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Being a student is hard. Your phone and the internet usually don’t help make it easier, with their plethora of distractions luring you from deadlines. Believe it or not, though, there are some tools which dilute rather than augment disturbance, and improve rather than distract from your assignments - making your grades and productivity soar higher than they could without them.
1. Notion #
It’s likely that at some point, you’ve tried to make notes to help you revise, or, more likely, made notes to make you feel like you were helping yourself revise. Those notes can often end up evolving into overwhelmingly long word documents where you struggle to distinguish between monotonous paragraphs.
That’s where Notion comes in. Notion is a free app for all major desktop and mobile platforms which allows you to create well-organised notes, in addition to a plethora of other features.
What makes it most appealing for note-takers is its toggle feature - letting you add revision questions in your notes which hide their answers, get a quick overview of points without having to see all of their sub-points, and much more.
Get Notion here.
2. Dark Reader #
What you put on your notes and documents often depends on your internet-browsing skills, but it’s hard to that if your eyes feel like they’re being burnt to a crisp by site with their blistering white backgrounds and high-contrast design language.
This browser extension enables you to force dark mode on websites, cleverly inverting colours while maintaining readability and contrast - easing the burden on your eyes while you burn the midnight oil.
Get Dark Reader here.
3. TabCopy #
We’ve all been there: dozens, if not hundreds of tags stacked all across our browser windows, as we leave them open due to a paranoia of losing those oh-so-precious research papers and Stack Exchange answers buried deep inside the chaos.
TabCopy generates a copyable list of all your tabs and their links which you can save somewhere else, allowing you to close your dozens of tabs without worrying about losing them.
Get TabCoy here.
4. Video Speed Controller #
My personal favourite on this list, this Chrome extension has no doubt saved countless hours when blitzing through revision videos, or has helped rationalise the guilt of bingewatching a TV show the day before an exam–by enabling you to pump up the speed on any HTML5 video–including YouTube, Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+, and Twitter–to up to 16x the original speed.
It’s hard going back to watching anything at that snail-paced speed normal people once you’ve had a few days with this extension - and it’s even better for speeding through videos on sites which don’t natively support speed controls.
Get Video Speed Controller here.
5. Noisli #
Staying focused through that hard work, though, is always difficult. Nosili is a website that provides up to 1.5 hours per day of free, highly customisable background audio to focus to, drowning out external distractions and noise–letting you focus on the task at hand.
Get Noisli here.
6. Forest #
This browser extension is another productivity booster that boosts your incentive to focus by planting a virtual tree that dies when you visit sites on your blocklist or stray anywhere from your allowlist - a surprisingly potent way to ensure that you don’t end up sinking time into the many distractions the internet is teeming with.
Get Forest here.
7. Sleepyti.me #
After all that hard work, you deserve a good night’s rest which’ll allow you to wake up in the morning. The doctor-recommended minimum of eight hours of sleep doesn’t always ensure that you don’t feel groggy — it turns out that if you wake up in a middle of one of your ‘sleep cycles’, you end up feeling tired when awake, but if you wake up right between cycles, you’ll likely be not groggy but instead well-rested.
Sleepyt.me allows you to optimise your sleep schedule based on these cycles by telling you when to go to bed based on when you need to wake up, what time to wake up if you go to bed now, or when to wake up based on when you plan to go to sleep. After following its research-backed recommendations to squeeze as much rest as you can out of your limited bedtime, and you’ll wonder how you ever managed to survive without it.
Check out Sleepyti.me here.
These utilities won’t magically solve your problems, and they won’t do your homework for you. But they will help fight distraction, increase immersion and efficiency, and help you more efficiently research and maintain content.
Now all that’s left is to find an app that adds hours to the clock.