How to Use Your Phone Productively

The computer in your pocket is good for more than crushing candy and liking your friends’ photos.

It’s an insanely powerful tool for productivity and organization. Even if productivity and organization aren’t really your style, smartphone apps can help you get more done than you ever thought possible.

Read on for our best apps and tips for getting organized online! The mobile apps we’ve selected are free, but some apps also have upgraded versions available for an additional fee.

Calendar Apps

There are two major players in the world of calendar apps:

  • Apple calendar
  • Google calendar

If you’re not using one of these calendar apps that sync with almost everything, you’re missing out on one of the greatest features of the smartphone: convenience.

Not only can you add items to your calendar with just a tap of your finger, you can also set up the calendar to remind you to leave on time and even tell you the best route under traffic conditions.

Calendar apps can do more than keep you to a schedule though. They can help you plan out your entire day.

Check out calendar blocking. This is the process of scheduling a large chunk of time to get caught up on your to-do list items. Stick to this time and treat it as if you were keeping an appointment.

Good time management is an essential survival skill in college. Learning how to manage your time wisely will pave the way for success and good grades.

To-Do List Apps

The calendar apps often come with to-do list features, but a lot of people like to have a separate place where they dump all of their things to do.

Things to do can range from mundane things like calculus homework or buying more cereal to major life goals like traveling abroad for a semester and organizing a volunteer program with special needs adults.

Here are some of the most popular to-do list apps out there:

  • Apple Notes
  • Google Tasks
  • Habitica
  • Microsoft To-Do
  • TickTick
  • Todoist

A lot of these tools have reminder features too.

Some of these apps, particularly Habitica, work on the principle of gamification by giving you points or badges for streaks or personal achievements.

Note-Taking Apps

Taking notes and college just go together.

While most professors would prefer that you take notes somewhere other than your phone during actual lectures, you’ll have a lot of need for an app that can remember websites and/or synchronize the interesting and important tidbits you need to jot down.

Popular Note-Taking Mobile Apps:

  • Evernote
  • OneNote
  • Simplenote
  • StudyBlue

The great thing about these particular note-taking apps is that they can sync across devices. You can take a memo on your phone and pull it up later on your laptop.

Most, like Evernote, even have plugins to make clipping, saving, sorting, and sharing a breeze.

Studyblue is a great digital tool for creating flashcards and practice quizzes.

Time Management

There are only 24 hours in a day. If you thought that wasn’t enough to get you through high school, you’re going to be pretty stunned by the demands of college.

But never fear! You can make time work for selfcare by alternating periods of focus and rest. Pacing yourself and giving yourself breaks is a much more effective approach than reaching for another Monster Energy.

Check out these apps to help you maintain the cycle of focusing and resting:

  • Focus Booster
  • Forest
  • Toggl

Focus Booster helps you pace yourself using timers. Forest is an app that temporarily blocks distracting sites like social media to help you stay on track during your focus sessions.

Another quick tip: During finals week, it might just be a good idea to uninstall distracting social media apps from your phone altogether and download them again after you’ve finished your last test.

File Organization Apps

Once upon a time, a college student lost her paper at the very last minute because the file didn’t save. Or her roommate spilled liquid on the hard drive. Or the computer decided to update.

Fortunately, the professor was understanding and gave her a three-week extension. NOT.

Don’t count on your professor’s giving you showing sympathy for a lack of preparedness. Backup your files on the following apps to protect yourself from last minute technical difficulties.

Popular File Organization Apps:

  • Dropbox
  • Google Drive
  • OneDrive
  • iCloud

These apps help you save, organize, and login remotely to access all of your files, folders, and photos.

Smart people save their files in the cloud. It’s just the safest way to go.

Goal Tracking Apps

Some goals take longer than a week or even a semester to achieve. For these, you need goal tracking apps like the ones we’ve listed below.

Goal Tracking Apps:

  • Strides
  • Productive
  • Done

These apps help you make small, daily steps toward achieving your goals, but they don’t necessarily help you set good goals in the first place.

You need to set SMART goals. (SMART means Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely.)

Bad example: I’m going to download all of these apps and use them every single day!

Good example: Since I want to form a habit of checking my calendar more often, I’m going to implement a to-do list app that will remind me to review my calendar every few days.

Using your phone for productivity is a must. All of the apps we’ve listed have a ton of success stories to inspire you.

We hope you find one or some that are perfect for you!

* All mobile apps are owned by their respective creators. KD College Prep has no affiliation with these applications or their developers.


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