Tools for Focus and Time Management
LifeAt Virtual Spaces (Website)
LifeAt is a website that can supplement your study sessions, especially while working from home. You can set a pomodoro timer with regular breaks, and choose from a range of videos to help you concentrate. There’s a ‘study with me’ option for those who enjoy these kinds of videos on YouTube. One of their most popular features is the ‘celebrity’ option that feels as if you’re studying virtually with your favourite celebrities. But if some ambient scenery is more your thing, there’s plenty more options to choose from.
I Miss My Cafe (Website)
If you’re missing the ambience of your local cafe, then this website can set the scene while you work from home. You can listen to music, and choose from a range of ‘cafe’ sound effects to create the perfect coffee shop ambience.
Forest (App & Chrome Extension)
The Forest app promotes being focused in the present moment and limiting digital distractions. In the app, you can choose how long you want to focus for and start planting your tree. During this time, if you exit the app, your tree will start to die unless you go back to the app quickly. If you struggle with digital distractions, this is a helpful app to keep you focused. In a similar way, the chrome extension prevents you from accessing websites that you have set on your blocklist. You can build a ‘forest’ of trees and flowers and track how long you have studied/stayed focused for.
Toggl Track (App & Website)
Similar to Forest, Toggl Track allows you to keep a log of how you spend your time, organised into projects and hashtags. This is useful if you want to see how much time you’re spending across your studies and personal projects or, even across various modules. If you’re looking to take a time audit, this might be a useful alternative instead of writing things down, as you can get insights in the form of graphs based on your weekly, monthly, and overall time inputs. A time audit can be a great step towards building a better work-life balance.
Tools for Note-taking and Planning
Notion (Mobile/Desktop App & Website)
Notion is a flexible tool where you can take notes, plan projects and much more. There’s a range of pre-built templates and tutorials to get you started. For example, you can track your progress on tasks from ‘To-Do’, ‘In Progress’ and ‘Complete’ using a kanban board, But it doesn’t stop there, you can view those same tasks in a ‘Calendar’ or ‘List View’ and use filters to tailor each view by clicking a few buttons. You can arrange and customise your notes in a variety of ways, instead of a strict layout that you have in word documents.
Craft (IOS App)
If you like Notion but want to focus more on writing and connecting ideas, then Craft is an ideal option, especially for taking notes on your iPhone or Mac. As a student or researcher, you’ll be able to connect ideas across documents, and use sub-pages to create organise related information together. You can also collaborate with others, all while using a very aesthetically pleasing interface.
Edison Calendar (App)
Edison is a calendar that helps you to focus on your goals. You can break yearly goals into quarterly goals, then into monthly goals and so on until you reach daily goals. After breaking down your goals, you can outline your day and view your daily tasks above your schedule within the app. Your goals can be assigned to categories, and easily reviewed if you’re unable to complete the tasks assigned to them. This is perfect for organising large projects, and working towards long term goals. Check out this thread for an overview of the app and its features.
Tools for Study, Research, and Reading
If you’re looking for a way to research more efficiently, genei is the tool to try. You can store and organise your papers into folders and sub-folders, whilst keeping track of your progress by marking documents as read or unread. You can save time using genei’s AI summarisation to skim papers before reading in full and find related papers by following the list of reference links generated from the paper. It’s easy to keep all your notes in one place, using the annotation, highlight and linked note features.
Researcher (App & Website)
Researcher aims to help academics stay up to date with the latest papers and journal publications. You can curate a feed of areas and journals you’re interested in, and read papers on the go. This makes it easier to keep up with the recent developments, especially for students who are unsure which journals to look at. You can link your institutional login, and reference managers to make things easier. Researcher also has tools aimed at authors, such as finding related articles, and helping to find relevant journals to publish work.
Anki (App, Desktop Download & Website)
Anki is a flashcard-based program that encourages active recall and spaced repetition. You can read more about these concepts here, and how to implement them effectively as a remote learner here. Unlike manually reviewing physical flashcards, Anki keeps track of your progress and shows you the content you’re struggling with or information you’re likely to start forgetting based on the concept of spaced repetition. This can automate revision for you once you set up your cards, and commit to reviewing them as Anki suggests.