10+ Reasons Reflect Notes Should Be Your Primary Note-Taking App

I recently had the pleasure of trying Reflect Notes, and I am impressed. I have previously detailed my love for Obsidian—nothing has changed. However, Reflect is an excellent app, though it gets less attention than it deserves. Hopefully, this post will help change that.

Reflect is a beautiful note-taking app. It fits in with many of the other apps I have posted about before. It recently added an AI assistant, which I am confident users will enjoy. The AI assistant will help avid note-takers enhance their notes.

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Reflect Notes has some important features.

  1. Daily notes. It does an excellent job with this. If you have used similar apps, you are likely already used to this format. However, with Reflect, I especially liked being able to scroll through all my daily notes in one place (i.e., without hacking it with a plugin).
  2. Backlinks. The backlinks feature does not appear to be second thought. It seems to now be an unspoken requirement for note-taking apps. Reflect does a nice job with this.
  3. Tasks. I can’t say much about tasks. As you may know, I use a dedicated task manager and have at times used Sunsama when I am working with teams that use different project management tools. However, if you do like integrating your notes and tasks, you’ll be able to see them together on the daily note associated with the task due date.
  4. Calendar. Reflect integrates to your calendar (i.e., Google or Outlook) and allows users to keep track of events.
  5. Integrations. Users can connect with other applications using Zapier. You can also sync and import highlights with Readwise and Kindle. I highlighted a book with my Kindle and Reflect was able to create a note with the book’s details, highlights, and page number. This is a plus for anyone who actively reads on their Kindle device.
  6. Web clipper. The app includes a web clipper that Chrome or Safari users can use to save clips while browsing. The web clipper was better than I expected because it includes an annotation and auto highlight feature! The import worked well and was generally well organized. I read too often on my mac to dismiss the added import of this! The other thing I noticed was the my highlights appeared to be preserved when I visited the site later! However, users should note that removing a highlight does not automatically remove it from Reflect.

There is so much more the Reflect Notes team can boast about.

  1. Design. Reflect is beautifully designed and simple to navigate, which allows for a distraction free writing experience.
  2. Map. I don’t often use the map—or the graph as it is called in some other apps—but it is available too.
  3. Search. The search function is quite good. Users will be able to search for those notes in a frictionless way.
  4. Secure. The app includes end-to-end encryption—only you can access your notes.
  5. Fast. It is fast.
  6. History. The page history was an added plus, as users will be able to restore their notes to a previous state.
  7. Mobile. It is only available on iOS (at the time of writing)
  8. Pricing. At $10/month (if billed annually)—it seems well priced. Reflect offers a free trial period.

Lingering thoughts

  • ✅ You can import your notes from Evernote
  • ✅ You can export your notes in various formats
  • ✅ There are slash commands
  • ✅ You can create templates and evoke them using the slash commands

Reflect is definitely worth trying. Consider it as your primary note-taking app if you are looking for an app with daily notes and back-linking functionality, and integration with many different apps. If you read a lot on the Kindle and need a place to revisit your highlights, definitely give this it a try. Reflect is well designed and likely to meet the needs of diverse users.

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A Virtual Study Space for Productive Work

I was inspired to create a Notion template that mimicked a virtual study space after researching and writing about online study websites and virtual work spaces. I’ve previously written about LifeAt, Bindr, Fiveable, Study Together, and StudyStream. These sites aim to provide aesthetic and functional online work and study spaces and are increasingly popular.

Notion is also gaining traction from diverse audiences, including students, freelancers, and small to large-sized teams. Notion is considered an all-in-one workspace and many people do their work within the app. I’ve written previously about the Notion templates that students may find useful.

The Notion Study Lounge

I worked with Notion template creators at Hypen to develop the Notion Study Lounge, a virtual Notion template for productive work. The template offers many different features and is customizable. The workspace includes:

  • Inspiring daily quotes
  • An editable pomodoro timer
  • 24/7 lofi radio station
  • A task list
  • A reminders section
  • A notebook for quick notes
  • Quick links

When you log in, you will get a greeting with the current date and time. You’ll also be able to add external and internal quick links.

The internal workspace links will allow you to jump from one section of your work space to another.

We included toggles so that your workspace remains uncluttered.

This is great if you are easily distracted. With one click you can hide other areas.

The workspace can also work as a daily productivity dashboard. It includes a table where you can drag and drop your task lists. You’ll then be able to sort, group, search, and track your tasks over time.

This template also includes a customizable timer and a 24/7 Lofi station — we absolutely love these two features!

You will likely need to jot down some quick notes and reminders. We have a section for that too.

We wanted to create something that would also look good in dark mode, with different fonts, and in full width. This template achieves all of that!

Get the template ($10.00 USD) here and reach out if you have questions about the template or ideas about future ones. The template includes our credits section–we give credit to the creators that make the widgets we use possible.

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Mention mystudenthq when purchasing here to get 10% off.

If you are looking to try Notion, you can use my affiliate link for a Notion Plus account.

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5+ reasons to use Sunsama to organize your day

Sunsama is an app that allows users to be intentional about their daily tasks and weekly objectives. By letting users organize their tasks, events, and email in a central place, Sunsama helps users to control their day.

I started using Sunsama while looking for a new calendar or day planner app. Although I was initially drawn to Friday, after a short run, the app is shutting down. Friday’s integration with Todoist was an excellent addition to my workflow and a feature that I require any new day planner I use to implement. As of now, Sunsama meets that need and more.

Sunsama allows me to visualize and track progress

Sunsama works for me because it helps me to see how much I am taking on and accomplishing each day. The daily kanban and progress bar work for me because I can see the number of tasks I’ve accomplished and how many are still outstanding. I can also reorganize my tasks across the week to lighten my load or pull in tasks from Todoist, Trello, Gmail, or Notion to fill in open slots in my day. Sunsama is also effective for time-boxing, which allows users to block out time each day to work on specific projects or tasks.

Sunsama helps me to unify my tasks

Sunsama has genuinely changed the way I approach my work. As a Ph.D. candidate, I work on many different projects with research teams that use different project management software. I am also working on my dissertation and need to plan my time accordingly to meet my professional and personal goals.

Sunsama has changed the way I work

The app lets me to prioritize my daily tasks and weekly objectives, which often become blurred when there are demands on my time and commitment. Sunsama asks about your plans for each day and inquires about your accomplishments the day before. It allows me to ask: do I really intend to have a 14-hour workday? This small addition allows me to stay on track throughout the week.

Sunsama is flexible

The ability to toggle between different views is a highlight of the app. I keep Sunsama open throughout the day, which allows me to use it as a reference point. I enjoy seeing my tasks and calendar events simultaneously because it gives me a better sense of the day and enables me to prepare for upcoming activities. So far, I’ve had no issues with Sunsama’s Google Calendar integration. Sunsama currently integrates with Todoist, ClickUp, Gmail, Outlook, Asana, Trello, Github, Google Calendar, Slack, and Notion.

Sunsama has reporting and tracking features

Sunsama’s reporting and tracking feature is another reason I’m drawn to the app. As long as I time box and use the channels as intended for my workflow, I can see exactly how I’ve spent my time each week.

Sunsama has a mobile app

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and the move to remote work, I have relied less on mobile apps and have started to weigh this less in considering apps over the last two or so years. I discontinued several apps where I was paying a premium price for location-based features. However, I understand how central a mobile app is for potential users.

Sunsama takes an interesting approach to pricing

For some users, the $20 (per month, billed monthly tag) is steep. There are currently no discounts for educators or students. For some users, especially those familiar with Sunsama’s pricing manifesto, the price may not matter. Sunsama argues that the product is worth at least $1/workday.

Looking across other calendar/day planner-type apps, few are in direct competition with Sunsama. However, this might change down the line. For now, Sunsama is ahead of its competitors, as it is truly in a league of its own. I do more with less effort while using the app.

If you are not willing to shell out $20 a month for Sunsama, here are some alternatives to check out:

Amazing Marvin

Some cons

There are a few areas Sunsama can further develop. Meeting notes and task notes are important in my workflow. I also frequently need to reference notes from previous meetings across many different projects. Currently, trying to locate previous meeting notes in Sunsama is not practical. I still rely on my notetaking tools for this. It would be great to see Sunsama create one central place for notes.

Another issue I have is that the labels I apply in other apps have to be recreated in Sunsama. While this ensures that I can appropriately track my time and effort for each activity, it is an unnecessary friction point. Unfortunately, I usually have to manually categorize new tasks and events every day. Once I am in Sunsama, I am ready to work and don’t want to spend time reorganizing tasks.

Concluding thoughts

I enjoy Sunsama because I am not replacing any tools that I have become accustomed to using. I still use Todoist and Google Calendar and have no plans to give these up. The issue I’ve faced is that neither Todoist nor Google Calendar, together or separately, allow me to manage my workload across many different teams in a way that helps me to feel accomplished at the end of the day or week. For me, Sunsama excels with this.

However, the app may not be sustainable for me down the line. I use it now because I am pulled across different projects, but this may not be the case next year.

I am a Sunsama ambassador and this post is based solely on my experience with the app. With my ambassador link, you can get started with a 30-day trial. This is twice as long as the default 14-day trial. No credit card or payment information is needed at sign-up.

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7 incredibly useful Notion templates for students

Notion is increasingly becoming popular across many different audiences. It is often described as an all-in-one workspace. Though you can use the app in many different ways (e.g., a task list, a product roadmap, a notebook, or a journal), I use it to keep track of all of my projects, especially my work on this site.

Notion serves as my home base and as an all-purpose productivity app. It has unique features, such as databases, calendar and timeline views, kanban boards, gallery views, and tables that make the app truly spectacular.

Starting a Notion workspace from scratch can be challenging. I recently recommended the app to a student, who was immediately overwhelmed by the many features of the app. Notion has different use cases, which can make the actual product challenging to grasp.

However, I’ve found that the pre-designed Notion templates make it easier to get started with Notion. These templates generally give users a head start in the specific areas of school, work, or life that they intend to use Notion to organize.

The Notion template gallery is a fantastic resource for ready-made templates. I am always looking to implement or adapt what other Notion users have created.

Below are a few templates I’ve curated for students. These templates appear in no particular order. They offer examples for students looking to create their own workspaces. With these templates, students will be able to organize their academic goals and plans, course notes and assignments, and any other area of life that needs organizing.


Select the best way to display your data with the data visualisation catalogue

Have you ever wondered if your data would be best displayed as a bar chart, line graph, or scatterplot? If so, The Data Visualisation Catalogue might help you decide.

The catalogue helps you to choose the right kind of visual presentation for your data.

The tool, developed by Severino Ribecca, started as a project to create a library of different ways to display information.

Severino initially began the project as a way to develop his knowledge of data visualization and as a reference tool for his own work. Now, the Data Visualisation Catalogue allows users to explore the best ways to graphically present information.

Using the Data Visualisation Catalogue

The various visualization choices allow users to decide on the best chart type for their needs. Users can search the catalogue by function or by list.

The catalogue provides new ideas for how to visually relay information to an audience. Once you select a chart type, it provides:

  • The description, anatomy, and functions of the chart
  • A display of similar charts in the catalog
  • Tools to generate the visualization
  • Examples of the chart
  • A reference guide for using the chart
An example of how the venn diagram is cataloged on the site.

With all of this information, I can decide how I want to create the chart and what tools I might need if I decide to modify how the chart is displayed.


If you have ever been stuck when deciding what type of chart to create to best display your data, the Data Visualization Catalogue will be helpful. The site is beneficial for individuals who are often deciding how best to present information or data.

The tool is incredibly useful and I hope to see more visualization charts for displaying qualitative data in the future.

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Use Snip by Mathpix to convert math images and PDFs

Snip is an AI-powered document conversion tool that allows users to convert images and PDFs to LaTeX, DOCX, Markdown, Excel, and many other formats. The tool simplifies working with documents that contain math.

Snip is developed and maintained by Mathpix, a company that uses document conversion technology to make digital science available instantly.

My use case

I was looking for a way to automatically generate the equation below without retyping. I uploaded a screenshot and was able to download the formula for use in Microsoft Word.

The equation represents a common measure of residential segregation. More details about the equation and residential segregation are available on the U.S. Census Bureau website.

Snip is accessible on any device

Snip is available for mobile, tablet, desktop, and web browsers and allows automatic syncing across all devices.

The mobile version allows for handwritten equations, and the desktop and web versions are best for taking and uploading screenshots.


Snip is free for up to 10 snips and 20 PDF pages a month.

Their educational offer for students and educators is free and includes 100 Snips and 35 pdf pages. Those who want to get started in this tier will need to sign up with an institutional email.

The $4.99/month cost (at the moment) includes 5,000 Snips and 250 PDF pages. You can also claim two free months with their annual plan.


Overall, I am impressed with the app. It was simple and easy to use, and I plan to use it more frequently.

Recreate my Snip workflow

I recently started using Scribe, and I am enjoying it. I used it to create this workflow and plan to use it more regularly. If you want to try this tool, please use my referral link. I’ll unlock 7 days of Scribe Pro for free, and you’ll also get to try the app for free.

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Write your literature review with Connected Papers

I discovered Connected Papers while recently completing the literature review section of a research proposal. I’ve written about how I found this tool and decided to try it. In short, I was looking for a way to condense the papers and information that I was collecting and was interested in tools that did not position themselves as reference managers. I wanted to cite historical and contemporary papers to not omit seminary work.

What is Connected Papers

Connected Papers is a free online visual tool that helps researchers and students find relevant articles within their fields. Writing an evidence-based paper involves reading and analyzing different manuscripts related to the topic. This is not always simple and can become cumbersome if not handled systematically. While Connected Papers is geared toward researchers and applied scientists, it can also be helpful for students who struggle with the literature review sections of their dissertations, master’s thesis, and other research proposals and manuscripts.

How does Connected Papers work?

Connected Papers uses an algorithm to create graphs of related papers. The process works by:

  • Analyzing over 50,000 papers and ordering them according to their connection with the seed paper (or original paper)
  • Papers are then classified and arranged based on similarity, which is based on co-citation and bibliography interdependence. This helps to ensure that papers that do not cite each other can still be connected.
  • A force-directed graph is created to group related papers so that closely associated papers cluster together and are near the origin paper; less related articles appear further from the seed paper.
  • The related papers are then highlighted in circles through the node selection feature. Clicking each node provides an abstract about each article. The size and color of the node are also symbolic, as the size represents the number of citations, and lighter colors signal older papers. The lines that connect articles are also stronger when papers are similar.

Using Connected Papers

To use Connected Papers, you will need to follow these steps:

  • Create an account by registering on the platform.
  • Input the paper DOI, URL, or title in the search bar.
  • Select the “build the graph” button, and choose which nodes to visualize on the left pane. Related papers will appear closer to each other.

Is Connected Papers helpful?

Connected Papers is valuable as it offers a visual overview of a subject and its relation to other topics. In general, Connected Papers provides the following benefits to users:

  • Includes many relevant papers to your topic, ensuring that you do not miss referencing important articles
  • Creates a visual summary of the state of academic knowledge around a particular topic
  • Since you can explore papers in a bi-directional manner, you discover older and more recent articles
  • Relies on the Semantic Scholar Paper Corpus, which contains millions of papers from diverse fields
  • Helps users create a bibliography, which is a necessary addition for any academic publication

Alternatives to Connected Papers

To find papers for your literature review, you may consider starting with the following sites or others recommended by your university or institution. Although Connected Papers serves an entirely different purpose, to begin your literature review, you’ll still need to start retrieving papers from popular databases like the ones listed below:

  1. SemanticScholar
  2. ResearchGate
  3. Scopus
  4. Google Scholar
  5. Web of Science
  6. Embase
  7. arXiv.org

However, it is important to note that these sites are limited when compared to Connected Papers. True alternatives to Connected Papers include:

I have not tried any of these alternatives, but they each have the potential to generate graphs.


Connected Papers will not take away the work that users have to do to write about and understand the visualized connections. By highlighting the relation between papers and presenting it as a force-directed graph, Connected Papers is an excellent addition to writing your literature review.

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Write your next paper with Scite.ai

I discovered scite while conducting the literature review section of a research proposal. I was looking for a way to distill the information I was retrieving and was open to trying out different tools.

Eventually, I landed on Scite, Research Rabbit, and Connected Papers and decided to try all three since they appeared to complement each other. This article describes scite and how it can be useful for students and others involved in research.

What is scite?

Scite is a tool that can help students discover and understand the papers that they come across when conducting their literature reviews. It uses Smart Citations to display the context of citations–specifically denoting whether the source has been supported, disputed, or retracted.

Traditional citations are simply references between one publication to another. In the papers you write, you include these references to other articles. Smart Citations takes this process a step further by providing more context when the citation to a published manuscript is made.

The extracted citation is considered a Smart Citation. These citations include details about the cited papers, the actual text, and the location of the citation within the citing paper. A note about whether the citation is supporting, mentioning, or contrasting the key points of the cited article is also included.

How do I use scite?

To use scite:

  1. Create an account; log in
  2. Search for the article you are interested in using the search bar. This search goes through over one billion citation statements to determine the discourse around a topic
  3. Use the visualization field to identify how your article is related to other similar publications and what articles are saying about other papers they cite
  4. Retrieve the references you need for your research proposal
  5. Set up alerts to stay up to date on citations as they happen

You can access a sample publication report here

How is scite useful?

Scite is helpful for students, other academics, and journalists

Students working on their dissertations, term papers, thesis proposals, literature reviews, or other research papers or proposals should consider using scite for the following reasons:

  • It enables users to find suitable articles through its visualization platform
  • It saves users time as articles related to a topic and how they have been supported, mentioned, or contrasted in the literature, are available when you need them. Importantly, scites’ algorithm checks that users are citing a trusted source.

Researchers looking to build their subject matter knowledge and stay up to date on new publications in their field can also enjoy scite’s approach to engaging with the research literature. I also see how journalists and other content creators can use scite to validate their findings and curtail the spread of misinformation.

A note on browser extensions: Scite has extensions for Chrome and Firefox browsers, which helps users quickly initiate scite to see the classification of different papers.

A note on pricing: The tool is not entirely free to use. However, for most projects, users will be able to use the tool without a paid plan. Students and other academics can also access their educational pricing at 30%-50% off.

What are alternative sites to scite.ai?

Some may see traditional reference managers, like Mendeley, EasyBib.com, Zotero, EndNote, and ReadCube papers, as scite alternatives. However, the Citation statements that scite offers are unique and currently not available when using other platforms.


Scite allows users to find the most relevant scientific evidence for their projects. Scite is helpful for students and other researchers working on their dissertations, master’s thesis, and other research proposals and manuscripts. It is also valuable for journalists looking to grasp topics in an academic field quickly.

The app does not take away the work that users have to do when engaging with academic papers. While not having to read every article you come across can be immensely useful, understanding the author’s main argument(s) is essential to thoroughly engaging in scientific research.

By helping to classify research as providing supporting or disputing evidence, scite is an excellent addition to writing your next paper.

I am a scite.ai affiliate and this post is based solely on my experience with the app. If you purchase a scite plan with this link, I will earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.

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Write collaboratively with Strike

Today’s featured app is Strike. Strike is a simple application that makes your writing projects more manageable. Users can work alone or invite colleagues to write collaboratively.

The app has Markdown support and many other useful features that I’ll cover in this post.

Writing, editing, and formatting documents

  1. Markdown – Capture your notes and see them automatically. Strike has automatic Markdown preview, so users can see their formatted document as they write. Strike Markdown includes headings, ordered and unordered lists, checklists, links, code blocks, attachments, and other helpful formatting features
  2. Formatting – The formatting features are on the right side so users can easily select text editing tools
  3. Elements – Add MathJax formulas, tables, or a variety of chart types

Navigating documents

  1. Outlines – Generate outlines automatically
  2. Navigation – Use the side panel on the left side of the document to navigate long files easily Users can also identify and select headers or tags on the page from the left panel to navigate directly to that section of the document

Saving and exporting documents

  1. Files – Upload file attachments and export documents as PDFs
  2. Protection – Password protect your Strike documents, lock files, and use version control for file history
  3. Sync – Sync documents with iCloud so that it is available on all your Apple devices

Other useful features

  1. Themes – Select from different themes and colors
  2. Statistics – See document statistics

Write collaboratively

  1. Collaboration – Strike is useful when working with colleagues. Users can invite up to 10 people to collaborate on a document in real-time. The app may also be an alternative to Google Docs if you are looking for a simpler interface.

Strike is available on the iPhone, iPad, and Mac.

I tested the app through Setapp, a subscription service for Mac apps. Setapp has been one of my most significant investments to date and almost all of the apps on my computer are available through the app.

Try Setapp, and we will both get a free month.

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Top 5 Online Study Websites and Virtual Work Spaces

I recently discovered online study websites and virtual spaces, and I am impressed. I previously posted my desire to start a Writing/Work Accountability Group on reddit–it gained some traction, but not as much as I thought.

In a separate post, a reader suggested that I try study together discord servers, and that opened a whole new world for me. I had no idea virtual study websites or online work spaces existed. I was also clueless about aesthetic virtual spaces and opportunities to co-work with others online. This list contains some of the virtual solo and collaborative spaces I discovered in my search.


LifeAt is one of my favorite virtual spaces. You can explore hundreds of video spaces and build your own. The great thing about LifeAt is that it includes drag and drop productivity tools like Pomodoro timer, a Todo list, a sound board, and Spotify (you can link your Spotify account)! You can also track your daily productivity and see daily streaks.

One of the greatest features of LifeAt is its video chat. I have invited friends and colleagues to join my room to collaborate. You can also join the LifeAt discord server— though I am yet to check it out. Kudos to the team for building such an amazing virtual space for remote work.

Here’s my referral link to try it out. The link allows me to unlock premium features at no cost to you.

If you are looking for more affordable options, check out these lifeat alternatives. These sites are fairly similar to lifeat and offer many of the same features.


Bindr was another site I explored. The site allows you to join a study session with people anywhere in the world. In my experience, most users are focusing on their work, and are working with their mics off and cameras on. You can add group tasks, see other users tasks, set a timer, chat with session members, and video call. You can also access the public breakroom or session breakroom–though I am yet to use these functions. Bindr also allows users to keep track of the number of hours they’ve studied by the day and week.

Overall, Bindr may be more meaningful for advanced students if they create a private link and share it with colleagues and collaborators, especially those who may not want to work with strangers. However, I’ve logged in on a couple of occasions, and found the community to be safe.


Fiveable was a simple site. Unlike LifeAt and Bindr, it did not include a video call function (though, I hear this might be a future plan). However, users can use the chat feature and the group and personal timers. Each participants’ tasks list is visible to everyone on the session, which I believe helps with motivation and accountability.

Join the 24/7 MyStudentHq session on Fiveable and work with other motivated learners to accomplish your writing goals.

Learn more about the MyStudentHq online writing accountability group.

Study Together

StudyTogether claims to be the “largest global student community online.” Users select a room based on whether they are comfortable with their cameras on or off–in some rooms, cameras are mandatory. Some study sessions take place on Zoom, while others are live in the app. Users can also use their solo rooms to study. The general setup of solo rooms reminds me of the LifAt experience–though some things like ambient music and a Spotify connection are missing. It also appears to be a space just for the user. Video calls and chat features are both not available.

It does include a place to add session goals, which can be helpful to those looking to track progress. Users can also see their daily progress on their stats dashboard and the community leaderboard. The dashboard presents a gamified experience that will likely keep users committed to their work over time.


StudyStream is another site I discovered and the only one I am yet to try. It provides 24/7 virtual study rooms accessible by users worldwide. StudyStream Servers are available in three main categories: (1) pre-university students, (2) university students, (3) professionals. Users can see the number of people online and access the Study Stream community via Zoom or Discord.

Although I was excited to find study communities online, they are less likely to be as intimate as Writing/Work Accountability Group with people you know. However, I like that individual users can create private rooms and invite friends and colleagues on most of these sites. It seems like a great way to continue study or workgroups that were taking place in person before the COVID-19 pandemic moved most things online.

Checkout my virtual study Notion template for productive daily work

Get the template ($10.00 USD) here and reach out if you have questions about it.

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