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Battling Internet distractions — There’s an app for that!

By Kendall Garton, PhD candidate in History

Let’s face it: the internet can be a magical and majestic place, BUT between Facebook and cute puppy videos it’s also the dangerous beast at the root of many study distractions.

Fear not – there is likely an app for that! Below is a list of some (free) internet resources paired up with some of our favourite PLA tips:

Manage internet distractions

Ideally, we’d all just turn off the internet while working, but with so many academic resources online that’s easier said than done.

To help manage your internet distractions, consider a site-blocker app or browser extension. Simply enter a list of the sites that distract you most alongside what days and times you’d like them blocked and BOOM – gone!

Improve your focus and concentration

One of the best ways to improve your work habits it to embrace the 50/10 rule or the pomodoro technique – study or write for 50 minutes then take a 10 minute break. To help you focus during those 50 minutes, consider one of the following:

  • Strict Workflow: This is the strictest of the bunch as it cuts your internet access until your break times (Chrome App Store)
  • Pomodoro One: (Mac App Store)
  • Pomodroido: This is a personal favourite when I’m studying away from my laptop (GooglePlay)

Mirroring your ideal study space

Everyone has a preferred study space, but especially during busy times of the semester it can be hard to fit everyone into places like Stauffer or coffee shops. Luckily, there might be an online option for you:

  • Are you a fan of coffee shop ambiance? Try Coffitivity which mimics the sounds of a coffee shop without breaking the bank
  • Do you like quiet spaces but not *too* quiet? Try adding some white noise to your study sessions. My current go-to is “oscillating brown noise”: SimplyNoise

Avoid stress: back-up your work!

This isn’t a traditional PLA tip but it’s important to mention since I learned the hard way: I once dropped my brand new laptop on my way to back-up my work. I kid you not. It was horrifying. Use any ICloud, GoogleCloud, Dropbox, email, or USB stick you can get your hands on.

Learning Strategies!

Do you have any questions about study skills or learning strategies? The PLA team has got you covered! Visit other entries on the PLA Blog, look through the tools on the website Learning Strategies & Tools, and ask the PLAs any questions you might whenever you might have them via our email askaPLA@gmail.com

You can also check out our full online resource on Healthy Technology Habits.

What are some of your favourite apps to help with productivity? Let us know in the comments!

Photo courtesy of Yuri Yu. Samoilov under Flickr Creative Commons Attribution license 2.0.