by Autumn Kaufman
This story was originally published on New York University’s Washington Square News.
Last Sunday, I was lying down peacefully in bed after watching an episode of “Euphoria” when my classmate DMed me asking if I was prepared for the midterm the next day. My heart rate accelerated and I felt a bit sick after seeing the notification. I had completely forgotten that midterms were coming up.
When I tried doing research for my politics class, I grabbed my phone every five minutes and scrolled mindlessly through Instagram. I needed to do something to limit my distractions on my phone and computer and improve my attention span.
In 1999, Francesco Cirillo developed the Pomodoro Technique based on research showing that breaking up tasks is an effective study method. Many apps have harnessed this technique; they use a similar premise by allowing you to block distracting apps and websites so that you can actually focus on your assignments. As you scramble to study, check out this guide for a few apps — listed from least to most expensive — designed to increase productivity. Maybe one of these will help you break your social media addiction for good.
1. LeechBlock NG (Free)
LeechBlock NG is available as a Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox extension. It uses the same timed website blocker feature as most of the apps listed below. A fun feature of this app is that you can set it up such that blocked websites direct you to something else of your choice. You can choose a motivating quote for encouragement, or maybe a link that gives you a spoiler of your favorite show as a punishment. Regardless, this app wins points for creativity. I found LeechBlock to be simple, practical and easy to use. That being said, LeechBlock only blocks sites on the browser you add it to, which means if you’re desperate enough, you can get back to scrolling through social media.
Read the rest of the story at Washington Square News.