Best Productivity Tools Every Uni Student Should Be Using

Mark Barrow

If you’re going to succeed at uni, then sometimes you’re going to need to really focus and raise your productivity levels.  There’s going to be a lot expected of you, but you shouldn’t get to a point where you feel overwhelmed. We’re here to help you rise to the task though with our recommendations of the best productivity tools that all students should defo be using.

There are lots of digital productivity tools out there that will help you accomplish your goals, whether you use them for time-saving or keeping yourself motivated. They can help with organizing your notes, managing group projects, saving important web articles or keeping your files in a handy, accessible place and so much more. All are designed to help you be creative and productive and to give you the best chance to get all your work done, and possibly help raise it to the next level.


1. Note keeping: OneNote

This note-taking application will help to keep all your notes in one handy place and keep them organised in separate digital ‘notebooks’. OneNote is part of the Office 365 suite so is free for students, all you need is a valid university email address and you’re good to go.

OneNote lets you pin multimedia assets from a wide range of digital formats, including web pages and photos. You can make sure you haven’t missed anything in a lecture by taking a photo of the whiteboard or hand-outs and saving them to OneNote, then make notes over the top using a stylus, before saving it to your notebook for revision later.

Designed for use on any device, OneNote is available on all major operating systems including Android and iOS.


  • Easy organisation of notes and navigation
  • Safe storage of files.
  • Easy access from any device.


  • Limited search function

2. For focussing: Focus

Do you find it difficult to resist all the distractions and interruptions that come with living in a student house? Using the Pomodoro technique, it’s possible to re-train you brain so that you can focus your attention during study sessions by scheduling regular breaks. This method actually helps to get more revision done and increase productivity.

The Focus mobile app makes the Pomodoro technique digital by reminding you when to take a break and has a timer to show you when you next one is due. You can customise your session length to whatever works best for you.


  • Really simple and easy to use
  • You can’t pause it


  • You can’t pause it


3. For file management: GoogleDrive

If you have a Google account, then you already have access to Google Drive. It doesn’t cost a penny to start using and the free account comes with 15GB of cloud storage space, which is considerably more than similar productivity tools offered by either Apple or Microsoft.

You can save literally all your files to Google Drive, that way, if the worst happens and your laptop dies, then all your files and documents are easily retrievable on your new computer.

If you’re working on a group project then it’s easy to share a folder or document with your study partners, and if you’re working on Google sheets or Docs you can even work on them together, at the same time.


  • Stores all types of files
  • Easily share your files


  • Potential security risk if someone gets a link you don’t want them to
  • No offline access

4. Article saving: Pocket

You’re going to come across a lot of online articles that you know will be useful at a later date, but do you save them to your iPhone reading list, or bookmark them on your laptop browser? How do you make sure that you remember them when you’re writing the assignment?

The solution is to use a ‘Read it Later’ app such as Pocket, which will let you easily save videos and documents from websites when you find them, then simply retrieve them later when they’re needed in a simple, easily accessible place.

It’s especially useful if you don’t have the time to commit to a lengthy read but know you’ll want to devote the time to it when you eventually can. Plus, the clear interface displays web pages as text, meaning that there are no distractions from the vital information when you come to read it later and need to concentrate.

Handily, Pocket will save and archive whatever you ask it to, allowing you to access it offline, ideal if your reception is poor or (our biggest fear), the Wi-Fi goes down.


  • Offline access
  • Similar content suggestions


  • Is purely a ‘save for later app’, so lacks further functionality


5. For groupwork: Heyspace

HeySpace is a collaborative project management software that lets you manage tasks and keep track of group projects, plus it has an in-built chat function that enables you to discuss progress with your teammates. A big benefit of HeySpace as productivity tools go is that it allows teams to progress projects in one simple space, avoiding duplication of work, confusion and wasted time and efforts.


  • Free
  • Great for collaboration


  • Doesn’t have a mobile app

6. For generating references: MyBib

Keeping track of your references can be a pain, especially if you’ve left it to the end of writing an assignment and time is limited. This is where productivity tools such as MyBib come in extremely handy. MyBib automatically generates academic references, formatted in the academic style of your choice (including Harvard among others) from all sources, including websites, books, journals and more. All you need to do is add the relevant info, such as author or url and the software will generate the fully formatted citation, add more and it will list them in order for you to copy and paste directly into your bibliography or list of references.


  • Free
  • Lots of referencing styles to choose from


  • Not always 100% correct, you need to check it before copying and pasting into your work


7. For Proofreading: Grammarly

If you are writing, anything, then Grammarly is an absolute must, we think it’s one of the best productivity tools out there. This easy-to-use grammar checker helps to make sure that both your spelling and grammar are correct, acting as a second pair of eyes, accurately proofreading all your documents. Let it inspect a written assignment and it will identify many more mistakes than a standard spell checker, saving you the time that it takes to comb through a document looking for errors. It also has a handy plagiarism checker that will let you know if you have any duplicate content, checking from billions of web pages and databases.

Simply download it as a handy browser add-on and let it connect to your different platforms and devices. The free account is more than capable of taking your assignments to the next level and will help make sure you don’t miss out on any points for poor grammar or sentence structure.


  • Much more than a spell-checker
  • Comes with a plagiarism checker


  • Lags when editing large docs


Digital productivity tools are defo the way to go these days if you want to be at the top of your game. Whether you’re looking to streamline your workflow, stay organised, or simply keep yourself motivated, there’s a tool out there that can help. With so many options available, it can be overwhelming, but don’t let that hold you back. Take the time to explore and find the tools that work best for you.

At the end of the day, the goal is to be creative, productive, and efficient. By utilising digital productivity tools, you’re giving yourself the best chance to achieve all of those things. And who knows, you might even take your work to the next level. So what are you waiting for? Get started today!

And for even more tips and tricks on how to maximize your productivity, be sure to check out our blog on exam prep tips and advice.