Useful apps to help support your research work
In a time where working from home has become increasingly commonplace and our new normal is shifting toward virtual workplaces, our reliance on digital technologies is at an all-time high. Apps can help make managing your research and writing better. However, the key to using apps to support your research is in making sure that the apps you choose to use actually benefit you, rather than distract you. Here are some examples to help you use apps more efficiently and productively for your research.
Manage time better with calendar apps
Start by taking your time management to the next level. Instead of relying on hastily written sticky notes or a handwritten diary, download a robust calendar app. Some particularly sophisticated ones can even access your emails and automatically add meetings straight into your calendar. A feature you may find useful to look out for in calendar apps, or even in a standalone app, is task lists, which allow you to write to-do lists and assign due dates and priorities to them.
Improve your productivity with Pomodoro apps
If you want to seriously level up your productivity, download a Pomodoro timer app. Pomodoro (which is Italian for tomato) is a productivity technique where you do focused work for 25 minutes, then take a break for 5 minutes. Complete four Pomodoros, and you are awarded a longer break. This is a tried and tested technique many swear by.
If you don’t like this specific Pomodoro technique though, there are many other similar digital productivity timer apps available to help you stay on track with your working goals and accomplish more through your day. Other popular examples include Forest, Timely and Focus To-Do.
Save and organise your notes with notetaking apps
A notetaking app allows you to digitally store all your notes and helps you organise them in ways a physical notebook cannot. Some good notetaking apps include Evernote, Google Keep or Notion.
A great advantage of using these apps over physical notebooks is that they are searchable – looking for specific notes, or even searching a word or phrase, becomes much easier and quicker.
Moreover, most notetaking apps offer options for you to organise your notes after having taken them. If you tend to use a single notebook for everything, you’ll probably understand the difficulty of organising various notes for different things into separate sections – using a digital app will solve that for you!
Finally, with a notetaking app, you can also easily add images and screenshots, and even link web pages or data-files to your notes. Gone are the days of having loose sheets of paper or sticky notes scattered across a notebook, or worse, having to glue images into your notebooks!
Manage your searches and references with extensions
Whatever your field of study, you are likely to be doing a lot of online research. There are vast amounts of browser extensions that can help you with this, ranging from those that allow you to export a reference for whatever you are viewing directly into a document you are writing, to those that help you organise the hundreds of tabs you are bound to have open.
The major advantage of browser extensions is that they are integrated into your browser and tend to have fairly simple functions, making them easy to understand and use. They are invaluable to efficiently using the web for research.
With computing where it is today, and most, if not all, of the world’s information at our fingertips, apps help us deconvolute and manage our busy lives. Key skills, such as time management, notetaking and web-based research, can be made more approachable by using digital solutions. Make good use of them to improve your productivity and reach your research goals faster and more efficiently.
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