Learning and working online can be a challenge when it comes to being productive and managing your time well. Since you do not physically go to class or work, your supervisors and instructors cannot keep a check on you if you get distracted. I am a recent graduate and have been working from home. It has taken me a while to learn techniques to be more productive from home. To keep your work progress in check, you can download a few applications which can help you to be more productive and practice better time management.
The first application that I would like to recommend is TickTick and it is free to download on the App Store and Play Store. It is a great app for setting reminders, adding tasks and deadlines to the calendar on the app, and creating checklists. One of its best features is that it automatically syncs with all your devices, so for example, if you add a reminder on the app on your iPhone, it will automatically add to your MacBook, Apple Watch, iPad, and other devices. Also, it has a Google Chrome extension, Firefox extension, Outlook Add-in and, a Gmail Add-on so you can never forget a task. It makes you more productive and assists you in keeping your busy life on track. I used this application in my 3rd and 4th year of university and it helped me greatly. I really loved how all my tasks were synced on all my devices. Also the fact that you can set priority levels to each task can help you to remember all your important tasks. At the beginning of each term, when we would get our syllabi, I would take the time to input all the assignment deadlines and exams on TickTick. By doing this, I knew about all my upcoming assignments and this helped me to prepare for them in advance. The app is free to download but you can upgrade to a premium membership by paying a monthly or yearly fee.
Evernote is a very popular application found on the App Store and Play Store. If you have not used it, you have surely heard of this high productivity application. Evernote has the ability to store notes, memos, images, checklists, and so many other things. Your hand-written notes can easily be searched due to Evernote’s amazing optical character research (OCR) technology. You can take notes in numerous formats (text, sketches, photos, PDF, audio, video, web clippings etc.). Just like TickTick, everything you do on Evernote syncs to all your connected devices. If you own a tablet, you can use a stylus/Apple Pencil to hand write your notes during lectures. Some people prefer hand writing their notes rather than typing them out as, by handwriting them, you tend to retain more information. Also, handwriting your notes allows you to create quick mind maps, tables, and other shapes when compared to inserting them when you are typing your notes, and this can be a real time saver. You can also plan and collaborate with others for better academic group work. This works just like Google Docs where you can share your notes with others, and you can set editing/viewing privileges for your friends. This can help you in splitting up a group project into smaller tasks, but everyone works on the same “notes space”. The app is free to download but you can upgrade to a premium membership by paying a monthly or yearly fee.
This application aims to boost productivity using the Pomodoro Technique. This technique is a great way to be productive. It uses a timer to break down work into intervals (usually 25 minutes), separated by short breaks.
The interface is extremely intuitive and user friendly. You can customize your user experience by changing the length of your focus sessions, specifying the goal you are trying to achieve and, changing the themes and sounds in the app. A great feature of this application is that it produces charts which allows you to visually track your progress. Personally, I use this application when I feel that I have been procrastinating and finding it hard to focus. I also used this application in my last year at UBC during my final exams. I would put the timer on while I was at the library, and make sure that I do not get distracted or lose focus during the 25 minute period.
MindNode is for the visual learners and workers. It does a fantastic job at creating mind maps and quickly jotting down your ideas. For example, when you are planning an essay, you can draw out the flow and structure of it on MindNode. Or, you can also summarize your lecture notes for each chapter using MindNode.You can capture your thoughts in words, images, links and notes. Additionally, you can personalize your mind map with themes and stickers. Furthermore, you can save your work as pdf, text,png, RTF, CSV and OPML, and also share your work with others. MindNode also stores your files on iCloud so you can easily access them on your Apple devices.
These four applications are a fantastic way to focus your efforts on the tasks which matter the most. My favourite applications out of these are Evernote and TickTick. They are both well established applications and have been available on the App store and Google Play Store for a while. They have the ability to sync your information and material across all of your devices. Furthermore, Evernote has the ability to draw mind maps just like MindNode. TickTick has an inbuilt feature for the Pomodoro Technique, therefore TickTick can easily be substituted for Focus Keeper. My advice would be to give all the applications a shot and figure out which one works best for you!
Listed below are a few resources you can access for further tips on time management: