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The school buses are revving up and the last days of summer are fading. Back to School season is in full swing, whether we’re ready or not. While I’m sure many of our Fabulous users have been planning and organizing for weeks now, others going back to school might not be quite as prepared. For whatever reason, if you feel like you’ve been floundering through your first few days (or weeks) of school, we’re here to help you.

Here are the tools you need to make this school year your best one yet.

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A Personal Assistant (App)

With as busy as our lives are, it can feel impossible to keep track of everything. Classes, assignments, jobs, and all our daily obligations can bog us down. But you don’t have to do it alone! Even if your friends and family are just as busy as you are, the most powerful ally you’ll have this year is the one you’re likely holding in your hand right now: The almighty smartphone.

The Fabulous app can help you maintain a daily routine to keep you on top of your wellness (and sanity). With over half a dozen different journeys to choose from, Fabulous can help you learn the power of blistering focus, how to maximize your mental fitness, or stay calm under stress. It’s as simple as drinking water.

A Good Night’s Sleep

We really can’t stress this enough. Regular, productive sleep is the foundation of living well. When we’re sleep-deprived, our health takes a nose-dive. We become less productive, less willing to take care of ourselves, and less able to make decisions. Our brain needs time off.

No matter how tempting it might be to stay up all night and cram for an exam, don’t waste your time. You’ll just end up tired on exam day, which will hurt your grade far more than not studying enough would. Studying in small batches over a longer period of time will help you remember more, anyway.

The Google Productivity Suite

The Google Suite is free for anyone with a Google account and has become one of the most powerful and versatile productivity suites out there. Not only does it have the Holy Trinity of office apps (a word processor, spreadsheet maker, and presentation designer), Google has a host of other free apps that are perfect for students. Organize your courses and assignment due dates with Google Calendar. Set yourself Google reminders to pack a lunch before heading to campus. Use Google Sites to create a digital resume or portfolio for potential employers. The possibilities are endless.

Automation Tools

Wouldn’t it be so handy to get a wake-up call each morning with a detailed weather report? Or maybe you’d like to get special notifications on your phone when you receive emails from certain professors. How about having tasks from your digital to-do list automatically added to your Google calendar based on their due dates?

When you have a hundred things to do, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. But what if you could automate a portion of those things? Automation tools like IFTTT and Zapier can help you outsource those tiny, frustrating tasks to that tiny computer in your pocket, so you can focus on your actual work.

The best part is that these automation tasks are 100% customizable. And there are endless potential uses. IFTTT has pre-made applets that silence your phone when you enter a certain area (like, say, a classroom). Another helps you track how much time you’re actually studying.

A Good Notebook

While we at Fabulous are big fans of the Digital Age, we also recognize that some things are just better in analog. Note-taking is one of those things.

Sure, you can make digital notes that are far more beautiful and easier to read. In fact, transcribing your paper notes to a digital format can be helpful for that exact reason. But we still recommend you take your notes by hand. A notebook and pen are far less intrusive in a classroom than a laptop or tablet might be. Plus, you’ll be less likely to get distracted by social media, and more likely to remember what you wrote.

The Takeaway

If you’re for ways to be more productive this school year, modern technology is a double-edged sword. Our smartphones and computers are only as useful as we make them. Your phone can either be a $500 Facebook reader or it can be your most powerful ally in and out of the classroom. Which will you choose?

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