After a long Summer vacation, it can be tricky to get your mind back into study mode. Developing good study habits can be tricky but it’s important to knuckle down and make the most of every study session, right from the start, if you hope to achieve the best results possible.

With the internet, you have all the study resources you need at your fingertips, but it also presents endless opportunities for distraction. If you’re not careful, a study session can quickly be sidelined by a simple click onto YouTube or endless scrolling through social media feeds.

Perhaps the most obvious, but often overlooked tip is to simply turn off your phone. If you’re using a computer to study, you don’t need the added distraction of your cell phone, with its badgering notifications and pop-ups. We’ve all experienced the overwhelming urge to check a WhatsApp message or Facebook notification, which are near impossible to ignore. By turning off your mobile device (or at the very least, putting it on ‘Do Not Disturb’ mode) for the couple of hours that are dedicated to learning, you’re sure to eliminate these impulses and clear your mind so that there is space for the important information you need to focus on.

Mobille distraction

But what if you’re using your phone to study? Or what if you want to block out distractions on your laptop? There are plenty of helpful apps you can use to solve these problems. Here are our top five online applications to help you make the most out of your study time.   

    1. StayFocusd 

This free application for Chrome allows you to choose which website you can visit and which ones you can’t, allowing you as the name suggests, to stay focused. This is a great option for blocking social media sites, eliminating the temptation to browse. The application is very customizable, allowing you to set your limits according to a length of time, a time of the day or specific days (such as during the week).  

    2. Forest 

This one is for the gamers. This ingenious mobile app adds a fun gaming element to any study session, making it an engaging way to stay focused on your studies. When you begin a study session, simply open the app and plant a virtual tree. Set the length of time you plan on studying, and as long as you keep the app open, you’ll start growing your tree. But as soon as you get distracted and say, check on your social media, the tree dies. And who wants to kill a tree? If you do manage to grow your tree for the full session, it will be added to your virtual forest. The app also allows you to play ambient sounds, such as the sounds of a rain forest, to assist concentration and block out any external noises.


    3. Pomodoro Timers 

The well-known Pomodoro technique is the method of study where you work for 25 minutes and then take a 5-minute break. After two cycles like this, it’s recommended that you take a long break too. As people tend to struggle to hold focus for long periods of time, this theory aims to maximize the times when you are concentrating by allowing you some dedicated time to take a break and stretch your legs. There are a bunch of Pomodoro Timer apps, that set up a timed study session according to this technique so that you don’t have to keep track yourself. If this sounds like something that could help you get the most out of your study time, then consider trying out one of these apps such as TomatoTimer.

    4. Google Keep 

If you’re the type of person who consistently has new ideas bouncing around in your head, it can be difficult to stay focused on the task at hand. To avoid getting sidetracked, try using Google Keep. This application allows you to immediately make notes of all your thoughts and ideas so that you can revisit them later, allowing you to continue with your current focus on peace of mind that you can revisit your ideas at a later stage.

    5. Use a different browser

As soon as you open your primary browser, you’re hit with an array of your frequently visited websites, as well as all your bookmarked pages, proving to be a distraction right from the very start. How many times do you open your computer with the intention of working, only to be immediately sidetracked by answering emails, messages and reading trending articles.? For many, it is an automatic reaction to open a Facebook tab as soon as they open a browser window. By using a different browser altogether, these distractions will automatically be replaced by your frequently visited study portals and resources, allowing you to get stuck into work right from the very beginning.

Click here to read more amazing articles on tips and tricks about living abroad as an international student.

About the Author: Tessa Cunliffe, aSouth African based digital copywriter and marketer, with a passion for travel and learning. Yoga-inspired and coffee-fuelled. Always planning the next adventure.