5 Resources that Will Improve Your Productivity (And ASSASSINATE Procrastination)
It's week 1 of the A* Grade Challenge, and so I thought I'd do a roundup of the BEST resources (see, I even capitalized it AND put it in italics - they're that great) that I'll be using to combat this dreaded word:
*cue eerie silence*
During these last few months I've been trying out different apps, books and products to see what would really help me increase my productivity and banish all EVIL thoughts of procrastinating - ASSASSINATING them like a ninja, if you will.
So here are 5 of my treasured picks, that have worked wonders for me in increasing how much work I'm able to do each day (in order of general awesomeness, by the way).
Ps. being the stingy person that I am (Proof? I rip tissues in half when a friend asks for one - I've got to save OK), I've tried to list only free resources here. However I have paid for some that I love and would fully recommend!
1. Pomodoro Apps (Free)
The Pomodoro timing technique is essentially this: it's a time management method that breaks down periods of work into chunks of 25 minutes, with a 5 minute break in between.
I can't even BEGIN to say how much this app has helped me get down to work!
I'm surprised at just how long I can study for without feeling exhausted, losing concentration or before being infected with the 'I'M SO SICK OF STUDYING PLEASE HELP ME' syndrome, thanks to the Pomodoro technique.
There are tons of Pomodoro apps out there, but my favourite one is the Clockwork tomato app (for android).
It has stats on how many Pomodoro sessions I'm doing each day, so it's motivating to see what I'm achieving.
Is it worth trying? 5/5 - (aka. AB-SO-LUTELY).
2. 'Pick Four' Goal Notebooks (£22)
I'm currently entering my 5th week of using these notebooks every day, and I'm really glad that I decided to invest in these!
They're a bunch of 4 notebooks (that will keep you covered for a full year) that are aimed at helping you reach your goals (you pick 4 that you're really passionate about achieving, and work on them by taking small steps every day).
You record what you did for each goal, every day. And if you didn't do anything, then you have to write a big fat 'NOTHING' instead (which is just - depressing).
Then you review whether your efforts for the day were good enough, and do a bigger weekly review where you ask yourself "what were the highlights from last week?", "what got in the way/what didn't work?" and "what have I learnt from what didn't work?".
The great thing about constantly reviewing your efforts is that you'll be able to weed out all the pointless things you're wasting time on, and identifying what works, and doing more of that instead!
This is a great tool to help you stick to your goals, as you're constantly writing down what you've achieved each day, and can track your progress.
I also HATE myself when I only have 'nothing' to write on the page, which just ruins my long streak of productivity with a whole heap of disappointment.
I also remember that I coughed up £22 of my own money for these books, so I better squeeze out as many benefits from them as I can!
So, is this worth buying? 5/5 - (I stay motivated, on-track and become really motivated to reach my goals - one of which is getting 100% for my A-levels, so you can make these as school-orientated as you like).
3. Study checker App (Free)
'Study Checker' is a brilliant app that allows you to record your daily studying sessions.
It then breaks all that data into chunks, and gives you daily, weekly and monthly stats on:
1. how long you're studying for each day (and whether your efforts are increasing or decreasing).
2. what subjects you're spending more time on.
3. and which subjects you're neglecting (which I found most useful, because most of the time I barely realize that I'm doing a lot for one subject, and not as much for another).
It also shows you how long you're spending on breaks vs working, using strong visuals (like boldly coloured pie charts and line graphs).
I also find it really motivating because it let's you see your previous days effort and makes you want to try and beat it.
Is it worth trying? 4/5
4. Laptop and phone 'study lockers' (Free)
I am SO guilty of saying 'Ok, I have loads of work to do, so I'll only go on the laptop for a fewwww minutes'.
By the time I check the clock again I've spent HOURS on the internet learning about Kim Kardashians new outfits, what TV shows people are tweeting about, and have Pinned every image on the earth (aka. doing absolutely nothing).
So a useful set of apps to get for all of your tech devices would be 'study lockers'.
They blocks certain sites (that you're alwaaaays procrastinating on) for however long you need to study for.
There's a whole heap of them for different browsers and phone systems etc, but for Android Study Locker is great, and for Chrome I have 'Chrome Nanny' (update: I'm currently trying out StayFocusd). But if you take a look around the app stores you're using you'll probably find something similar.
Is it worth trying? 4/5 - They're essentially like annoying parents checking up on you and making sure you're not getting sucked up in Twitter-land, and will block you after you've selected 'lock mode', or after you're selected 'breaks' time has finished (eg. for generally surfing the web and social media accounts I've restricted my access to 30 minutes a day).
Once that's up, Chrome Nanny get's in there and blocks the sites with a lovely little 'SHOULDN'T YOU BE STUDYING, EH? sign.
So you're forced to work. You'll be glad once you get the work done though, believe me!
5. Trello App (Free)
I've been using Trello a lot quite recently to organize my to-do lists (both on the go, with the mobile app, and on my computer).
It's got a great design, which is really simple and straight-forward to use, and let's you create to-do lists, and swish the tasks into the 'to do', 'doing' or 'done' sections with the swipe of a finger/mouse.
It's also great to see all the progress you've made in getting your to-do list done and dusted!
Since getting the Pick Four notebooks though (which I put my daily to-do lists onto), I don't use it as much.
Now it's mainly there for saving important dates, or keeping a record of books that I've read etc.
So if you're not using anything to record your to-dos (and don't want to go down ye olde fashioned pen-and-paper route), then I'd recommend getting this app.
It's incredibly easy to use and so organised.
Is it worth trying? 3/5 - If you want to organize yourself and your tasks and don't normally use to-do lists, then definitely download this!
All of these resources are brilliant for motivation, keeping you organised and crystal clear on what tasks need to be done, and helping you achieve your goals and crush, stomp and otherwise terminate procrastination.
I've had great success using these to improve my own productivity, so I'd definitely recommend you give them a spin!
Now, I'd love to hear what you think!
- What products/resources do you like using to aid your studying?
- And have you ever tried these resources before?
- Or fancy giving one a go?
Let's chat in the comments below!
Ps. Images courtesy of Southern Blog Society and This Off Beat Life.
HEADS UP - I just want to let you know that a few of these links are affiliate ones! Which is essentially geek speak for saying that if you choose to click on these links and purchase something (firstly, thank you!), then I'll get a small commission to keep the site running. So if you fancy buying any of these and want to support the site then you can use these links. :)
If you found this useful, then here's a related post to help you fight procrastination: