Best Apps For Phd Students

As a PhD student, you probably feel like you’re always on the clock. Between classes, research, and teaching responsibilities, it can seem like there’s no end to your workday. But what if we told you that there was an app for that?

In this article, we’ll talk about the best apps for PhD students to use in 2019. Whether you want to manage your productivity more efficiently or get more organized, these apps can help you stay on track during your busy days. We’ll also highlight some of our favorite apps that will help you maintain your mental health while working toward a PhD degree.

17 Best and Most Helpful Productivity Apps for PhD Students - WiseStep

Best Apps For Phd Students

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Here’s a rundown of 10 best apps for grad school, from productivity-boosters to apps to help you unwind.

Apps to Keep You on Track
You may already be using an app like Trello to coordinate your projects. If not, it’s time to jump in! Here are a few more apps to help you keep that GPA up and your research on track.

Companies worldwide use Asana to track work and stay on task. Because group projects can be the norm in grad school, Asana provides a way to task out projects and stay organized.

It’s easy to organize your efforts by projects, tasks, and subtasks, plus dashboards show your team’s progress. All this will help you avoid that moment when someone says, “Wait, I thought you built the presentation!”

Asana is free for up to 15 people per team, and they offer iOS, iPad, and Android apps.

Grad school = a massive amount of notes, and Evernote is one of the best apps for grad students to keep all of those pearls of wisdom in one place.

It’s easily searchable, notes sync across devices, and the notebook organization helps keep your proverbial ducks in a row.

The best part for grad students though? The audio recorder—for that one professor who speaks at a million WPM.

Evernote is available for iOS and Android.

Google Drive
No one wants to be stuck searching through their email for the latest version of a group project. Google Drive makes it easy to store, share, and collaborate on files and folders.

Access all your content across your phone, tablet, and computer, and never worry about compatibility or converting file formats.

Google Drive offers a hefty 15 GB for free, and you can purchase more as needed.

Slack’s mission is to eliminate email in the workplace, and we can probably all agree an email-free grad school would be beautiful. The Slack app is user-friendly and you can add multiple Slack teams.

Slack uses a social-network style “channel” approach to team collaboration, messaging is quick and painless, and you may find yourself in late night GIF battles with the Giphy integration.

Slack is available for the gamut of devices, even Windows Phone or Linux if you’re into that kind of thing.

Staying organized is the first step to success, and iStudiez is one of the best apps for grad students to stay on track.

iStudiez can help you put together your class schedules, review your research and assignments, and even track your GPA with a built-in GPA calculator.

The main app functions are free, with cloud sync available for weekly, monthly, and yearly subscription plans.

Often the toughest part of writing a grad school paper, chapter, or planning a major research project is nailing the outline, and Outliner is here to save the day.

Outliner helps you get your thoughts from your brain into a cohesive plan. It syncs with Dropbox and has sharing capabilities for group projects.

Outliner costs $4.99 and runs on iPhone and iPad.

The last productivity app for grad students may prompt flashbacks to the ‘90s (in a good way).

Habitica calls itself “your life—the role-playing game” and gamifies getting stuff done. As you accomplish school-related and everyday tasks, you earn gold. (How about a coin for getting out of bed? Count us in.)

Hitting your goals keeps your health up, and teaming up with friends on quests keeps you accountable and motivated.

Free (with optional subscriptions) for iOS and Android. Level up!

You’re sitting at your desk, papers organized in front of you, textbook open, and you’re ready to start writing the next chapter of your dissertation on your laptop. Five minutes later, you find yourself scrolling through your endless news feed on Facebook.

Keep the distractions at bay with Forest, an app and browser extension for Chrome and Firefox that lets you grow a tiny, adorable virtual tree for every half hour you stay focused on the task at hand.

Apps for Disconnecting
And now, since all work and no play…you get the idea, here’s a few apps for “downtime.”

For the musically inclined (and wannabes), Triller turns anyone into a lip-sync legend.

Pick any song in your library, plan out your shots, and go to town with multiple takes. When you’re done, Triller will splice your takes together for the best possible video, and you can swap out takes if that one look isn’t just right.

It’s a great way to get out of the library, jam to your favorite tunes and die laughing with your friends.

Enlight Pixaloop
Shutterbugs will love this photo editing app that adds animation effects to your pics. Create a steaming cup of coffee, twinkling lights, or a rippling pond with a few taps of your screen. You can even replace gray skies with vibrant sunsets and drifting clouds.

Take reality to the next level and wow your friends and followers.

We could all use a little more calm in our lives. Get centered and make the most of your “me time” with this meditation app.

Calm includes nature sounds and guided meditations to help you wind down and manage stress, plus soothing bedtime stories for the insomniacs among us.

A free version is available with optional subscriptions. The benefit to your mental health? Priceless.

Bonus: UL Lafayette’s official app
Of course, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the University’s very own app that makes it easy to access University news, events, sports, and social media while on the go.

You can also check your email, access Moodle, and view your schedule and statement of account.

Available for free for Apple and Android devices.

productivity tools for phd students

Hey there! Today I will give you a list of essential software tools to increase your productivity as a PhD student or researcher. This guide is written based on my experience as a graduate student in systems research. However, some points made here may be applicable to a broader audience. I classify these tools into 6 main categories:
Notes taking
Reference manager
Typesetting software
Plotting and data analysis
Diagram Software
Video conferencing and Team communication
Notes taking
As a PhD student or researcher, note taking is very essential, and you need to keep track of your ideas and thoughts as you go along. I recommend having both digital and manual note taking systems. For digital note taking Evernote is my favorite. Evernote is a very popular note taking software, is very flexible and helps you easily create notes with lists, images, links, etc. It synchronizes your data across various devices and provides browser plugins to search your notes via a normal google search, which I find pretty cool!
In spite of the flexibility provided by digital note taking apps, sometimes its easier or more practical to write things down manually. For your manual note taking please get a book ! Do not make the mistake I made of using sheets of paper because they will eventually pile up into a difficult-to-manage clutter.
Evernote is also great for TODO lists, however the two I recommend for this purpose are Asana and Trello.
Reference manager
Getting a reference manager is vital and will prevent you unnecessarily filling your folders with PDF files, or trying to manually organize scientific papers. This will always cause lots of confusion eventually (e.g. due to poor naming). I have been there and I can attest it is painful to manually scan through folders searching for paper no_name.pdf you downloaded on date i-cannot-remember. Getting a reference manager will help preserve your mental sanity and save you valuable time.
For this my top recommendation is Mendeley. It is very intuitive, free (up to 2GB of cloud storage) and helps maintain your bibliography in perfect order. It also provides browser plugins which help you to easily add PDF references to your library. A simple click in the desktop app synchronizes your online references with those locally stored on your PC. This is especially useful when you work on different machines. Mendeley also enables you generate reference lists automatically, which comes in handy during thesis and paper writing.
Other good reference manager apps are Zotero and Endnote .
Typesetting software
As you may have guessed, you will be doing lots of scientific writing as a researcher and PhD student. For this I recommend using LaTeX.
LaTeX is a high-quality typesetting software and is the de facto standard for the communication and publication of scientific documents. Luckily I got a good grip of LaTeX early on as a student; if you haven’t yet, fear not , it isn’t too late. You can find great LaTeX tutorials online on Overleaf and Youtube. Overleaf provides you with a complete, ready to go LaTeX environment in the cloud, and nice templates to start off your LaTeX projects; isn’t that cool ? 😃
I invite you to investigate LaTeX and learn how to use it; it is much better than MS-word, which is clunky and slow.
Plotting and data analysis
As a researcher (especially in the sciences), you will need tools to analyze your data and plot graphs for you presentations, posters, papers, and thesis. A good free tool for this is R. It is a programming language used for various kinds of data science, statistics and visualization projects. The learning curve is a little steep but it is worth learning. There are so many Youtube videos and online tutorials which will make learning R alot easier for you.
More particularly for plotting, a second free and useful tool is Gnuplot. The learning curve is also a little steep, but the great plots you will produce are worth the time and effort.
Diagram software
For your research, you will need to create beautiful figures for papers, posters, presentations, and finally your thesis. For these you will need good image creation software; don’t be that guy who scans hand-drawn diagrams and integrates these into his presentations 😑. Two free image creation apps I recommend for this are yEd and Inkscape. yEd is my personal favorite: it is simple yet powerful, very intuitive to use and lets you create decent figures in a very short time once you get a hold of it. On the other hand, Inkscape has great online tutorials which will help you learn quickly. I recently came across, a free online tool for making decent figures; you should check it out.
If you use macOS, another alternative (not free) is OmniGraffle.
Video conferencing and Team communication
The recent health crisis and lockdowns forced many out of the office, and kept us confined to our homes, away from family, friends and team mates. Thus, there has been a rising popularity of video conferencing and online communication tools.
For video conferencing and team communication, I recommend Discord and Slack respectively. Both have free versions which are good enough for everyday usage. Another great free tool you can try for video conferencing is BigBlueButton. Other alternatives include Zoom and Whereby. These have free and paid versions but the free versions are good enough for small and short online meetings.
Now thats all I have for you today. I hope you find these tools useful for your work. Stay tuned for the next tips in my tech diaries :v: .


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