Five Productivity Apps to Stay on Track

Posted by Janet Nguyen on October 29, 2020

Academic Success | Student Life

How is everyone doing with learning from home? As humans, we are resilient creatures and we adapt as best as we can, but I know very well how easy it is to get distracted and bored with the same surroundings. To help you stay on track as we approach exam season, here are some fun and useful productivity apps that can help you get through the school year. 

Apps to Keep You Focused

These two apps have attractive interfaces and encourage you to put down your phone and get back to work!


In Forest, you plant a tree and leave it to grow. If you check your phone and move away from the app, the tree will die! If you move away from the app on your phone the tree will die! There are lots of different trees to pick from and it’s a fun way to keep your notifications from distracting your study session. It’s free on the Google Play Store but there’s a cost on the iOS store. A similar alternative is the Flora app which has added functionality such as group studying and planting your trees to grow with your to-do list. This one comes with a Chrome extension!

Focus Keeper

Have you seen our Tips to Stay Motivated and Productive post? It covers the Pomodoro Technique, which is a great way to stagger your productive moments, by scheduling 25-minute work sessions with five-minute breaks in between. This app will help you keep track of your Pomodoro sessions!

Another fun tip? Try having a Zoom Pomodoro study session with your buds!

Links to download Focus Keeper: Android App iOS App

Apps to Help You Study

These apps will help you study for those upcoming exams with their great interfaces.


Quizlet is free and has an easy-to-use interface where you can create flashcard decks to study. It’s a great tool for visual learners with its ability to draw diagrams. There are templates that save you time in creating your own flashcards.


This is a great notetaking app and overall study app. OneNote has an infinite canvas which means you can write the way that works best for you. You can sync with as many devices as you need, it’s optimized for digital writing, and has a lot of fun organizational tools like colour coding your folders!

Success Tip: This app is available with the Microsoft Office 2016 Suite, which is FREE for York Students.

Finally… An App to Listen to Your Readings


Our last app is a unique one that can help you keep up with your readings and home life. I use this one to have my readings read out loud to me while I do my laundry! Another tip for auditory readings is looking up your reading on YouTube, there are loads of free audiobooks online that can help you get through the immense amount of readings we’re assigned. With Speechify, you can upload your texts in PDF or Word format. There’s adjustable reading speeds, accents and different voices, so that you can “read” on the go!

We hope these apps will you help you with the upcoming end of term! Do you have any suggestions for productivity apps? Or did these apps help you? Let us know in the comments!

Janet Nguyen
Janet Nguyen

Janet Nguyen is a third-year Creative Writing and Screenwriting double major at York University. She loves to spend time playing with her kitten, Bean; cook vegetarian food; read all kinds of books, play Animal Crossing, and of course, write. She hopes her blog posts can help students navigate their way through this school year!

See other posts by Janet Nguyen