How can we possibly make our studying routine less cluttered with digital noise and focus on studying? Is it possible to minimize all the distractions? Zenware apps are definitely one of the solutions. These apps help you concentrate on the one task you are supposed to do by eliminating interface clutter, notifications, and often noises. While these apps usually cost quite a bit, we also offer you a combination of free apps for focusing on studying that can substitute any fancy Zenware.
Working on a laptop induces many distractions: constant notifications, many open windows, toolbars, banners, notification windows. It’s already hard enough to concentrate, and all this digital buzz does not make it easier.
Many of us are already well-equipped with several focus tips and concentration methods like the Pomodoro technique. It is a great tool to help you focus on studying or working, but if your digital workspace and soundscape are cluttered, its effectiveness drops immensely.
“Thatch your roof before the rain begins.” In other words, get your productivity apps and digital tools ready for the new academic year.
Yes, you can go back to a typewriter (and, surprisingly enough, there are modern digital typewriters — quite a treat for people who write professionally), but it’s not a solution for most of us. What can help is a particular kind of focus and productivity apps called “Zenware.” Check these excellent apps for focusing on studying before the academic year kickoff.
What is Zenware?
“Zenware is a software designed to block visual distractions on a computer so that it is easier to concentrate on what you are doing.”
In other words, these zen apps engage a user in minimum interaction beyond what is absolutely necessary to complete a necessary task. By helping you to concentrate, these apps stimulate the “flow” (aka optimal experience) in you, famously described by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. There are no additional icons and toolbars that can cause distraction — these apps have a clear, almost serene, non-clutter interface.
Why is Zenware Useful for Focused Work?
If you need to write a college paper or any other written assignment, you would usually start drafting already in customary Word or Google Docs. However, these tools might distract you by the opportunity to add headers, to play around with formatting, margins, and lists, to fiddle around with word count, to correct misspelled words, and so on.
These features are especially detrimental when you’re not entirely concentrated on your task. When you start amending headings, for example, you will lose your precious strain of thought. On the other hand, Zenware apps for writing provide you with just a blank piece of paper, and all you can do is type and delete, while other distractions are blocked.
There is no extensive body of research done specifically on these minimalist apps, but what exists suggests that it is a possible solution to our scourge of multitasking, procrastination, and losing focus.
To sum up, Zenware helps you to:
- minimize distractions
- avoid procrastination
- overcome writer’s block
- work in a visually appealing, minimalistic writing space
Zenware Apps and their Free Alternatives
These focus apps are usually quite unique and expensive, but if you write a lot and continue to do it beyond your studies at college, any of these apps might be a good investment. Otherwise, below we provide you with a few free alternatives and a combination of free tools and apps for focusing on studying to create a perfect zen experience.
The ultimate zen writing tool suitable for working on big projects, without any distractions.
Although this tool is cumbersome on features essential for any writer, it has a light mode for drafting your ideas without any extra editing features catching your attention.
Its creators know that soundscape matters. This minimalist writing app is accompanied by natural sounds that sharpen your focus. You can get this app for a donation starting at $8.5.
A free alternative to the writing apps above. It is not suitable for dedicated work on the same project over weeks and months but will do for just writing down a draft of your essay, without getting much distracted, of course. So don’t forget to save and/or copy-and-paste your text to your custom word editor whenever you exit ZenPen.
Another free focused writing app, although it has so many built-in features that you might spend hours figuring them out. Who knows, maybe it’s totally worth it!
Notes and Notepad
Don’t forget that, most probably, your laptop (whether iOS or PC) already has an app that looks almost like Zenware. These are the most straightforward note-taking instruments — Notes and Notepad. Although Notes are now also heavy-loaded with fun features, it’s less prone to distract you. Enable full-screen mode, hide the navigation bar — and here you go!
Further Tips and Apps for Focusing on Studying
Here is a set of tips and other apps for focusing on studying, and not only for accomplishing your writing tasks. With their help, you will step up your focus game for a proper zen experience, with or without Zenware. Find out about other essential apps for college students here.
Always use full-screen mode
However bland it sounds, we often forget about this simple trick.
Use a website blocker
Keep your phone away from your eyesight
Hide it away. Having it next to you while working, even if all notifications are switched off, still produces an urge to check the news. Put it in another room or your bag.
Use a timer
Pomodoro technique is a proven method to kickstart your focus. You don’t need to use this system all the time for all the tasks you’re completing, but it’s excellent for a start. There are many free apps, check Flow, Tide, or a simple web Pomodoro timer. All the things you wanna know about this method are here.
Manage your time
Time management tools are essential for being able to focus on studying. Time-blocking is a pretty helpful method, so learn more about it and the most efficient calendar apps.
Declutter your physical space
We are talking digital here, but your desk and surroundings are also within your eyesight. Make your workspace look neat with these simple tips.
Design proper soundscape
Background music and noises build up your studying and working environment, so don’t disregard this audial aspect. We’ve discussed the benefits and disadvantages of listening to music while studying in all the details here.
Essentially, if you’re working in a noisy environment, you might want to stabilize your soundscape with background noises, and there are apps just for that, like Brain.fm and Noisli. To keep things affordable, you can just google white noise on youtube and enjoy it for hours!
and, of course, disable those notifications!
On the final note, don’t forget that your ability to concentrate and work devotedly often depends on your energy level. Here are a few tips beyond the “self-care”-mantra that will really help you understand how to manage your energy to overcome fatigue and prevent burnout. Let’s get focused!