It’s said that “student life is a golden life,” but it’s definitely not an easy one. There is a lot on your plate during those few years—but since we live in a digital age, there are also a lot of apps that can make your studies go smoother and help you stay productive and organized. Here are some of the most recommended productivity apps for students:
For Taking Notes
OneNote is a digital note-taking app where you can organize your notes in notebooks. You can either type them out or write them by hand (on a tablet), as well as add photos, drawings, and doodles. There is also an option to record audio notes. It contains many useful options that make studying easier, such as a search bar, color coding options, and to-do lists. You can add tags, for example, to mark parts that you don’t understand or important things that will be on the exam.
Another great option for taking notes is Google Docs, especially for work in groups—multiple people can access the document from their own devices to add notes and comments. The Google Suite is a good option for group projects for this reason.
For Time Management
Clockify is a time-tracking app. If you want to become more productive or ever wondered, “Where does my time go?” then this is an app for you. When you see where your time goes, it will be much easier to organize it. You will be able to see if you are spending too much time on something unnecessary or if your time management plan is actually not as effective as you thought. There’s an option to track time automatically, so you won’t have to worry about it interrupting your workflow or ruining your concentration.
Other than simply tracking your time, Clockify has a variety of useful features, such as a Pomodoro timer. Separating your study time into intervals and having regular breaks will help your mind stay fresh and efficient.
For To-Do Lists
Students often have to juggle classes, studying, a job or an internship, hobbies, exercise, and personal life, which is overwhelming to say the least. Todoist is an app that can help you stay organized and not end up buried under all the tasks and assignments that come with student life. It lets you add things that need to be done and categorize them (Work, Personal, Shopping, etc), color code them, and set the priority level. It also syncs with your mail and/or calendar so you won’t have to worry about forgetting a task.
If you want to make a good impression when you’re doing a presentation, Slides Go has a wide variety of aesthetically pleasing templates for both PowerPoint and Google Slides. It has many different designs that you can browse by color and by style, so chances are good that you will be able to find exact what you’re looking for, no matter the project.
For Organizing Tasks and Assignments
Trello is a Kanban-style app that allows you to group your tasks and assignments. In that way, you will have a clear overview of everything you are working on and of what is yet to be done. It's great both for groups and individuals.
An easy method is to divide assignments into groups “To Do,” “Doing,” and “Done.” However, you can make different boards and name cards differently according to their purpose; for example, you can make a board for all the papers you need to write and group them into “To Do,” “Researching,” “First Draft,” “To Edit,” and “Final Version.”
Forest is an app that has a creative way of forcing you to stay focused—by planting a virtual tree. After setting a timer for the amount of time you want to work with no distractions, your tree will start to grow. If you exit the app before time is up, your tree will die. If you reach your goal, you will get coins that you can eventually use to plant a real tree in a developing country; it will help not only your studying but the environment too. If you continue using the app, you’ll be able to see your “forest”—all the trees you’ve planted and the ones you “killed,” as a visual representation of your progress.
If planting trees is not your cup of tea, try Cold Turkey—after you set the duration and start the timer, all the distractions will be blocked without any way to access them. (If you don’t have any willpower yourself, store-bought is fine.)
Forest costs $1.99 for iOS (it’s free for Android) and it’s the only app from this list that is paid—all of the others are free. The majority of them offer a premium version as well, but the features available in free versions are usually more than enough to boost your productivity.
Nikola Radojcin is a productivity researcher and writer at Clockify, where he makes sure to check out the latest time management techniques so his co-workers can utilize time in the best way possible.