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5 Ways To Create Better Study Habits With Tech

5 Ways To Create Better Study Habits With Tech

Studying and technology are quickly becoming synonymous. If you’re looking for something to help you with your classes there’s a fair chance that there’s a website, tool, programme or app somewhere to help you. Joel Lee’s recent article has some particular tools that can help you study, from productivity to research:

It’s been a while since I’ve been in school, but I know a few friends who are still studying their way towards graduation. It amazes me how many tools currently exist out there to aid in the study process – tools that I would’ve loved to make use of back before I earned my degree. Unfortunately, my time for improved study habits is over, but you can still benefit!

Technology is wonderful like that. If there’s a lack, then someone will find a way to create technology that works to help alleviate some of that lack. Can’t focus or concentrate? There’s a tool for that. Can’t seem to keep your due dates organized? No problem, technology can help. Distracted by the Internet? Yup, technology can save the day there, too. All it takes is a little bit of know-how and a little bit of setup and your study productivity will skyrocket in no time.

1) Keep Mental Clarity With Pomodoro Technique

The Pomodoro Technique: An Overview

    I once heard that it’s better to study in small bursts with short breaks in between because it helps your mind retain information. The theory behind it had something to do with the fact that you’re more likely to remember the beginnings and ends of an event while the middle can get a bit fuzzy. Whether or not that’s true, my personal experience does say that short study bursts are more effective than long cramming sessions.

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    That’s where the Pomodoro Technique steps in. The basic gist of the technique is that you set a timer for 20 minutes and work (or study) as hard as you can for that time length. When the timer ends, you’ll get a 10 minute break. You alternate between study and breaks throughout the day and you should see an improvement in your study habits.

    We’ve covered plenty of Pomodoro Technique apps and programs that were designed to help you stay on track. I’ve been using this technique for years and I cannot recommend it enough. It’s amazing. Give it try and see how it works for you.

    2) Conquer Tasks With To-Do Lists

    I feel like I’m tooting an ancient horn every time I mention to-do lists in the same breath as productivity, but there’s a reason why to-do lists are so popular: they work! Perhaps it has something to do with the psychological satisfaction of clearing a list one by one until you have nothing left. It’s wildly cathartic.

    A lot of people use to-do lists to help them remember what they need to buy from the grocery store or something along those lines, but to-do lists can be helpful for studying. The key is to break down big projects into smaller and smaller tasks until each task can’t be broken down any further. Then, one by one, you go through and complete them, all the while ticking them off of the list. One huge benefit is that those huge projects seem less daunting when you’ve broken them down.

    For example, maybe you need to “study for the final” that you have next week. Break that down: you actually have to “study chapters 3, 6, 8, 9, and 10″ and “review lab reports.” Well, those can be broken down even further: “read pages 90 to 100, 100 to 120, review lab report 3, review lab report 4,” and so on and so forth. This way, studying is more methodical, even seems doable now.

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    My recommendations for to-do lists include Do It (Tomorrow)Any.DO, and Todo.txt.

    tomorrow-main

      3) Look Up Strange Terms With OneLook.com

      Screen Shot 2013-09-04 at 3.00.05 PM

        For those of you involved in high-level studies with words or concepts that are difficult to parse, OneLook might be the site for you. In layman’s terms, OneLook is a dictionary, but it’s an advanced dictionary like none you’ve ever seen. I thought I’d seen everything the Internet currently has to offer, but OneLook definitely took me by surprise.

        The basic lookup involves a search query for a word or phrase, then OneLook will spit back a definition. If you want to include or exclude specific dictionaries, you can do that. There is also the option to search translations instead of dictionaries. But coolest part, if you ask me, is the reverse dictionary, which takes a described concept and returns potential words that encapsulate that concept.

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        Another great feature of OneLook is its advanced searching. You aren’t just limited to looking up specific words like in other online dictionaries. Instead, you can search with wildcards, placeholders, search for words with similar meanings, words with similar concepts, phrases that fit an acronym, and more. Once you learn the intricacies, you’ll have a powerful tool in your hands.

        4) Temporarily Block Websites

        Temporarily Block Websites

          It’s funny how some of our greatest distractions today are technology, which was meant to make life easier and more efficient. Smartphones, computers, and the Internet can put up a roadblock when you need to study. Fortunately, technology comes to the rescue and protects you against technology: timed programs that temporarily block some, or all, websites so you are forced to study.

          The one I recommend most is a Windows desktop program called FocalFilter. With it, you can manage a list of sites to block. All you have to do is type in a bunch of websites, set a block duration, then click the button. This tool will block access to these websites for the duration on all major browsers: IE, Chrome, Firefox, and Safari. Sorry, Opera users. Highly recommended.

          For browser-specific alternatives, you can check out LeechBlock for Firefox and StayFocusd for Chrome.

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          5) Use Nag Reminders to Remember to Study

          Another big problem when I used to have when I was a student was that I’d take a short break and get completely side-tracked by whatever I ended up doing on break. “Just a quick glance at a website” turned into three hours of browsing and an aching back. “One more game” turned into five more games and suddenly all of my study time was gone.

          If you run something like the Pomodoro Technique above, then the frequent alarm buzzes will minimize this risk and keep you on track. However, if you don’t like Pomodoro, then what can you use? Fortunately, there are a number of “nag reminder” tools out there that will periodically remind you to do whatever it is you set as the reminder.

          A good one that I like is PesterMe, which happens to be really old (last updated in 2006) but still works well for me (at least on Windows 7). It sits in the background and displays a popup when the reminder duration runs out. For alternatives, you can check out these three reminder tools which are meant to remind you to take breaks, but you can flip them around and use them to remind you to stop breaking.

          Screen Shot 2013-09-04 at 4.35.46 PM

            Conclusion

            The general consensus, at least in my circles, is that technology is a big hindrance to study. Websites, email, instant messengers, and video games might as well be flashing neon signs that point you away from work. However, hopefully the tools above will not only convince you that technology can help reduce distractions, but maybe they’ll actually help you with your studies.

            What do you use to help you study? How do you fight distractions and keep focused? Share your experiences with us in the comments!

            5 Ways Tech Can Help You Foster Better Study Habits | Make Use Of

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            Siobhan Harmer

            Siobhan is a passionate writer sharing about motivation and happiness tips on Lifehack.

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            Last Updated on February 15, 2019

            7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

            7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

            Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

            Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

            Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

            So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

            Joe’s Goals

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              Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

              Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.

              Daytum

                Daytum

                is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.

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                Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

                Excel or Numbers

                  If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

                  What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.

                  Evernote

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                    I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

                    Evernote is free with a premium version available.

                    Access or Bento

                      If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

                      Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.

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                      You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

                      Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

                      All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.

                      Conclusion

                      I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

                      What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

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