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My Favourite Productivity & Studying Apps

Hi guys! Today, I’ll just be sharing some of my favourite apps for studying and productivity.

1. FocusTimer

This app tracks the amount of time for which you are ‘focusing’ i.e. have your phone faced down. I love it because it deters me from using my phone when I’m meant to be doing work. You can also customise the number of reminders to take breaks and the notifications between intervals of using the app. I find that this app really motivates me as it allows me to set goals for how many hours I want to study per week, and I always end up trying my best (in most cases) to meet that goal. Using my phone during a session also interrupts the app and it actually makes me feel guilty for using my phone, so I’m able to keep phone usage during a study session to a minimum.


  1. You can create different “themes” or categories to separate your activities. For example, you can have a studying theme and a reading theme.
  2. It keeps track of how productive you’ve been by calculating how much you’ve used the app and how long you’ve taken breaks for.
  3. It prevents you from using your phone at all and keeps distractions to a minimum.


  1. It isn’t free 😦
  2. I like to use a dictionary app on my phone sometimes when I’m studying but with this app, it is hard to access the apps that aren’t necessarily detracting from your studying.

2. Forest / FocusNow

These are essentially the same! However, Forest is not free (on the App Store), while FocusNow is so it might be a good alternative for those who don’t want to or can’t buy apps. They both centre around the Pomodoro method, and allows you to set a timer in 5-minute intervals. When you complete a session, a tree (or a bush) grows depending on how long you’ve studied and what plant you chose. It’s a fun way to motivate yourself to study as you can start a virtual forest/garden! Your plant dies if you use your phone when the app is running so it’s a cute way to stop yourself from using your phone (but honestly, the best way to stop yourself from using your phone is to turn it off and put it in another room).


  1. The apps use the Pomodoro method to keep you working in productive chunks of time!
  2. You can customise the timer and it automatically reminds you to take small breaks.
  4. FocusNow is free.


  1. Forest is a paid app on the App Store (but not for Android)
  2. Back when I still used Forest, sometimes music would be interrupted. I’m not sure if this is something they fixed.
  3. Same grievance with FocusTimer, I can’t use other apps I’d like to while I study. However, there are modes that you can turn on to allow yourself to be able to access apps while there is a session going on. Nevertheless, I find that this leads to me neglecting the app and just playing games while the app is running so it’s not a feature I like to use.

3. Tide

Tide is very similar to Forest and FocusNow, but I liked it a bit more than the others because I like to have some sound in the background while I study and Tide provides just that. It has a variety of different ambient sounds such as forest, rain and cafe (similar to Coffitivity, but with added features).

4. Any.do / Wunderlist

These are both to-do lists! I’ve used both and I prefer Any.do just a little bit more because of its minimalistic appearance and the format because it allows you to directly add tasks to different dates (today, tomorrow, in the near future, etc.) if you use it on the computer.

These both sync between different platforms so you can use them on your computer and your phone for added convenience! I’m not too sure about Any.do but I do know that with Wunderlist, you can create a list and share it with your friend which is what I’ve been doing with a friend to make an After HSC list.

Overall, I find that these help me to break down and keep track of bigger tasks I have, which was something I found extremely helpful during my holidays to plan my time efficiently as opposed a study timetable which I find hard to stick to.

5. 30/30

This was one of my old favourites! You can set up routines with different tasks and the app automatically moves through them, allowing you to add time or complete a task earlier. It’s quick and convenient once you have it set up and you can just start it after taking a break once you get home from school to get into the habit of an afternoon study routine.

6. Google Drive

This app is essential for me because sometimes I do work on my computer and need to access it on my phone later. The additional features, like Google Docs, are also extremely helpful for collaborating with your friends or a group for a project in real time. Plus, you can store additional copies of your work online in case you aren’t able to access one copy.

7. Quizlet

I’m sure almost all students know about this app! You can use it to make virtual flashcards and study on the go. If you upgrade to the premium version, there are some additional features such as being able to add voice recordings which would make it very useful for any students who are learning another language.

8. Anki

Anki is one of my favourite apps for studying latin terms for my Ancient History subjects. It is like Quizlet but a lot easier and doesn’t require an internet connection. It is also accessible on your computer and is free!

Here’s how to use it:

Screen Shot 2017-04-05 at 5.58.28 pm

When you first enter the app, you can create different decks for different subjects or topics with sub-topics underneath.

Screen Shot 2017-04-05 at 5.58.48 pm

You can choose to have a front and back section, with additional fields if you prefer, with additional tags to categorise your cards.

Screen Shot 2017-04-05 at 5.58.32 pm

This is what it looks like once you’ve created a deck and added some cards.

Screen Shot 2017-04-05 at 5.58.36 pm

This is an example of the front of one of my own cards. I like to put vocab or prompts here.

Screen Shot 2017-04-05 at 5.58.41 pm

Once you press show answer, the back of the card will be shown.

I love this app because of its versatility and how customisable it is. I’m no pro at this, but I’ve seen several guides to customising Anki cards on Google.

I hope this post was helpful for you guys! If you have any questions, feel free to comment below or send me a direct message on Instagram @teastudy.

All the best with your studies!


From Cherie.


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