management | 6 mins read

What to Look for in Time Management Apps & Tools

what to look for in time management apps tools
Michelle Jaco

By Michelle Jaco

Time management apps can be found all over the web, and in app stores. But which one is best is yet to be determined by you.

Some people like to have one specific feature that might be present in only one app. Other people will choose an app with fewer features because it's visually appealing to them. Some people might even choose to use sticky notes instead of apps.

It's all subjective.

With all that said, for most people, digital will be the way to go.

If you're one of those paper-lovers, be aware that managing your time is much harder to do on paper. It's usually the small time-periods like five-minute increments we fail to properly manage which most people won't even bother writing on paper.

To properly manage your time, you'll need to manage both your personal and work life. One of the oldest questions is whether you should have your personal and work calendar lists together or separate.

This decision mostly falls on you, although some apps might provide an easy way to separate your work and personal obligations.

Questions to Keep in Mind

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Most time management apps will probably do the job for you but you need to find the perfect one for you.

Keep in mind that you might have to pay for your app, so choosing the wrong app means that you might have to buy a new one at a later time.

To prevent that, you have to consider what you need from an app. Write down all the features you expect from an app on paper if needed.

Here are some questions you can ask

Does the app work on multiple operating systems?

  • This can be devastating if you're switching from Android to IOS and your app isn't available on your new phone. You'd need to manually re-enter all your data.
Does it provide enough value to justify the cost?
  • The app you want to use might not be free. But they can have different kinds of costs as well, such as the time to add information some apps might have this automated.
Are you comfortable with your privacy being violated?
  • Apps that are easier to use sometimes utilize features that might violate your privacy such as tracking your location, and syncing with your contacts.
How good is it at what you need it to do?
  • Some apps require more effort to use, and some apps require you to spend more time adding information, and some apps might be missing some features you desperately need.

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Organization Should be a Priority

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Time management is about more than just writing tasks in a calendar application. Simply organizing your team's files in a reliable and easily-accessible place can save you a lot of time.

Imagine if you could peacefully open a folder and immediately find the file you need. Instead, what most people do is scroll through emails in a hectic attempt to find that one file, which is of unknown date and origin.

File Sharing
Sharing files through email is troublesome, to say the least.

Having a collection point for all the necessary files and folders your team needs will save you hours every week.

An application such as Google Drive or Dropbox will make all the necessary files available, even to people who aren't there, like the company's accountant.

Backup Files
As good as it is to have a central collection point for all of the team's files, it's not always enough. Sometimes, team members can accidentally delete files that are of high importance, or something could happen with your app which results in you losing all your files.

The best way to protect your team's files is to have them backed up in a safe place. You can perform this backup once per day or once per week, depending on your needs.

An application like Backblaze offers you the flexibility to back up all the data from all of the designated computers. Or you could choose to do this manually using an external hard disk or local server.

Inbox Sorting
Most email applications, and especially business-focused ones allow you to set inbox rules or filters. These filters allow you to determine which emails go to which folders. For example, an email from the distributors could go to a separate folder called Inventory Management.

Increase in Productivity is a Must

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A plethora of time management apps exists to help you become more productive.

Being more productive means you finish tasks quickly and have more time left to work on other, possibly more important tasks.

Calendar Apps
Calendar apps are great for creating to-do lists. But what's important is that they show you an overview of your daily tasks for a period of days, weeks, months, or even years.

One of the more important this to look for in a calendar app is cross-platform compatibility. It's best if your calendar app works on both mobile and desktop devices, and also syncs through a cloud-based system.

Google Calendars is a good fit in this scenario, it works on both Android and IOS, but also on the web. And, as a bonus, you can share a calendar with your team, so you can all see who's working on which tasks.

Use Reminders and Timers
The best way to monitor your time-consumption is to set alarms and reminders for when to begin working on a certain task.

You should look for an app that lets you create a period for working on a specific task and when that period is over it reminds you to move on to the next task.

Reminders and timers don't require you to download a special app. Most calendar and to-do list apps will come with these. Even better, your smartphone or even your wristwatch might have these features.

Create To-Do Lists
Sometimes you need a bit more than a calendar. To-do list applications should provide a lot more features such as four-level task lists, task sharing, and much more productivity tracking.

Some can also provide location-based reminders for a task where logistics are a factor in completing the work on time. One example of this can be food deliveries or offsite catering events.

Use Software to Improve Focus
Sometimes it's hard to stay focused social networks, video sharing sites, forums, blogs they all seem to steal you away from the task at hand.

But software can improve your focus.

For example, the Chrome add-on Disable Facebook Timeline can disable the Facebook timeline, so you're less likely to surf Facebook while you should be working.

But there are more nuclear options on the table like StayFocusd. It can block you from accessing all sites, or only allow you to access websites on an approved list.

Schedule Activities in Advance
Some applications allow you to schedule activities before they need to be executed.

For example, you can schedule your antivirus to run Wednesday of every week, at 11 AM, when everyone is taking a break.

Most programs provide scheduling options or automation features to help assist in planning activities in advance.

Closing Notes

Successful time management is very rewarding, but it's a hard habit to create. It takes a lot of hard-earned discipline to create a task list and abide by it. But once you start doing it, you'll never go back.

There are many time management apps that will increase efficiency and make you more productive.

The best way to go about time management is to use a single app for everything you need. That way you don't need to juggle between apps or manage your personal and work life with different applications.

It will be effortless to create a time-managing habit if you make the process as easy as possible, while also making sure to adapt it to your needs.

Online employee scheduling software that makes shift planning effortless.
Try it free for 14 days.

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