While waiting for our note taking app to be finished (sign up to get early access), here is a list of four useful free apps for researchers in academia. You can use these whether you’re in grad school or working as a researcher.
At the top of the list, we have the time tracking wonder that is Clockify. The beauty of Clockify is that it holds you accountable. You press the wonderful little button (as an extension on Chrome) and voilá suddenly you are forced to go into “work mode”. The app also has a pomodoro function! The Pomodoro technique refers to the method of breaking up work into time intervals. For instance by:
- Work for 25 mins (or set any time you choose).
- Break for 5 minutes (or time that you choose).
- Work for another 25 minutes.
- After four such cycles, you can increase the time for the break.
(NOTE! Just make sure to turn off the bell that rings when the time interval has passed, if you’re wearing headsets, it can be somewhat loud. To turn it off, go to settings and then turn off sound notification)
The beauty of this is that it forces you to stay focused for those brief 25 minutes when you’re working. The app can automatically shut down all social media sites (and you can add other sites to disable during the working time). This allows you to stay focused on the work and get things done.
Also, with Clockify you can login into the dashboard and get reports showing you exactly how you spent your time during the week or month that you’re examining. What gets measured, get improved as the old saying goes, Clockify can help you with the measuring part, the improving part you’ll have to figure out.
Although this app will not impart on you the writing skills of Ernest Hemingway, it will however help you avoid writing too lengthy sentences and notify you of when your sentences are a bit too long (much like those of Hemingway, a style that might work for novels but doesn’t suit academia as much).
So how does it work? Well, all you do is take a bunch of text that you’ve written, paste it in, and the app will highlight areas where you might consider rephrasing sentences in order to get a more desirable length of text.
Have you mastered the art of self-control, being in control of your own laziness and vice? If you have, this app is not for you. Freedom (the app, not the concept) gives you the ability to block out all distracting apps and other things on your phone that might distract you when you need to work.
Simply decide for how long you need to work, and the app will automatically block access for all the things you deem unworthy. You can of course always let the app know that certain things shouldn’t be blocked, like that all important call from Mom, or something else of that nature.
4. Habit trackers
This is not a specific app but rather a category of apps. There’s a bunch of them in the play/app store (just search for habit track) and you need to find one that suits you. We become our habits, the more we do something, the more it becomes a habit, then one lovely day, that habit then turns into a character trait. Habit trackers helps you build your own positive habits. Do you have trouble writing everyday? Well, set a goal for writing x number of words (for example 350 words) and then stick to that goal by writing at least 350 words every single day. Or you can choose other goals, such as writing a set number of pages, or tracking the number of days when you went to bed at your preferred time.