Grad school has a high tendency to make one go (at least) slightly berserk. I thought it’d be great to share some of the tools I use to keep myself in line, academically. I hope you find this listing helpful (and it will be adjusted as I discover new and/or better tools). Feel free to contact me if you have any suggestions!
The grad school file management struggle is REAL! Here’s what I use to keep my files organized & backed up:
Evernote is the salvation of my entire grad life! There’s a 60MB monthly upload limit for free accounts, but premium accounts get 1GB monthly for a $45 annual fee. Basically, if you can time your uploads right, you don’t ever have to pay.
- As can be expected in a PhD program, there are TONS of articles & chapter excerpts to read. We get many of them online through our library, but a lot of them have copyright protections that prevents this, so we get them via hardcopy course packs. I take those paper readings to our production room so I can use their fancy copy machine that can scan both sides of each article page & email the entire document to the specified notebook in my Evernote account. I then just pull them into Notability as needed.
- When I’m doing online research, I can save websites with helpful tips or research information by using the Evernote Clipper. I just click the cute little extension button at the top of my browser, select the folder, add any tags, & voila!
- Sharing & collaboration, FTW! Every single note has its own URL, so you can share the link with whomever you wish. Same thing with notebooks and notestacks.
- I also use Evernote as two forms of backup:
- To store all the articles from past courses &
- Dissertation chapters.
- At this stage of my studies, this is mostly just ideas I have for each chapter, but I have everything sorted so that I can start building easily. Once I get going on writing, I’ll copy things over into Dropbox so that my work is always accessible via my computer (offline or online), my external backup drive, Evernote, & Dropbox.
I started using my free account at Dropbox to save things I’m done using for a while. However, now once I became a Notability fiend, I started using my Dropbox to keep all my class notes. They have a super nifty app that links your online folder to your computer so you don’t have to manually upload/download files to & from your computer. I also use Dropbox to store my Zotero reference management library. Lots of other people use it to store documents they’re working on from multiple places. Although Dropbox doesn’t have a dedicated email address for uploading, there are several third-party options for that. It’s also great for sharing large files with others (instead of using mediafire, yousendit!, and the like). The same feature can be used to collaborate on documents. Use my link & we BOTH get an extra 250MB of storage!
I LOVE using GoogleDocs because I can access whatever I’m working on from anywhere with an internet connection. I usually start writing here and then either download or copy/paste into MS Word to add in & format the references. But things over
at the GooglePlex are moving, so I haven’t had to do this as much. Maybe by the time I get started on my dissertation, they’ll have the ability to connect with Zotero or maybe create their own reference manager so that I don’t even have to do any of that.
Okay, I’m a grammar feind, so I haven’t usually had a whole lot to correct with my work. Sadly, since starting this Phd, I’ve noticed that not only do I not always write so carefully, but I am also slipping on my proof reading. Fortunately, Grammarly, a grammar-checking program trusted by more than 300,000 students and endorsed by hundreds of universities, helps take care of that! (Disclosure: affiliate link.)
So, I’ve honestly never been good at this. Ever. In my life. Thankfully, I discovered the Pomodoro Method. Knowing that I’m easily distracted, I knew I needed to set some reasonable goals for myself so that I can achieve awesomeness and actually finish this degree. I already wrote a blog post on how awesome it has been for me, so check it out!
I love words (in case you couldn’t tell). I especially love when they come together as stories or guides.
Bigwords.com is my first stop for book shopping. This site does all the book shopping legwork for you when you’re shopping for deals on books rather than spending half of your stipend or financial aid in the bookstore. If you have memberships to B&N or Amazon Prime, they automatically calculate your discount, so you don’t have to do any double-checking.
Although Big Words does search Amazon, if you’re planning to buy something else via Amazon anyway, I’d really appreciate you starting your search from my page. Also, my aStore is displayed at the bottom of every page, so you can check out the what I’m gathering along my journey. I get a portion of the proceeds, which is a great help, considering my status as an impoverished grad student.)