Five apps to tackle your phone procrastination

clock surrounded by screwed up paper
clock surrounded by screwed up paper

Phone distracting you from revision? We hear you. Here's how to keep it in check

Concentrating on revision is hard enough without a chirruping, flashing slab of anti-concentration sat nearby. Your phone can absolutely be an asset to your studies, but what about the times when it's holding you back? Here are some app alternatives to throwing it in a lake*.

Forest

Forest

A cute idea with a real benefit, Forest invites you to plant a virtual seedling within the app, which then grows into a tree if you leave the app open for long enough. And if you leave the app? The tree dies. So you'd be killing the lovely, green little sapling just so you could look at Insta. You MONSTER.

Over time your successful focus will mean you'll grow your own forest, and in the real world the creators plant actual trees – 400,000 of them so far and counting. Plus, you'll have actually got some revision done.

How much: from £1.99

Get it: iOS / Android 

flipd

Flipd

Flipd cleverly combines a bunch of useful focus features into one pleasingly designed package. Full  lock mode will block all the apps that are thieving away your time, for starters, but there are various motivational nudges like Day Streaks, Daily Goals, Leaderboards and more, so you can compete with yourself to get better at focusing – and get better revision done along the way.

Flipd also allows you to share focus time remotely with your friends: you schedule in some joint study time, then you all Flip Off together (their choice of words). So even though you're focusing at home alone, you're not really alone – you're all in it together.

Add in some mellow tunes, relaxing ambient sounds – mmm, campfire crackling, so soooothing – and even motivational podcasts, and Flipd could be an even better study partner than Snuffles, the revision teddy you don't tell anyone about. (That's OK, we all need a Snuffles at revision time.)

How much? Free, with in-app purchases

Get it: iOSAndroid 

cold turkey

Cold Turkey

Technically this is for your desktop machine or laptop, but it's useful anyway so deserves an honourable mention. Cold Turkey does what the name suggests – no, not serves you up some leftover Christmas dinner – but totally blocks your access to web pages, the internet as a whole, or even your computer. You choose what you want to block and for how long, then you're locked out.

It's useful if you're working on a desktop machine and want to stay in your revision lane. When you try to access a blocked site, you'll see a motivational quote instead to help you stay on task. Or you can engage Frozen Turkey mode (we're not making this up) to totally lock your machine and focus on books or revision cards for a while. Combine it with a phone lock and boom: total focus.

How much: free (paid upgrades available)

Get it: iOSWindows

engross

Engross

Not quite as fierce as the previous examples, Engross uses the gentler technique of disabling your WiFi when active, but switch off your mobile data as well and your phone will be rigged for silent running, rather than distracting you.

Beyond that the app is basically a timer but built with students in mind. You set the period you want to focus for, then off you go. Get distracted? Let the app know and it will record your brain wanderings, so you can track how your focus improves as revision progresses. 

How much: free (offers in-app purchases)

Get it: Android only

moment

Moment

Moment takes the coaching approach. It does have a limited blocking feature that locks you out of your phone for an hour, but its real purpose is guiding you towards a more balanced relationship with your phone, so that you'll gradually decrease your screen time. There's even a family feature that lets you engage a meal-time lock function so you can talk to each other. Should you want to.

Yes, we know, we like screen time too. But you'll thank us when you're whooping it up over those exam results and not hiding in a hole of disappointment. Under a bush. In the woods. Writing 'Shame' on your forehead. In mud. Better to download the nice free app and avoid the 'woodland misery future', yes?

How much? Free, with in-app purchases.

Get it: iOS

*Final note: please don’t throw your phone in a lake. They make rubbish skimming stones.

Our partnership with VOXI

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Head to the VOXI site to see how its plans can help you stay connected this exam season from £10 a month or go to our revision hub for more help with your exams.