It’s August already, which means summer is soon ending, and school is resuming. Every school year you have the best intentions to party less and study more, but somehow find yourself back in the same pattern. That’s because you don’t have the tools to keep you focused! There’s plenty of distractions out there as it is. What you need is some help tuning out the temptation and getting back to work. Here are 7 apps and software that should help you accomplish your educational goals this coming school year:
- OpenOffice: As if it’s not hard enough to write a 10 page paper about something you know nothing about, you don’t have a proper text editor that doesn’t set you back as much as your books do! You don’t need to buy Microsoft Office or iWork. OpenOffice is an open source software that provides you with a free alternative to Word, Excel and PowerPoint. You can save your work in the Microsoft format, and won’t have to worry about finding product keys or spending $100 on software you need for school.
- Evernote: This is personally my favorite app probably on the planet right now, and it can become yours too. Evernote is note taking to a higher power. You can write text notes, record audio, save screenshots, and upload pictures. You then save your notes into notebooks, which keeps things organized. You can have a notebook for each class, a notebook for recipes from mom, and a notebook for whatever inspires you. You can access your notes on the web, on your computer using the Evernote app, or even on your iPhone, Blackberry or Android phone.
- Dropbox: Don’t you get tired of the 50 flash drives that you have and can’t find when you need to save, share, or print something from a different computer? The cloud is making that a lot easier. Dropbox allows you to save your files in one central location, and you can access it wherever you have computer access. So you can save your project on Dropbox, just like you would any folder, and open it on your professor’s computer.
- Kindle: Nobody likes buying $300 textbooks anymore. It’s even worse when you try to sale them back and you learn the class is using the newer edition, meaning no one needs yours anymore. Renting textbooks has made things a lot easier, but you still have a huge brick of 500 pages taking up space. Amazon has recently announced that their offering digital textbook rentals via the Kindle. You don’t even need a Kindle to read your books; they have apps for your computer and your phone so you can read wherever you like!
- Remember the Milk: There’s no feeling quite like crossing something off your to-do list. If you’re like me, you may have more than one to-do list depending on different aspects of your life. One for school, one for work, one for your personal life. Remember the Milk makes things a lot less hectic. You can organize your to-do lists how you want, including prioritizing what should be done first, when it’s due, if it reoccurs, and any additional notes you need. This will help you keep track of what needs to be done and what has been completed.
- OmmWriter: This is a recent find for me. If you have something to write but you’re having a hard time focusing, OmmWriter is for you. It’s a simple text editor, that takes over full screen, taking away the allure of distractions like Facebook and Twitter. It provides a peaceful background and soft, relaxing music so that you can write in peace. It’s a great app to making writing a zen activity.
- Spotify: I know I need music to study or do my work, and maybe you do too. Chances are, you have iTunes, and your library may be equipped with just about every song you’ve ever heard, but Spotify takes things to another level. Similar to Pandora, in the sense that you can listen to streaming music online, Spotify allows you to become your own DJ, selecting the songs you want to play, as opposed to the Russian roulette of your favorite artist’s Pandora station. They just debuted their beta for the US, so find a way to get your hands on an invite!
Hopefully these tools will help you focus on school a bit more, and will allow you to get your work done quicker. Good luck on your new school term, and here’s to hoping you get the grades you want!