This blog has been written by our new intern, Laura Hamilton…
Being a student now is pretty difficult. There are constant distractions, and these mostly come from one place: the internet. If you say that you’ve never been on an hour-long Buzzfeed quiz spiral, you’re probably lying. I have found though, that not only are there ways of using technology to improve my life as a student – to focus, to motivate etc., but also to find new ways of using breaktimes more effectively. Below are the top five things I’ve used to make my life a bit easier and more fun as a student.
1. Pomodoro apps
As anyone doing a reading-based degree will know, it’s 99% impossible to read more than 2 pages before your mind starts drifting to anything unrelated to the essay. I thought my award-winning unproductivity would be something I would just have to deal with for the rest of my life, that is, until I discovered the Pomodoro method. This method, which dictates an indivisible period of 25 minutes of work followed by a 5-minute break, probably saved my degree. The 25-minute period for working never feels too long to just push through until the break, and for every 4 cycles, you get a long break. There are numerous apps available, but I’d probably recommend “Be Focused” – it lets you personalise the length of the intervals if you’re someone who can stay focused a little longer.
Although Cashew has yet to spread far beyond the town in which it was created, it’s an absolute must-have app. You can transfer to and receive money from any Facebook friend who has the app. Because it’s done over the app, it kind of takes away the awkwardness that comes with asking someone to pay you back, but more than that, it’s just easy.
Houseparty lets you stay easily in contact with friends from home without the coordination ordinarily only required for a rocket launch or military operation. So named as a video chat app that allows multiple callers to join in a “houseparty”. To stay in touch, you enter the ‘house’, and when any of your contacts also enters the ‘house’ you can choose to ‘join’ them, i.e. start a video chat with them. As more people come into the house, more people can join your conversation; or, you can lock the room, thereby stopping anyone you don’t like from joining and ruining the party. Literally.
Pinterest is an absolute treasure trove of inspiration of any kind. Stuck in a work rut? Look at these pretty, pretty mind maps and notes and you’ll want to make some of your own. Don’t want to tidy your flat? Look at the DIY in this exposed-brick loft and it’ll have you rearranging your cushions to make your home hygge! Can’t put together an outfit? A few clicks and you’ll have hundreds of outfits you’ll want to recreate. Great for those 5-minute breaks in between Pomodoros.
LinkedIn basically lets you stalk people while feeling productive because it’s related to your future employment. But beyond it just being another way to procrastinate, it’s actually massively useful. You can scroll through the latest business news, find contacts and message them to build that crucial network.
So, there we have it. These apps will no doubt still be useful once student life has come to an end, especially the Pomodoro method. As the range of technology for productivity and entertainment expands further and further, it’s hugely useful to know which apps work best for you and which ones don’t and, even sometimes, to delete the ones that only drain your time and productivity. There are over 2 million apps just on the App Store: choose wisely.