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The Top 12 Note Taking Apps for Getting Things Done in School

The Top 12 Note Taking Apps for Getting Things Done in School

You may still be sinking into this semester at school and looking for a few good tools to get stuff done this year. One of the things that you will be doing the most is taking notes (and hopefully, good ones) during classes, group meetings, reading, etc. Rather than look and try out every single note taking app there is, we’ve filtered them down for you so you can make a more informed decision on where you will store all of your stuff this year.

Here are the top 12 note taking apps for getting things done in school.

1. Evernote (Web, OS X, Windows, Android, iOS, Blackberry)

With Evernote being avaailable for iOS, Android, Mac, and Windows, it’s no wonder that it is still considered by many to be the world’s best note taking application and utility.

    Where Evernote excels in a school context is its ubiquity as well as cool features like allowing for photos, location, and voice recording (which is great for recording lectures).

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    2. Google Docs / Drive (Web, Android, iOS)

    Without Google Docs, collaboration on papers, spreadsheets, and other files with groups is a difficult (and annoying) thing todo. I remember painfully emailing documents back and forth to fellow students who weren’t on the Google Docs “kick” and losing track of which version was the current version of any document or file.

      With Google Docs you can invite all of your partners to a document and collaborate and keep things in sync.

      3. Simplenote (Web, iOS, third-party Android)

      If you want to take, well, simple notes, then Simplenote is the tool to do it with. You can easily capture your ideas, tasks, and assignments in a plain text form and have it sync with your iPhone or Android (with a third party app, Flick Note).

      You can also export your Simplenote database to plain text, CSV, JSON, XML, and even Evernote.

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      4. Catch (Web, iOS, Android)

      Catch is another web based note capturing ideas while on the go. Catch brings a unique a different type of mobile interface to the user and rather than tapping a tiny “plus” button and adding a new note, you can use Catch’s “capture wheel” to create a voice note, date, text note, task, or picture. You can also use hash tags to organize your notes.

        5. Fetchnotes (Web, iOS, Android)

        Fetchnotes is a newcomer to the online note taking arena but is a great way to take a bunch of quick notes and tag them as well as attach documents and files from a slew of different web apps like Dropbox, Box, Evernote, Instagram, Github, Google Drive, and much more. You can also invite schoolmates to share notes with.

        In fact, if you sign up today for Fetchnotes and open a new Box account, you can get 25GB of free storage for your files.

        6. Springpad (Web, iOS, Android)

        Springpad is another way to store photos, to-dos, notes, links, locations, and more as well as share them with fellow students. The app is available for iOS and Android and can be used on the web. Springpad also gives you some notebook ideas to start with like Team Projects, Quick Notes, To-do lists and more.

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        7. TopXNotes (OS X)

        TopXNotes is a native note taking app for Mac that allows you to create rich text notes as well as have multiple notes opened at the same time. The ability to have multiple notes open in one interface during a class may be beneficial for making an outline and adding to a class summary at the same time.

        TopXNotes is available now through Lifehack Deals for half off.

        8. OneNote (Windows, web, iPhone)

        OneNote is the most integrated and feature rich note taking application on Windows not to mention that it now sports an online interface through Office.com where users can sync all of their OneNote notebooks and an iOS app.

          Notebooks can be shared and collaborated on natively or in the cloud. It’s not necessarily the cheapest note taking application, but its integration and usefulness is worth the price if you are on Windows.

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          9. Circus Ponies Notebook (OS X, iPad)

          If you like OneNote but want something on the Mac, then Circus Ponies Notebook is the app you are looking for. One of the coolest features for students is the ability to create detailed indexes of your notes as well as export your notebooks as full-fledged websites. With some free server space from your school and Circus Ponies Notebook, you are going to be everyone’s friend whe you sharing your notes. Oh, and there is an attractive iPad app that syncs with your Mac.

          10. FoldingText (OS X)

          FoldingText is an cool new way to use Markdown to create “foldable” headings, bulleted lists, clickable links, etc. Instead of the standard “static” nature of a plain text file with Markdown syntax, FoldingText for Mac allows the user to type in Markdown and the syntax is instantly converted to the proper format. You can also make to-do lists and even timers by using a special syntax.

            11. Epistle (Android)

            If you need to edit plain text and Markdown on an Android and sync it with Dropbox, then Epistle is the app you are looking for. You can create notes, edit them, sync them with Dropbox, preview Markdown, and send the text to any app on Android that will accept text. This is a great app to create a quick outline or to-do list and send it to a classmate or view all of your plain text notes on.

            12. Notesy (iOS)

            Now, if you want to do plain text on iOS, Notesy is one of the best apps to do it in. There are many others, but in my experience Notesy seems the fastest and easiest to use. Also, Notesy has superior filtering and navigation of your Dropbox synced notes.

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            Last Updated on September 17, 2018

            How to Stop Multitasking and Become Way More Productive

            How to Stop Multitasking and Become Way More Productive

            Today we are expected to work in highly disruptive environments. We sit down at our desks, turn on our computer and immediately we are hit with hundreds of emails all vying for our attention.

            Our phones are beeping and pinging with new alerts to messages, likes and comments and our colleagues are complaining about the latest company initiative is designed to get us to do more work and spend less time at home.

            All these distractions result in us multitasking where our attention is switching between one crisis and the next.

            Multitasking is a problem. But how to stop multitasking?

            How bad really is multitasking?

            It dilutes your focus and attention so even the easiest of tasks become much harder and take longer to complete.

            Studies have shown that while you think you are multitasking, you are in fact task switching, which means your attention is switching between two or more pieces of work and that depletes the energy resources you have to do your work.

            This is why, even though you may have done little to no physical activity, you arrive home at the end of the day feeling exhausted and not in the mood to do anything.

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            We know it is not a good way to get quality work done, but the demands for out attention persist and rather than reduce, are likely to increase as the years go by.

            So what to do about it?

            Ways to stop multitasking and increase productivity

            Now, forget about how to multitask!

            Here are a few strategies on how to stop multitasking so you can get better quality and more work done in the time you have each working day:

            1. Get enough rest

            When you are tired, your brain has less strength to resist even the tiniest attention seeker. This is why when you find your mind wandering, it is a sign your brain is tired and time to take a break.

            This does not just mean taking breaks throughout the day, it also means making sure you get enough sleep every day.

            When you are well rested and take short regular breaks throughout the day your brain is fully refuelled and ready to focus in on the work that is important.

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            2. Plan your day

            When you don’t have a plan for the day, the day will create a plan for you. When you allow outside influences to take control of your day, it is very hard not to be dragged off in all directions.

            When you have a plan for the day, when you arrive at work your brain knows exactly what it is you want to accomplish and will subconsciously have prepared itself for a sustained period of focused work.

            Your resistance to distractions and other work will be high and you will focus much better on the work that needs doing.

            3. Remove everything from your desk and screen except for the work you are doing

            I learned this one a long time ago. In my previous work, I worked in a law office and I had case files to deal with. If I had more than one case file on my desk at any one time, I would find my eyes wandering over the other case files on my desk when I had something difficult to do.

            I was looking for something easier. This meant often I was working on three or four cases at one time and that always led to mistakes and slower completion.

            Now when I am working on something, I am in full-screen mode where all I can see is the work I am working on right now.

            4. When at your desk, do work

            We are creatures of habit. If we do our online shopping and news reading at our desks as well as our work, we will always have the temptation to be doing stuff that we should not be doing at that moment.

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            Do your online shopping from another place—your home or from your phone when you are having a break—and only do your work when at your desk. This conditions your brain to focus in on your work and not other distractions.

            5. Learn to say no

            Whenever you hear the phrase “learn to say no,” it does not mean going about being rude to everyone. What it does mean is delay saying yes.

            Most problems occur when we say “yes” immediately. We then have to spend an inordinate amount of energy thinking of ways to get ourselves out of the commitment we made.

            By saying “let me think about it” or “can I let you know later” gives you time to evaluate the offer and allows you to get back to what you were doing quicker.

            6. Turn off notifications on your computer

            For most of us, we still use computers to do our work. When you have email alert pop-ups and other notifications turned on, they will distract you no matter how strong you feel.

            Turn them off and schedule email reviewing for times between doing your focused work. Doing this will give you a lot of time back because you will be able to remain focused on the work in front of you.

            7. Find a quiet place to do your most important work

            Most workplaces have meeting rooms that are vacant. If you do have important work to get done, ask if you can use one of those rooms and do your work there.

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            You can close the door, put on your headphones and just focus on what is important. This is a great way to remove all the other, non-important, tasks demanding your attention and just focus on one piece of work.

            The bottom line

            Focusing on one piece of work at a time can be hard but the benefits to the amount of work you get done are worth it. You will make fewer mistakes, you will get more done and will feel a lot less tired at the end of the day.

            Make a list of the four or five things you want to get done the next day before you finish your work for the day and when you start the day, begin at the top of the list with the first item.

            Don’t start anything else until you have finished the first one and then move on to the second one. This one trick will help you to become way more productive.

            Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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