Modern technology can be millennial law students’ greatest asset or biggest distraction depending on how they use it. When I was in law school, technology was mostly a distraction (umm, hello, Pinterest was brand new and waaayyy more interesting than my corporations class). But, today there are so many websites and apps out there that can actually save you time and help you stay on track. Here is a list of applications that you can use to harness the power of technology for good and help you be a more focused, more productive, and more organized law student.
- To- Do List and Task Management
As a law student, it always feels like you have more stuff to do than time to do it. These apps will help you get your to-do list organized and your day-to-day life under control.
Wunderlist is a digital to-do list management system that allows you to sort lists by topic, drag and drop tasks, set reminders, and share your lists with other people. It’s available for iPhone and Android devices.
Awesome Note, similarly to Wunderlist, is a digital to-do list management system that is also available for iPhone and Android devices. Awesome Note is great for visual people as it makes use of lots of colors, symbols, and font options.
Trello at its core is a project management system. Law students have tons of projects to manage, such as creating outlines, studying for finals, writing papers, working at internships, and participating in student organizations. Trello helps you break all of your big projects up into smaller pieces and easily keep track of what needs to get done.
- Distraction Blocking and Time Management
While I haven’t conducted a formal survey of law students, I’m 99 percent sure that social media is the biggest time waster for most of them. Use these apps to put up some social media boundaries and get a better hold of your time.
Freedom is my favorite app included in this article. Freedom is a website and iPhone and Android app that that allows you to block certain applications and websites that distract you. You can limit your access to certain times of day and Freedom will automatically shut down the restricted sites when the time comes.
Self-Control is a Mac app that works similarly to Freedom in that it allows you to block certain websites and limit the amount of time you spend on them. The difference with Self-Control is that once you set the timer, there is no taking it back! Even if you restart your computer the app will not reset until the time runs out.
StayFocused is a productivity extension for Google Chrome that allows you to restrict the amount of time that you spend on time-wasting websites. To use it, you set an amount of time that you want to spend on specific websites during the day. Once you reach your allotted time for the day, StayFocused will block those websites for the rest of the day.
Aren’t group projects everyone’s favorite part of law school? Yeah, not so much. However, group projects and information sharing are a necessary part of law school. Check out my favorite app for document sharing that will help you streamline the process of collaborative work.
Google Drive is a cloud-based file storage and sharing service. It is a great way to backup your documents and share them with others. The best part about Google Drive is the ability to work on documents and spreadsheets at the same time as someone else. Use Google Drive to eliminate passing versions of the same Word document back and forth and create a digital record of your edits.
Taking notes is kind of a big deal in law school, and you do it all the time. You want to make the process as easy and organized as possible.
Google Docs/ Microsoft Word
The classic and most basic way to take notes (other than handwriting them) is using a Word document. There is nothing wrong with this tried and true method of notetaking, but I highly suggest you take it up a notch by using Google Docs. Google Docs will allow you to access your notes any time and from any computer. This also prevents an epic meltdown on your part in the event that your computer crashes at some point.
Microsoft OneNote is modern notetaking software. It elevates the basic notetaking features of Word by allowing you to organize your notes into workbooks, create tags for important notes, draw using a stylus or your finger, and record audio notes directly into your notes.
You may have already realized this, but law school is pretty stressful. And, the ever-connected world we live in just piles onto that stress. Try out these apps to help you feel more relaxed and rejuvenated.
Calm is an iPhone and Android meditation app. It includes a collection of different meditations and mindfulness activities, sleep stories to help with insomnia, a variety of different background sounds and images, and several master classes that tackle wellness issues.
Pacifica is an iPhone and Android self-care app with several awesome features. Pacifica allows you to track your mood as frequently as you want and add a description of what was going on at the time. It also has a journaling feature with several different prompts, a goal setting feature, a health tracker, a hope board creator, and several meditations.
I hope you picked up one or two useful apps from this list that will ease your workload bring some more free time into your life!
Kerriann Stout is a millennial law school professor and founder of Vinco (a bar exam coaching company) who is generationally trapped between her students and colleagues. Kerriann has helped hundreds of students survive law school and the bar exam with less stress and more confidence. She lives, works, and writes in the northeast. You can reach her by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.