Staying Organized with Technology
How can you make the most of your technology? While electronics can certainly be frustrating distractions at times, they can serve as incredible organizational tools as well. Whether you’re working on a big project or are constantly misplacing your grocery list, chances are there’s an app out there for you.
Here are a few ways you can use your devices to make your life more efficient.
How many times have you missed one of your errands? A virtual to-do list is a great solution. Beyond just jotting down reminders (which you could easily do in a notebook), electronic lists allow you to set alarms, plan out short-term and long-term goals, and organize your tasks based on type and priority. Apps are available for most smartphones and computers, and in many cases, all you need is an Internet connection to keep your to-do list synchronized between devices and ready to go.
Recommended (and free) to-do list apps: Todoist, Wunderlist, Any.Do, Remember the Milk
If you’re balancing extra-curriculars or are struggling to keep track of your plans with friends, a calendar app is the best way to go. Organize your events by type (work schedule, date night, final exams) and input them into a virtual calendar so you know exactly what’s coming up and how to prepare for it. Most calendars allow you to view your upcoming events by day, week, or month. For maximum efficiency, keep your to-do list and your calendar synchronized. You’ll never miss a deadline again!
Recommended (and free) calendar apps: Cal, Sunrise, Google Calendar (Android-only), Timeful (iOS-only)
Save some paper in your classroom and try using notation software instead. Digital notes allow you to easily modify what you’ve written, search for key terms in previous lectures, and even add links to online articles and videos to enhance your learning experience. If you prefer writing by hand or your classes don’t allow the use of computers, you can still use notation software to codify your lecture notes or create summaries for your tests and exams.
Recommended (and free) notation software: Evernote, Microsoft OneNote, Google Docs, SimpleNote (iOS)
Finally, here are some miscellaneous apps you should consider incorporating into your daily routine:
- It can be hard to stay focused if you’re studying for hours on end. Set a timer with an alarm to keep you working for regulated lengths of time and allow for breaks in-between.
- Distracted by the Internet? Self-regulation apps can help. For example, Self-Control for Mac (or its PC equivalent, Freedom) allows you to create a “blacklist” of your distracting sites and set a timer for your work period—then it blocks you from accessing those sites until the time’s up.
- Reinforce your good habits (drinking enough water, not biting your nails, not going on Facebook at work). Habit trackers allow you to note the ups and downs of your daily routine over time. Check out Lift, Fail Log, and HabitBull.