Thanks to one of my reader @tylerrostedt, for suggesting I write this article. Keep the tips coming guys!
I have seen a lot of articles like these floating around, and I thought I might weigh in. As a disclaimer, I know everyone has a different thing that works for them and that’s okay. These are some suggestions of programs and apps that I use that have made my life WAY easier.
Your phone can be a big distraction, but it also can help you accomplish a lot of great things. Make your phone and the apps on it work for YOU!
1. Google Drive (bring the whole family)
While this isn’t anything new, and you probably already use this on your internet browser, Google Drive and the other stand alone apps are vital to my success. Stop right now and download Drive, Docs, Sheets and Slides. These apps work across all platforms Mac/PC – Apple/Android and will save you a lot of hassle. I use an iPad with a keyboard during lecture and the convenience of having my notes follow me to my computer, a computer at school or to my phone is unmatched. You can also take advantage of Google’s voice to text feature and give yourself verbal notes when you’re walking home. The other benefit to using this cloud based system are sharing capabilities. I have used Drive for countless group projects and it has saved us a ton of time. Every year the company updates the apps to make them more sophisticated and easier to use.
PRO TIP: If you are trying to do some intense formatting, get all the text done and import into a more formal word processor. If will save you a lot of time.
There are a million camera apps out there, but Camera+ is one I found out about and have come to love. There is a basic free version, but for $2.99 US you can have the whole package. Even if you are a complete amateur phoneographer, having better control of your exposure and focus is excellent. For those familiar with SLR capabilities, you will see that Camera+ also lets you play with White Balance, Exposure and a whole bunch of features.
I suffer from a solid case of OCD and one of my biggest pet peeves is not being able to rename a conversation on my messaging app because of users across different platforms. GroupMe is a great group messaging app that works across platforms and makes conversations easier. I prefer GroupMe over other group messaging apps like Slack or Hangouts because of notifications, and the fact that group members don’t even need to download the app to chime in (it works over SMS).
4. Pocket Points
This app, developed in 2014 by some students at California State University is here to save you some money and help you will your grades. Here’s how it works: open up the app when you are in class and lock your phone during your lecture. The longer you don’t use your phone in class, you accrue points that can be used at restaurants and vendors nearby. The app is continually adding more universities and vendors to their list.
PRO TIP: When your phone is still locked, you can reply to text messages from the lock screen and it doesn’t interrupt you collecting points.
If you’re anything like me…you are poor! And that’s okay, because that is what college is about and there are a lot of growing opportunities because of it. To help you manage your money a little better, I want to suggest you use the app for Mint.com. The app can be linked to your bank account and will help you create a budget, set up bill payments and easily manage your finances. It has been around for a while and is very secure (owned by the same company that has Quickbooks).
This app has more recently come to my attention, but if you like TED Talks, then this is the app for you. It is a library of talks on all sorts of topics. You can also favorite the talks you like the best and search through a massive collection. I have found that listening to these professionals has helped me to get great new ideas and become a better version of myself.
BONUS – Viber
This app is another messaging app that works great if you’re studying in another country (or have friends across the world). This is especially applicable if you don’t have an iPhone. Viber is really fun, convenient and allows you to work on WiFi or data, so the opportunities are limitless.
What apps do you use to make life easier? Comment below and offer your suggestions.