June 28, 2018  |  Purdue Global

Not too long ago, it was next to impossible for students to go to college while working a full-time job and meeting family obligations. But online education has changed this; technology allows millions of people to achieve educational goals which they had once considered impossible.

While online learning provides flexibility and convenience, it does require discipline—perhaps even more discipline than on-campus programs. Why? Because it’s so easy to let other issues get in the way of logging in and doing the work.

Fortunately, technology is continuously providing tools that students can use to better manage their time and limit distractions. Let’s review 17 tech tools that can help online students be more productive.

Embrace Project Management Tools

Instead of trying to manage everything in your head or on a calendar, put on your project manager hat. Meeting your milestones—due dates—will be critical to your success. Take advantage of some of the following tools to help you manage your time wisely (some are specific to coursework; others you can use to organize personal life and college studies together):

  • myHomework—This app is an option for students who want a tool solely devoted to school. No more student planners—now you can use your favorite devices to stay organized. Free and paid versions are available for iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, Kindle Fire, and Google Chrome browser.
  • Todoist—Todoist gives users a platform where they can manage multiple tasks—school, work, personal—and assign a task to its corresponding project. Students with busy family lives or hectic work schedules can put everything in Todoist to get a clear overview of all their tasks and deadlines. Todoist can be used in a desktop browser or on a smartphone or tablet. Students are also eligible for a discount off the Todoist Business plan.
  • Trello—If you enjoy a "drag and drop" environment, Trello may be the tool for you. Trello is flexible—simply organize your coursework and other projects in the way that works best for you. Use Trello board to manage schoolwork and have a list of cards for each class. When an assignment is complete, drag that card into the completed list. Trello can be used in a desktop browser or a smartphone app. A free version is available, but users can upgrade to a paid plan for more features.

Get Rid of Digital Distractions

The next thing to conquer is digital distraction. Don't let temptations waste your time and derail your studies or homework.

Set up a room in your house or find a place where you can focus. Turn off or silence your phone. If you need a little help with focus, these tech-blocking tools may help:

Clear Your Head

Sometimes technology isn't the distraction—maybe you need help clearing your mind. Try these tools designed to help enhance focus.

  • Chegg Study—Chegg provides study tools for college students, including a community of subject experts.
  • myNoise or Noisli—These white noise apps block aural distractions and help focus thoughts.
  • Insight Timer—This app offers free guided meditations that can help you learn how to meditate and clear your mind.

Upgrade Your Note-Taking

There are two areas to consider when it comes to making note-taking more efficient: taking the notes and the time needed to organize them.

These note-taking apps make your efforts more efficient:

  • Dragon Dictation—This software can dictate your notes to your computer.
  • DragonAnywhere mobile app—This version is a good fit for people who aren't speedy typists.
  • Rocketbook—This smart notebook lets users write notes by hand but access them online. There’s no need to type your handwritten notes; just upload them to the Rocketbook app and share with your favorite note management app.

These apps can help keep your notes organized:

  • Evernote—This app enables you to take notes on one device and access them on another. Evernote is available to use via mobile app and desktop.
  • OneNote—This Microsoft app works similarly to Evernote and is available across a variety of devices.

Increase Efficiency With Gmail Integrations

Services such as Sortd and Zapier can streamline the steps you take after receiving an email, saving you time and keeping you organized.

  • Sortd—This Google add-on brings your emails, tasks, and priorities together inside your Gmail account.
  • Zapier—This Gmail integration allows you to automate your email when you connect it to any of the 1,000+ apps it supports. You can create a Trello card from your inbox, save emails to a Google spreadsheet, add your task due dates to Google Calendar, and more.

Additional Resources From Purdue Global

Purdue Global is dedicated to helping you achieve your goals. We offer several resources for students, including personalized student support, a large student and alumni network, and a comprehensive digital library. Purdue Global is on your side every step of the way.

About the Author

Purdue Global

Earn a degree you're proud of and employers respect at Purdue Global, Purdue's online university for working adults. Accredited and online, Purdue Global gives you the flexibility and support you need to come back and move your career forward. Choose from 175+ programs, all backed by the power of Purdue.

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