Wednesday, 1 August 2018

My Online Productivity Toolkit // Printables, Apps and More


Photo by Marvin Meyer on Unsplash

I've been a student for a good amount of years now and I've constantly searched for new ways to get productive throughout my time as a student, be that at high school, college or university! I have gathered a lot of tips, tricks and techniques over this period of time and I am so excited to share these with you! Before I set up this blog, I used to run a study blog over on Tumblr and I really learned a lot about productivity from this experience, as well as from studying and trying different things for myself!

There are so many great productivity apps on the market and so much choice that it can be hard to see which ones actually work and help you to get productive! I have tried and tested so many apps and I have finally settled on my handful of staple productivity apps, which I keep in a folder on my phone for those study/work days!

Forest

If you haven't heard of Forest, it is an incredibly popular app on the app store and possibly the cutest productivity app out there! It asks you to choose an amount of time that you want to focus for (I always go for 25 minutes as per the Pomodoro technique) and it plants a lil tree for you. As long as you do not go on your phone and exit the app for this length of time, the tree will grow. If you go on your phone and procrastinate, the tree dies and you are left with a dead little tree in your forest. It's a fun and cute way to get productive!

You can download Forest on the App Store HERE and the Google Play store HERE. There is also a Chrome browser button that you can download if the app isn't your cup of tea!


Google Drive, Docs, Sheets and Keep

The Google apps are incredibly useful! I use Google Drive for absolutely everything, from all my lecture notes to drafts of my blog posts and my peer support work! It makes it so easy to keep all your work backed up and also to work collaboratively with the ability to share folders and work on the same file at the same time as others! Having all of your work easily accessible on your phone through Google's handy apps means that you can work on anything on the go and you have access to so much information at your fingertips! For example, in the lead up to exams I like to read through my lecture notes on my phone when i'm on public transport, in a waiting room or on breaks in work! It's just so useful!


Priority Matrix

I have tried so many to-do list apps and none have been quite like Priority Matrix. This app allows you to divide up your to-do list however you want and allows you to change the sizes of each section when you are focussing on one more than the other. There are so many tools in this app and I feel like i've only scratched the surface!


Pinterest/Tumblr

Sometimes what you need to access is some inspiration! Pinterest is pretty much automatic for me when I need this! My dashboard is full of self-care quotes, career inspo and productivity tips. Depending on what you pin, your dashboard will be full of what you need to see! This is why I love Pinterest! You can follow my boards HERE for lots of self-care inspiration and career motivation!

Tumblr can also be a great destination when you need some inspiration. I use Tumblr mostly for study inspiration! The tags 'studyblr' and 'studyspo' are full of tips, tricks and advice for students! I ran a Studyblr blog for a handful of years and it definitely helped me to get to university! Now, I focus all my time on this blog but Studyblr does hold a special place in my heart!


Other great apps:
  • Quizlet - a great app for students who are trying to revise!
  • Canva - for making great graphics on the go!
  • Google Calendar - gotta have a good calendar!
  • To-Do - simpler than Priority Matrix!
  • Dictionary - you never know when you'll need it!


Blogs

Blogs are full of great advice and some of the best productivity and self-improvement advice I have been able to find in my quest for productivity tips! This is a list of some of my favourite blogs for this kind of advice:

Here are also some of my favourite individual productivity posts, if you want to find something to read quickly to get you into a productive state of mind:

YouTube

Just like with blogs, sometimes the best advice I can find comes from YouTubers! There are so many channels dedicated to self-improvement and they have a wealth of advice for productivity! Here are some of my favourite channels:


White Noise 

When I want to get properly in the zone, I listen to white noise instead of music. I have tried to listen to every genre of music while studying but they all end up distracting me! White noise is great because it blocks out the sounds of your surroundings but doesn't distract you in the process! It's also super calming so really helps with my anxiety, especially when super stressed about exams and deadlines! Here are a few of the best white noise generators out there:

  • Rainy Mood - A lovely rainfall sound to accompany music or just to blur out your surroundings
  • Coffitivity - Cafe sounds which will make you feel like you're out and about being all productive around other people

Grammarly

Grammarly is perhaps my favourite tool on this list as it makes writing so easy, especially when my head is all foggy from stress and I can barely get the words out! It checks your spelling, punctuation and grammar as you write and makes proofreading your work so simple and easy! I have to write to deadlines a lot as a student and Grammarly boosts my confidence about my quality of work whenever I end up submitting it!

Google drive

I have already mentioned Google Drive in the apps section of this post but I need to mention the web version too! I do everything on Google Drive and honestly, I do not know what I would do without it! I have been using it non-stop since the start of college and it has saved my ass countless times since the large storage capacity allows me to use it to back up all of my work! Trust me, give it a go!


My music taste generally is very varied, but I tend to stick to two different study playlists; one of my own and one on a YouTube livestream. However, I have hunted down a few different ones for you, including some of the playlists I used to study for my A Levels with.

Lo-Fi study music

One thing that I discovered when studying in uni is lo-fi study music, which is all over YouTube. This livestream (HERE) is the one I tend to always go for and Chillhop have also put together the playlist on Spotify (HERE). You can check out the other Chillhop playlists (HERE); they're all fab to study to!

This lo-fi hip hop playlist by ChilledCow is also fab if you want to switch it up a bit!

My playlist

For this post, i've put together a list of the songs I most frequently listen to when i'm studying. They're all classical pieces which I find help me to concentrate the most. I like to pair up this playlist with Rainy Mood to really get a good atmosphere going!


Other playlists




I am a massive fan of finding printables for every occasion, particularly for studying and productivity! I have searched the internet for some free printables and compiled a little list for you! I will keep updating this whenever I find any more great materials!




Just to round off this slightly long post, I just wanted to share a short list of tips which have helped me when I have been lacking a bit of productivity in my life! We all have the capability to be productive and get shit done, it's just harder for some people. My mental health struggles have meant that it has been so hard to be productive sometimes, but while I can't keep up with life sometimes, it really stops for nobody and sometimes we need to look outside ourselves for motivation and inspiration to get back up and keep going.

Make productivity plans

When I can't push myself to get out of bed and get anything done, I turn to others to motivate me. I make plans to push me out of bed from fear of letting somebody down, rather than just myself. If I plan to meet somebody at the library, I will go just so I don't leave them waiting. Book study spaces at the library, arrange a time to meet somebody at a cafe, arrange appointments when you know that once you're out of the house you will be more likely to go to the library afterwards.

To-do lists

I'm talking physical, on paper to-do lists. You can't just delete items and watch them disappear when you don't want to do them. Write in pen and make it neat. You won't want to put a harsh line through the writing, you'll want to check the item off the list! It's the most satisfying feeling ever!

Take breaks

What's better: studying solidly for a couple of hours before burning out and giving up, or studying for longer but with regular breaks? I'd say the latter. Whatever task you're trying to get done, make sure to break it up into chunks and have breaks! This is why I love the Pomodoro method of studying so much. It makes studying so much more manageable and less daunting! Plus, with regular breaks you are more likely to retain the information you're taking in!

What are your productivity tips?x


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