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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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      How to Fight Information Overload

      How to Fight Information Overload

      Information overload is a creature that has been growing on the Internet’s back since its beginnings. The bigger the Internet gets, the more information there is. The more quality information we see, the more we want to consume it. The more we want to consume it, the more overloaded we feel.

      This has to stop somewhere. And it can.

      As the year comes to a close, there’s no time like the present to make the overloading stop.

      What you need to do is focus on these 4 steps:

      1. Set your goals.
      2. Decide whether you really need the information.
      3. Consume only the minimal effective dose.
      4. Don’t procrastinate by consuming too much information.

      But before I explain exactly what I mean, let’s discuss information overload in general.

      The Nature of the Problem

      The sole fact that there’s more and more information published online every single day is not the actual problem. Only the quality information becomes the problem. This sounds kind of strange…but bear with me.

      When we see some half-baked blog post we don’t even consider reading it, we just skip to the next thing. But when we see something truly interesting — maybe even epic — we want to consume it. We even feel like we have to consume it. And that’s the real problem.

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      No matter what topic we’re interested in, there are always hundreds of quality blogs publishing entries every single day (or every other day). Not to mention all the forums, message boards, social news sites, and so on. The amount of epic content on the Internet these days is so big that it’s virtually impossible for us to digest it all. But we try anyway.

      That’s when we feel overloaded. If you’re not careful, one day you’ll find yourself reading the 15th blog post in a row on some nice WordPress tweaking techniques because you feel that for some reason, “you need to know this.”

      Information overload is a plague. There’s no vaccine, there’s no cure. The only thing you have is self-control. Luckily, you’re not on your own. There are some tips you can follow to protect yourself from information overload and, ultimately, fight it. But first…

      Why information overload is bad

      It stops you from taking action. That’s the biggest problem here. When you try to consume more and more information every day, you start to notice that even though you’ve been reading tons of articles, watching tons of videos and listening to tons of podcasts, the stream of incoming information seems to be infinite.

      Therefore, you convince yourself that you need to be on a constant lookout for new information if you want to be able to accomplish anything in your life, work and/or passion. The final result is that you are consuming way too much information, and taking way too little action because you don’t have enough time for it.

      The belief that you need to be on this constant lookout for information is just not true.

      You don’t need every piece of advice possible to live your life, do your work, or enjoy your passion.

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      So how to recognize the portion of information that you really need? Start with your goals.

      1. Set your goals

      If you don’t have your goals put in place you’ll be just running around grabbing every possible advice and thinking that it’s “just what you’ve been looking for.”

      Setting goals is a much more profound task than just a way to get rid of information overload. Now by “goals” I don’t mean things like “get rich, have kids, and live a good life”. I mean something much more within your immediate grasp. Something that can be achieved in the near future — like within a month (or a year) at most.

      Basically, something that you want to attract to your life, and you already have some plan on how you’re going to make it happen. So no hopes and dreams, just actionable, precise goals.

      Then once you have your goals, they become a set of strategies and tactics you need to act upon.

      2. What to do when facing new information

      Once you have your goals, plans, strategies and tasks you can use them to decide what information is really crucial.

      First of all, if the information you’re about to read has nothing to do with your current goals and plans then skip it. You don’t need it.

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      If it does then it’s time for another question. Will you be able to put this information into action immediately? Does it have the potential to maybe alter your nearest actions/tasks? Or is it so incredible that you absolutely need to take action on it right away? If the information is not actionable in a day or two (!) then skip it. (You’ll forget about it anyway.)

      And that’s basically it. Digest only what can be used immediately. If you have a task that you need to do, consume only the information necessary for getting this one task done, nothing more.

      You need to be focused in order to have clear judgment, and be able to decide whether some piece of information is mandatory or redundant. Self-control comes handy too … it’s quite easy to convince yourself that you really need something just because of poor self-control. Try to fight this temptation, and be as ruthless about it as possible – if the information is not matching your goals and plans, and you can’t take action on it in the near future then SKIP IT.

      3. Minimal Effective Dose

      There’s a thing called the MED – Minimal Effective Dose. I was first introduced to this idea by Tim Ferriss. In his book The 4-Hour Body,Tim illustrates the minimal effective dose by talking about medical drugs. Everybody knows that every pill has a MED, and after that specific dose no other positive effects occur, only some negative side effects if you overdose big.

      Consuming information is somewhat similar. You need just a precise amount of it to help you to achieve your goals and put your plans into life. Everything more than that amount won’t improve your results any further. And if you try to consume too much of it, it will eventually stop you from taking any action altogether.

      4. Don’t procrastinate by consuming more information

      Probably one of the most common causes of consuming ridiculous amounts of information is the need to procrastinate. By reading yet another article we often feel that we are indeed working, and that we’re doing something good – we’re learning, which in result will make us a more complete and educated person.

      This is just self-deception. The truth is we’re simply procrastinating. We don’t feel like doing what really needs to be done – the important stuff – so instead we find something else, and convince ourselves that “that thing” is equally important. Which is just not true.

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      Don’t consume information just for the sake of it. It gets you nowhere.

      In Closing

      As you can see, information overload can be a real problem and it can have a sever impact on your productivity and overall performance. I know I have had my share of problems with it (and probably still have from time to time). But creating this simple set of rules helps me to fight it, and to keep my lizard brain from taking over. I hope it helps you too, especially as we head into a new year with a new chance at setting ourselves up for success.

      Feel free to shoot me a comment below and share your own story of fighting information overload. What are you doing to keep it from sabotaging your life?

      (Photo credit: Businessman with a Lot of Discarded Paper via Shutterstock)

      Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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