Another term at UBC has come and gone, and finals season is once again upon us. As with every new school year, this one has brought a lot of changes, both personally and academically. I have been taking on more challenging classes, balancing more extracurricular responsibilities, and developing new habits. This year, I feel as though I have finally figured out an organization scheme that works for me. I have begun to harness the power of technology to help me get stuff done, and it has resulted in one of my most productive and stress-free years yet. So now I’m going to share some of my favourite productivity iPhone apps in the hope that you will be able to become more productive, healthy, and happy throughout final season and the new year.
Wunderlist: If you love to-do lists but are tired of constantly misplacing your handwritten Post-it notes everywhere, this is the app for you. It is a simple, easy-to-use app that allows you to keep a master list of everything you need to do. For each task, you can set a deadline and even add alarms to remind you to get it done. You also have the ability to break down larger items into subtasks – so you can break down “Study biology” into items like “Review September 21 lecture” and “Read chapter 12”. It also has multiple lists, so you can have separate to-do lists for each aspect of your life. I have Personal, Academics, RezLife, REC, etc. as my lists. It is a seriously amazing, and I have gotten a bunch of my friends hooked on it as well.
Grades 2: Have you ever found yourself attempting to calculate what you need to get on the final in order to end up with a certain mark in the course? I know I have, and in doing so realized that I have completely lost my math ability since first year (just kidding, I never had math ability to begin with). Luckily, Grades 2 does all the dirty work for you. All you need to do is input the different syllabus items and their weights, set a target grade, and update your marks throughout the year. Sure, it’s a little disheartening to see that you need 104% on your English final to achieve your target grade, but overall this app acts as a helpful and efficient way to keep track of your marks.
It’s Focus Time: The Pomodoro method is my preferred way of getting work done – essentially you work in 25-minute chunks, broken up by 5-minute breaks. This app is forever running in the background of my exam study sessions, and really helps me buckle down and concentrate. The key is to ignore all distractions when you are in work mode – I like to have a pen and paper nearby so I can jot down things I want to do during my breaks. Also, if you don’t feel like shelling out the 99 cents, you can still use the online version for free.
Dropbox: Dropbox is one of the best online storage tools there is. I have all of my school documents on here so I can access them no matter where I am – no more emailing documents to yourself before you leave home! I also download lecture notes and organize them into folders, so I have access to them even if Connect is down, and access them from my phone if I choose to leave my laptop at home. It also has a bunch of sharing capabilities so you can send your lecture notes to your friends no problem.
Google Calendar: While not strictly an “app”, Google Calendar is one of the best tools I have started to use within the past year. I am not exaggerating when I say it has straight up revolutionized my life. I used to have a huge problem with writing down an appointment, meeting or engagement somewhere and then completely forgetting about it by the time the day rolled around. That problem has disappeared now that I have my gCal synced up to my phone and can see what I have planned for the day no matter where I am.
Do you have any organizational tools you swear by? Share them in the comments!