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Wayne State University

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Mar 22 / Karen Stoll Farrell

7 Free Apps for Busy Graduate Students

By Devan Green, MLIS Student

Time management is important for busy people.  I should know I have been working full time while going to graduate school and I am a wife and mother.  Free time is like a mythical creature to me.  Will I ever know what it’s like to have time to just do nothing?  People often look at me quizzically and ask how do you do it? My response is usually something like, “Very carefully,” Or “One day at a time.”

Since I was bored with my old busy schedule, I decided to liven things up a bit by accepting a position at another library.  So now I have 2 jobs and 3 classes during my last semester of graduate school.  Yeah, I am just so cool like that.

Joking aside, the truth is I have a great support system at home and at my jobs…. Plus I use some cool apps to help me stay on task.  Yes this blog is about productivity software and applications to aid you in achieving superior time management!

  • ·      Evernote:  I probably could have written an entire blog post on this application.  You can store all types of stuff in Evernote.  You can save ‘notes’ that include video, audio, images and text.  Then you can access it from wherever.  You can log in to the website and see your notes, you can put the app on your tablet, phone, e-reader and desktop computer.  But even if you leave all of that at home and find yourself at a computer with internet connection then you can access all of your notes.  It’s like one big flash-drive in the sky that you will never lose.  Recently when I started a new job, I took notes at all of my orientation and training meetings in Evernote.  So now when I forget a password or who to go to regarding supplies or anything else, I pull up Evernote!  It also has a great search feature, which comes in handy when your notes become too numerous to find a note just by scrolling through your list.
  • ·      Google Calendar:   If I woke one morning and was barred access to my Google calendar, I don’t know what I would do.  People may ask me casually, “What are you doing tomorrow or next week” and I literally have to look at my calendar to know for sure.  I have all meetings, assignments, work schedules, family commitments etc. logged in my Google calendar.  Each morning and throughout the day I consult it and update it.  All day my phone sends me little alerts that either hasten my gait or remind me I am exactly where I should be.
  • ·      Wayne State Mobile:  This app is very cool for accessing certain school info on the go.  You can read your email and calendar, search for people and  buildings on campus, access your grades for courses you have taken, Get parking, weather and news information, pull up campus menus, access the library and the South End, campus newspaper and your Onecard account.
  • ·      Blackboard:   This app allows you to access your current online classes.  It’s not as good as using it on a computer but you can read and post on the discussion boards which has been helpful on days where I was so busy that I had to use my tablet while on a lunch break at work.
  • ·      Tiny Flashlight:  Power outages happen and since you usually have your phone in your pocket it’s wise to put a flashlight app on it.  If your phone has a bright LED light for flashing during pictures this app really will help you light your way through dark places.
  • ·      Kindle and/or Nook Reader App: You can buy e-textbooks for cheaper than the printed textbook.  With these apps you can read the textbook whether you are using your phone, tablet or desktop.
  • ·      Assistant/Google Voice Search/Siri: Sometimes it’s much more convenient to order around a virtual assistant than it is to use the touch screen.  I programmed my assistant to have a refined British male accent, gave him corn rowed hair and a dapper suit!  I don’t think you can do that with Siri but Assistant by Speaktoit lets you customize the avatar and voice for your assistant. Google Voice Search is more like Siri and it is awesomely fast and accurate.

The following apps are also nice to have.  Search for them on the Google Play Store and check out the reviews. Quick Office, Advanced System MobileCare, Google Maps/Navigator, Google Plus, Facebook Messenger, Mighty Text, Email App


*I am an Android user but most of these have an Apple equivalent.  It is truly amazing the amount of applications that are available for free and that can make your life much easier.  I encourage you to get out there and start downloading!