I like to think I’m productive. Honestly, though, most of my productivity can be chalked up to the technology I use to keep myself in line and on task. If you’re obsessed with life hacks like I am, you’ll appreciate this guide to some fantastic apps that will make your life so much easier.
I absolutely cannot say enough good things about this app. Not only does it give you 25 MB of free storage per month, it’s a great note-taking app that will sync across all your devices. I use Evernote to take notes in class and sort them with tags; this makes it easier for me to review, since I can search all of my notes and notebooks super fast! You can also clip articles from the web and save them in your Evernote account to read later. My favorite extension, though, has to be Evernote Clearly, which takes a webpage and simplifies it down to the words itself… no annoying ads! You can download any version here.
Google Docs is a godsend. Sometimes I seriously wonder how anyone ever collaborated on anything before this wonderful invention. Google Drive gives you 15 GB of free space to store not only documents you upload, but also Google Docs (word, excel, and power point files) you can create on and offline. Best of all, like Evernote, it can sync across multiple platforms, so you have all your information handy at all times! You can access the web-based app here, or download iOS, Android, or desktop apps.
This is another multi-platform app that lets you access your documents from almost any device. They give you 2GB free to start, but you can earn up to 16 GB by completing the website tour, referring friends, and other easy tasks. If you really need more space, you can buy more starting at $10 per month. A really great feature that the mobile app has is the ability to automatically sync your pictures to the cloud. That means that you don’t have to worry about your pictures if your phone dies… they are all in your DropBox account! You can access the web-based app here, or download the iOS, Android, or desktop apps.
Up until recently, I used Wunderlist as my to-do list app. However, I was having a lot of glitches with it right after the upgrade, which forced me to look for an alternative. After trying a bunch of different to-do apps, I settled on Any.do, a beautiful and simple app that will sync across all my devices. My favorite feature is “Take a moment to plan your day,” which essentially lets you run through your to-do list and prioritize what you want to do today, later, or never. Best of all, it can run on Chrome, iOS, and Android.
One of the most effective ways of learning is by flashcards, and Quizlet is hands down the leader in digital flashcards. This website and corresponding mobile apps have thousands of sets already made that you can study from, or you can create your own and separate them into different classes. There are different study modes—including fun games—that will definitely help you learn Russian vocabulary, anatomy, or anything else. You can access the web-based app here, or download the iOS or Android mobile apps.
It took me way too long to figure out that there were mobile apps that allowed you to scan things and turn them into PDFs, but after I did, my entire world changed. With JotNot, all I had to do was take a picture of a page in a book, and I could send it to myself or upload it to Dropbox, Evernote, or Google Drive. I started out with the free version, but was so satisfied that I ended up buying the pro version. Unfortunately they don’t make JotNot for Android, but CamScanner is the same concept, just a different developer.
This desktop app is a necessity if Facebook, Reddit, or any other addictive site easily distracts you. SelfControl (and it’s PC counterpart) essentially locks you out of using certain sites that you specify for a certain amount of time. You can add sites to your blacklist to make sure you can’t access them, or you can go hardcore and add sites to your whitelist to block all sites except for those you choose. Beware, however, as this app is not for the faint of heart: you really can’t get around this thing! If you’re ready to be super productive without distracting sites, download SelfControl for Mac or SelfRestraint for PC.