Personal Growth, productivity

Eleven Apps That Will Really Boost Your Productivity

If there’s an app that’s going to make my life a little easier and a little more productive, I’m going to get it. You may call it laziness, or you may call it ‘working smart, not hard’, whatever you want to call it, here are the apps that help me get done, what I need to get done.

Note Taking

Notability

This is my main app for notetaking. I like to brainstorm and take notes on the ‘lined paper’ setting, then I can group these notes into folders and not have to be carrying around huge binders of physical notes. Another great feature of this app is that you can open PDFs in it. This is great for PDF lecture notes as I can annotate and highlight the ‘slides’ directly. I also use this app for my downloadable study pack (click here to visit my Etsy shop). This app is essential for me, as I prefer taking written notes over typed notes. For more information on Notetaking apps I’ve compared Notability and Goodnotes!

Notion

I use Notion for organisation (which I will cover later on) but also for studying. I find the toggle tool really useful to create questions for active recall. I write the question and then toggle the answer so it’s not immediately visible when I am trying to test myself. I also like that you can access Notion through my browser on my laptop, as well as apps on my phone and iPad, meaning I pretty much have access to it all the time.

Organisation

Instapaper

This was one of the first apps I got when I got my iPad and honestly, I’d never heard of it before but when I discovered it I just thought ‘WOW, what a useful idea’. Instapaper is an app that stores and saves articles for you to read later. It doesn’t just have to be for academic articles, you can save articles or music, beauty, fashion. Whatever you like. It also displays the article in clear, easy to read text, instead of on a website which can be full of distracting ads and pop-ups.

Notio

As I said earlier I use Notion for organisation as well as note-taking. I have two ‘dashboards’ one for personal/business use and one for studying. For studying I have pages for each of my modules, each containing my syllabus, teaching methods, and module overview. I set up my studying dashboard similarly to studycollab:alicia (I would really recommend you checking out her videos). I use my personal dashboard mainly for organising my Blog, Instagram, and Etsy Shop.

Calendar

I just use the Apple Calendar app, I’ve tried other Calendar apps but I really like this one. During my last degree, I could sync my university timetable with the app so that all my lectures and other teaching were already in my calendar without me having to input anything.

I like to have my calendar on my phone so that I can access it at all times, as opposed to carrying around a diary all the time.

Reminders

I use this to mainly to make lists, whether it be what I need to pack for going away at the weekend, or shopping lists, or books to read. I just think it’s a really useful to-do list app. I also use it for setting reminders for certain times to come up as notifications on my phone.  

Time Keeping

Forest

Probably the most important app on this list is the forest app. I’m actually using it as I type this post to ensure I stay off my phone. If you haven’t heard of the forest app and you’re in the study community, I just want to ask ‘What rock have you been hiding under????’. Forest is a productivity app that keeps you off your phone. Basically you set the amount of time you want to stay off your phone and you ‘plant’ a virtual tree that grows in that time, but if you leave the app, the tree dies. It’s actually very emotional. Essentially it keeps you off your phone when you should be working/studying. You can also add your friends on the app, which makes me even more competitive as I want to have the most ‘focus time’.

Focus Keeper

This is a great Pomodoro tracker that I’ve used for years. If you haven’t heard of a Pomodoro tracker, it’s a method of timekeeping in which you work for 25 minutes, then break for five. After around four cycles, you take a longer break for around 20-30 minutes. The exact timings are up to you, some people can just concentrate for longer, but I find a 25/5 split is perfect for me.

Reference

Youtube

Yes. YouTube is great for watching vlogs and hauls and all of that, but it’s also full of students and teachers that want to impart their wisdom. With the right discipline, so you don’t go down the wrong YouTube rabbit hole, it can be an amazing learning tool. There are videos for more things than you can imagine, and sometimes they teach things slightly differently to how your lecturer or teacher teaches, and this could be the way that finally makes it make sense.

Not only is it great for learning certain topics, it can also be great for learning how to boost productivity and become more organised. I find it really motivational to watch other students be productive, and YouTube can be great for this.

TED

A tip I picked up from Grace Beverley (formerly GraceFitUK), if you want to take a break from studying e.g. your lunch break, but don’t want to switch your brain off altogether (or get stuck watching a series on Netflix) a good middle is to watch a TED talk on a topic you find interesting. It keeps your brain engaged, but is not overbearing and you might even learn something you can put into practice.

Google

This one is a no-brainer and I’m not even going to explain it because everyone knows: if you don’t know something, google it.

Pinterest

Pinterest isn’t just a social media platform, it’s basically a search engine and a great tool. It can be a great way to find blogs and websites for learning but also it can be a great motivational tool. I find that looking at motivational quotes and aesthetic study notes/desk setups can really boost my mood and make me more productive.

Although this is not an exhaustive list of the apps I use, it is a great start for students who want to be more organised and productive. What are your favourite apps for productivity? 


If you’re big on Productivity, check out my Productivity Planners!


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