The productivity paradox: With all these productivity-boosting apps, why are students still barely accomplishing the minimum expectations? College students and their mobiles are rarely separated. It is widely accepted that the recent technological advancements, especially in software, have increased productivity. They have given us instantaneous connection and access to tremendous information. There are, nonetheless, potential disadvantages to these electronic tools, as they may provide distractions and therefore hurt productivity. Having your phone nearby can affect negatively your cognitive abilities, according to a 2018 Harvard Business Review study. Last year, the French government passed a law banning mobiles in schools in a hope to get students more attentive and interactive in classrooms. Reports, published on ABC news, also show that the average person interacts with their mobile device over 150 times a day.

As a student, you’ll be productive if and only if you acquire productivity skills. Productivity is surely not about finding the best software. Regardless of the application or the IT service, those electronic tools are useless unless you are truly managing yourself. To illustrate self-management, I myself wake up early (I can’t wake up early if I didn’t set my alarm to GO to sleep the night before, and not foolishly spending my time on screens in the late evening); effectively exercise; follow highly productive rituals that fit my lifestyle; make sleeping 7 to 8 hours a priority; and give up bad habits such as constantly reacting to e-mails and making my phone on my desk. To me, this is the key to getting things done.

You don’t have the time to go after the trendy productivity-boosting apps or live a hundred-app lifestyle. Worse, you can’t afford the loss of energy and time switching from one tool to another. Thus, I recommend choosing the ones that work for you. That is, the apps that suit your lifestyle and practically solve your problems. For most student, the aim is to use apps as little as possible to operate in an efficient and effective manner. Below is the list of the 10 must-haves productivity apps for students. These tools are not only useful for students, but to almost everyone. Again, remember that these apps are a waste of time, money, and energy if you are not displaying a sense of enduring discipline.

1. Merriam Webster Dictionary

Good for: finding quickly words’ meaning in the English language
Price: Free
Platforms: Android, iOS, Windows
This is one of the most reputable dictionaries you can ever see. I enjoyed using it for about five years. It is my third most-used app in my cellphone, after Gmail and Google Chrome.

2. Gmail

Good for: reading and responding to your e-mails efficiently
Price: Free
Platform: By default
I usually use this app in reading and responding to e-mails. It is probably by default in every phone. For people who don’t like Gmail, they may switch to Outlook. Though, both apps have the same features.

3. Microsoft office Online

Good for: Extremely time-efficient and helpful when you read, research, or
browse online materials whether you were using your phone, tablet, or your
Price: Free
Platform: Android, iOS, Windows
Everyone almost certainly needs Microsoft office suit. That includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneDrive, and more. Making use of these apps can make your life a lot easier. However, you may need some basic training in how to use them to be more effective. People spend more than 10% of their working lives spreadsheeting, and for those majoring in finance, it’s more like 2.5 hours a day. Imagine, then, if this considerable number of students and workers were better using the software. Hundreds of working hours would be saved, and productivity would boost.

4. Skitch

Good for: Quickly snapping without trouble on your laptop, and more
Price: Free
Platforms: Mac, iPad, and iPhone
When you have to promptly save a screenshot for future reference, your computer’s built-in screen capture may not be useful for you. The picture may get lost; Skitch solves this particular problem. The app could be very useful when you’re doing research online and want to quickly capture a page. Try it!

5. Feedly

Good for: Reduce your feelings of getting overwhelmed with large amount of data & e-mails.
Price: Partially free
Platforms: Android, iOS, Windows, or any
It is overwhelming when you have an inbox crowded with Google News alerts. However, by using a newsreader like Feedly to subscribe to Google News searches, preferable blogs and websites, you bring all those news sources to you in one place.

6. LinkedIn

Good for: Professional networking and career
Price: Partially free
Platforms: Android, iOS, Windows, or any
According to Stern (2016), your career get hurt when you do not use Linkedln. The app can be very useful in finding jobs openings, internships, as well as building your professional connections. It is the first thing appear online when recruiters are searching on you, so you better use this marketing tool for your advantage.

7. Evernote

Good for: Better organization
Price: Free
Platforms: Android, iOS, Windows
With this great app, all your notes would be in one place. Evernote facilitates the process of collecting and organizing your notes. Personally, I don’t use this app because I use my Notes default of my Android. To me, the less apps I have on my cellphone, the better. Both apps do the same job: Save your notes.

8. Notion

Good For: work-life balance
Price: $ 8 per month
Platforms: Android, iOS, Windows
Notion combines many of the features of Google Docs, Excel and Dropbox, along with lots of task-management, organizational tools, a database tool, which you can view as a table, a calendar and more. I have never used this app as it does not fit my lifestyle. So you can learn more about this app here.


Good for: Managing your to-do lists
Price: Free
Platforms: Android, iOS
This simple list-maker can file tasks, mark them as priority and set push reminders. For example, I myself set important deadlines reminders on so they won’t slip by. Keeping track of deadlines is a practice that you as a student can’t afford to lose. (For example, you need to set reminder for job openings’, internships’ and exams’ deadlines) also encourages you to have a look on your time-bound tasks each morning. It is like any task-management app: it helps with managing tasks before you’ve forgotten about them, being notified to accomplish the task at the right time, and prioritizing them. The app also tries to motivate you like telling, “Make this day special” “Go make it happen.” So you also may enjoy using it.

10. DataVault Password Manager

Good for: Safely managing an ever-bewildering array of passwords
Price: Free
Platforms: iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, Windows
As we increasingly use more applications on the internet, users might fall short in memorizing a list of different passwords. DataVault Password Manager is design to solve this problem for you. The app allows users to have all their vital password information safely such as PINs and credit-card details to hand at all times. The app stores a range of passwords, and it uses strong encryption technology to protect your data. So relax! Your data is also protected.

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Edited on Aug. 8, 2019–Beirut, Lebanon

Edited by Julissa Ramirez.