How to Put Off Procrastinating Online
Term 2 is just around the corner and it looks like our classrooms will still be predominantly operating online until next semester. So if you've been struggling to adjust to virtual learning then take a look at this post, we're helping you put off procrastination in the internet era. Our top primary and high school tutors here at Insight East can testify that while computers and phones have given us information right at our fingertips, they're also the perfect tool to distract you from your homework. Read on to discover the best tools to tackle procrastination and divert your attention from social media and apps so you can be one step closer to reaching your academic goals.
Compatible with: Windows and macOS browsers: Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera, Brave and Vivaldi.
Vibe: You're running a tight deadline on your English essay and need to remove yourself from the Internet entirely.
Cold Turkey is the OG of procrastination killers. They're the ol' reliable and sometimes you're just looking for an app or plug-in that you know will work without being too complicated. We're all aware that its fairly easy to hack procrastination apps so you can take a study break and check your notifications, but this plug-in has plenty of flexible features to keep you in check. You can opt to block all internet sites from your computer for a specified duration of time, or block or allow access to specific sites by creating a whitelist. Their padlock feature adds an extra level of security if you're tempted to quit the plug-in by making it impossible to access your computer. If you're planning to finish an assignment at a later date, their 'Frozen Turkey' option gives you a chance to schedule blocks in the near future so you can be on track the minute you sit down. A statistics tab keeps track of which sites you spend or waste the most time on and a motivational quote appears on your browser's home screen to channel your academic mindset (just like our Instagram!)
Compatible with: iPhones or Android or as an online account on any web browser.
Vibe: You've got a lot of researching coming up during the term but you need some good tunes to keep you motivated.
Brain.fm certainly stands out from the other procrastination tools in this post because it doesn't actually block anything, instead its taken our love for music, added a bit of science and curated a bank of songs that claim to boost your efficiency in the office. They're using their own patented version of 'binaural beats', which alter your brain's frequency to promote focus and enhance your productivity naturally. The company also offers tracks to help you get to sleep or even meditate so you can get yourself into the right headspace. Take a look at the image below to understand how our brain operates at different frequencies.
The program also has a built-in AI system which learns which songs (at which frequencies) you're engaging with more based on those you skip or play on repeat so it can offer you a better tailored experience over time. However, you will need to purchase a subscription to explore beyond the five free sessions they give you. In comparison to their competitors its fairly cheap at $6.99/month or $49.99/year. A subscription will grant you unlimited access across all of their categories (focus, relax, sleep) and also allow you to download content to play offline if you're studying in the park and away from WiFi.
Check out A Soft Murmur, a similar app and website that allows you to curate your own relaxing study tones by adjusting the volume of rain, white noise, coffee shop chatter, frogs, birds, crickets and more.
Compatible with: iPhone and Android or Chrome extension.
Vibe: You're working on a Social Justice campaign and want to challenge your friends to see who can be the most productive in the next two hours.
I've mentioned Forest fairly briefly in our last post but it's my number one procrastination killer on many fronts. I relied on it heavily when I did my HSC back in 2017 because I knew I needed a solution to checking the notifications on my phone. Forest allows you to set a timer on your phone (or computer) from ten minutes to two hours which prevents you from either leaving the app or accessing your phone altogether. As the name suggests, the length of each timer you set determines the size and complexity of the tree that is planted in your virtual forest. If you crack before the timer and check another app then your garden will display an ugly dead tree. The more time you spend on the app, the more beautiful trees you can unlock. You can create an account very easily and connect with your friends and engage in a bit of friendly competition to see who can cultivate the largest orchard. In that way, there's an element of social media and games to it and you get to see the results from your hard work too (aside from finishing that practice exam!). If you enter 'Plant Together Mode' then all of your friends must successfully grow their trees or you will be left with another skeleton. Another huge boost of encouragement comes from being able to see the timer counting down to zero so you know just how long you've got until you can take a break.
What's more, Forest is big on social justice and environmentalism and has partnered with Trees For The Future. Users who have collected virtual coins from using the app can spend them on planting a real tree, which is facilitated by Forest across five countries in Africa. To date, more than 700, 000 real trees have been planted.
Compatible with: Mac, Windows, iPhone, Android and Chrome.
Vibe: You've tried blocking websites on your computer while you finish your Maths equations but you know you can still check the same apps on your phone and you're starting to feel guilty about it.
Well, feel guilty no more with Freedom! This handy tool is similar to Cold Turkey by enabling you to block the Internet entirely or exclusively lock yourself out of certain sites. You can also limit your access to desktop apps which is handy if you spend a lot of time on iMessage, looking at your photos or playing games. An impressive feature on the Premium version is the ability to add and sync unlimited devices and custom blocklists if your family gets on board. It also means you're able to restrict access to your phone and laptop at the same time so you seriously won't be able to check your Facebook notifications. By signing up to a subscription, you can schedule blocks for a later date, including recurring ones for each day or week, and use the 'Locked' feature, which prevents you from exiting a running session. An annual subscription is less than $2.50/month.
Compatible with: Chrome extension.
Vibe: You're a busy bee with a flexible timetable and prefer to reduce your screen time over the whole day, rather than a specific hour or two, to be your most productive.
Limit is a smaller web extension released under Freedom but it does offer a surprisingly different feature. While most procrastination tools intensely block you for a set period of time, Limit is playing the long game and aims to boost your productivity over the course of your day. You can nominate the websites you spend the most time on, for example Netflix, then set a timer for how long you'll allow yourself to engage with them. They'll send you a notification when your time is almost up and you'll be re-directed to a 'calming green screen' when you've officially been locked out. I recommend starting with an app or extension that does control your Internet access a little more and aiming to graduate to the flexibility that Limit gives you. As it is purely a web extension, you'll need to have the strength not to get distracted on your phone. But if you have some self-control and are looking to complete multiple tasks throughout the day at your own pace, then this is the tool for you.
Searching for the right app or web extension to beat procrastination can be a time-consuming task and could easily become its own form of procrastination! These were our Top 5 suggestions, a handy list that introduces you to the plethora of tools we can use to become more productive. How do you beat procrastination? Have you been working more effectively from home or do you need a hand? Let us know your best tips for putting off procrastination, our primary and high school tutors at Insight East are always interested to learn more!