When your team is managing their time well, important work gets done on (or even ahead) of schedule, team members feel like they can rely on one another – and you can feel good about how your team spends their time.
On the flipside, poor time management on your team can lead to burnout, urgent work taking precedence over important work, teammates losing trust in each other – and you, as a manager, feeling constantly stressed about your team’s diminishing output.
Luckily, there’s no shortage of apps that have been developed to help all of us get better at managing our time at work, so we can refocus on higher-value work, like strategy and creative thinking.
What are time management apps?
Time management apps aim to improve the efficiency and productivity of an individual or team. These tend to be specialized to do one thing well – examples include calendar tools, note-taking apps, to-do list apps, task or project management apps, anti-distraction apps and time trackers, among others.
This means that, with virtually hundreds of tools to trawl through, it’s important to figure out exactly the type of time management apps that fit your needs the best. Here at Timely, we’ve done some research to help you narrow down all of the time management apps out there.
Benefits of time management apps
If you’re wondering how your team might benefit from using time management apps, here are a few examples.
- Move faster as a team: Tools dedicated to planning projects and allocating resources properly ensure that work stays on track and that deadlines are less likely to be missed.
- Understand where your team’s time goes: Time trackers, for example, offer valuable insights into how your team works and pinpoint potential time wasters.
- Cut down on distractions: There are a variety of time management apps dedicated to reducing procrastination. Being able to stay on task and in a state of flow is key to helping your team accomplish their best work on schedule.
- Automate admin tasks: Ensuring your team has as many low-impact, manual tasks taken off their hands as possible is one of the best ways to free them up to focus on what’s actually important to your business.
You’ll quickly notice our recommended time management apps fulfill a variety of purposes. So, to make it even easier to find the exact tools you need, we’ve divided them into core categories.
Pro tip: All of these tools can be applied alongside various time management techniques, including Getting Things Done, Pomodoro, Eat The Frog and more.
Calendar apps for time management
Calendar is a smart scheduling tool that aims to save you time sending endless back-and-forth emails or chats when coordinating meetings between larger groups, by finding a time and day that works for everyone. You can also use Calendar to plan out blocks of time for you to work on your most critical tasks.
Other options you can try include:
Distraction-prevention/focus apps for time management
RescueTime is a productivity reporting tool designed to help you track your time spent on specific websites and apps – all so you can honestly assess how you’re spending your time at work and get a better sense of what exactly distracts you from what you need to get done.
Whenever you really need to get focus work done, all you have to do is kickstart a Focus Session and RescueTime will do the hard work of blocking your biggest distractions for you. It’ll also alert you when you’re trying to tackle too many tasks in one go – one of the biggest obstacles to effective time management.
If the Pomodoro technique is your time management method of choice, then you’ll love FocusMe, a Pomodoro timer and website/app blocker in one. This one saves you the hassle of needing to rely on a manual timer or constantly checking the clock.
Finding time for deep focus at work is all about cutting on digital distractions. Happily, Freedom does the hard work of restricting the amount of time you spend on time-wasting websites for you – making it easier for you to do the type of work work that requires your full focus and attention. (In fact, the app claims that their users gain back an average of 2.5 hours of productive time each day – pretty impressive stuff!)
Two of Freedom’s standout features include advance scheduling, for planning out focused work sessions ahead of time, as well as the ability to enable Locked Mode so you’re not tempted to give into any distractions. Moreover, Freedom works across multiple platforms, including Mac, Windows, Android, iOs and Chrome.
Task/project management apps for time management
As evidenced by this list, there’s a whole host of tools you can use to help you on your time management journey. One of our top picks has got to be Todoist, a digital to-do list app that helps ensure you’re spending your time as intentionally as possible – and setting appropriate boundaries between your work and personal time.
Todoist helps you keep track of what you need to do over the course of your working day, as well as when exactly you’ll do it. By either adding a time or using labels, you can estimate how long each task will take, giving you full visibility into whether you’ve overcommitted and need to adjust deadlines accordingly. This way, you can better prioritize your day around your most important work and clarify what work can be deferred to a later date.
There are a variety of time management tools to help you ensure you’re always working on the right things each day – not least of which is Clickup, an all-in-one productivity tool designed to help you take back control of your tasks and projects, as well as your time at work.
Clickup comes with a whole slew of features to help you practice better time management across the team. For starters, managers can add start and due dates as well as time estimates to any task, and split time between team members, so everyone is on the same page on how long they’re expected to work on a project.
Clickup is also all about cutting down on the manual, repetitive tasks and processes that quickly eat up your time and keep your projects from moving forward – for example, if you change the due date for a task, Clickup will automatically adjust the dates of all subtasks for you. Pretty nifty, huh?
7. Remember The Milk
Often get that nagging feeling that you’ve forgotten to do something? Enter your new best friend: Remember The Milk (and no, it’s not a grocery list app!)
Remember The Milk was created to help people manage their time better by organizing their tasks and to-do lists. With the help of Smart Add, all you have to do is plug in all of your task details in a single line, including due date, priority, tags and more. Remember The Milk will then send you reminders in whatever format works best for you – whether it’s email, text or IM.
A project planning software with an inbuilt time-tracking tool, Proofhub comes with some really strong time management features.
These include the ability to set time estimates for tasks and subtasks, plus timesheets and automatic timers to track time spent on various tasks – all geared towards helping managers identify and resolve common time wasters on their team, as well as save on time spent overseeing and tracking progress on projects.
Asana is one of the world’s biggest task and project management platforms for teams. Similar to other project management tools, Asana helps everyone keep track of and organize priorities across the team, based around which tasks are most important or time sensitive.
With a helping hand from Asana, key project details are easy for you and your team to find. Rather than spending needless time trawling through emails and spreadsheets, your team can share files, comments and feedback in one location, making for a more streamlined workflow across the board. The tool also includes some great automation capabilities that can help the entire team save time by streamlining routine tasks, including a custom rule builder, custom project templates and work request forms.
Note-taking app for time management
Evernote is a note-taking app and daily organizer that’s designed to help you better manage your time, plan ahead and stay on top of your work tasks. Evernote’s biggest selling point is that it cuts down on you having to waste time switching between different sources of information.
In a single note, you can add everything related to a task or project, from text, images and audio, to PDFs and documents – all of which are then automatically saved and shared across all of your devices so you can quickly access them from anywhere. Their Tasks features organizes and presents your daily to-dos for you to check off when completed, and makes it easier to stay on top of all of your deadlines with priority flags, due dates and reminders – so you can be sure nothing falls through the cracks.
Time tracker app for time management
Timesheets are the bane of employees’ lives. No one can remember everything they did in minute detail, or find time to log their hours the same day. The result is a highly inaccurate list of “guesstimated” work, of little use to anyone.
In contrast, Timely automatically captures everything your team works on, creating accurate timesheets with little effort required on your part. No more inaccurate data, lost billable hours spent traveling or in meetings or wasting time on unproductive admin – everyone can return their focus to where it matters most.
Take control of your time with the right time management apps
There are a ton of great time management apps on the market to help you and your team manage your time more effectively. Just remember, you don’t necessarily need all of these at your team’s disposal. It’s not about how many time management apps you use – it’s about using the apps that work for your team.
It’s also important to determine whether the apps of your choice are compatible with your current tech stack – so don’t forget to look for integration options with other apps. By taking the time to evaluate each tool carefully, you’ll be well on your way to finding the right time management app (or apps!) to suit you and your team’s needs. Good luck!