Final exam tech tips for the hopeless procrastinator

Finals are just around the corner, and if you are like most college students, you have a serious problem with procrastination. By studying on your computer and having your cell phone nearby, you are at risk of being seduced by your technology and the vast amount of distractions that it can provide. Technology can seriously harm your studying if you are pulled away by every ding and ring on your digital devices. However, technology can also save you from technology.

The following applications are easy to use and are very effective in curbing procrastination. The first program is Freedom, which is $10 at macfreedom.com. Freedom completely disables all access to the internet for a set amount of time. Getting online once Freedom has started is very difficult, so it is good at keeping you focused. Freedom costs $10, but there are free alternatives as well.

LeechBlock, an extension for the Firefox browser, which you can get at addons.mozilla.org, will not cost you a dime, and is more customizable than Freedom. It does not block all your internet access but instead only blocks sites that you tell it to. LeechBlock is useful when a lot of your studying material is online so you still need to access the internet.

In addition to internet-blocking programs, there are also activity-monitoring programs that can mock your weakness and show you how much you are letting your technology distract you.

RescueTime, which is free at rescuetime.com, will actually track your online activity and provide you with informative charts that reveal just how much time you spend on your favorite, distracting websites. This is a good way to visualize how much time you are wasting, and can be effective when used along with Freedom or LeechBlock.

As for your cell phone distraction, you could simply choose to just turn it off for a certain amount of time. If you cannot bring yourself to part with it, don’t worry, there’s an app for that. It’s called StudyBuddy, 99 cents for iPhone/Android, and it will use a graph, like RescueTime, to show all the times you stopped working to send a text or play your new game.

Technology can be your greatest study partner, or your academic downfall. Luckily, there is enough technology available that it can help negate some of its own negative effects.

KELLY MITCHELL can be reached at science@theaggie.org.

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