goals Setting

      Featured photo credit: Alexa Williams via unsplash.com

      Reference

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