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Published on March 11, 2021

7 Best Time Blocking Apps That Make Scheduling Easy

7 Best Time Blocking Apps That Make Scheduling Easy

Bill Gates and Elon Musk are just two people in a long list of the world’s most successful businessmen who have shared that they use time blocking management techniques to complete all of their commitments and accomplish complex tasks. If your schedule is also full of varied tasks, if your to-do list is so long that you have no idea where to start it, and if your mind is easily distracted, then time blocking is the solution for you. And with the help of time blocking apps, you’ll achieve your goals in no time.

What Is Time Blocking?

Time blocking is a time management technique designed to help you prioritize tasks, work on them more deeply, and gain control over your time with the help of a clear schedule plan. The main idea of this technique is to make the most of your day by scheduling every minute. All of your tasks, meetings, events, and activities need to be shown on your calendar in specific time blocks that you choose for each category.

The goal is to work on your task on the time block you scheduled in advance and finish it on that exact frame time. Keep in mind that it will probably take you some time to learn the difference between the time you think you need to schedule for tasks and the time you actually spend on them.

Time blocking will help you prioritize your tasks from different life categories, all under one calendar. Using this technique will also help you learn more about your work habits, improve them and get things done on time.

In a world where companies like Facebook, Twitter, Tiktok, news sites, and even software like WhatsApp are fighting for your time and focus, this technique will help you stop wasting your time and more wisely devote your attention at pre-set hours to work, creativity, social networks, leisure, workouts and more.

How to Use the Time Blocking Technique?

If time blocking is new to you, your first step should be writing down all your tasks that come to mind – both in work and personal life. Once you have done that, you will notice that some of the tasks have higher priorities than others. Mark the important tasks and those with a close deadline and approximate how much time you need to complete them.

The next step is defining your time blocks. It would help if you decided when to block time and for how long. For example, you probably want to block time in the morning hours for deep work and tasks that have a high priority. Still, if you concentrate better after lunch hours – maybe you would prefer to time block morning hours for personal tasks such as workouts and grocery shopping.

Defining how long you need to block time is up to you and your own ability to focus. Suppose you can focus for a long period of time. You can define a time block of 90 minutes. If that is too long for you, you can always reduce the length of the time block. Anyway, don’t forget you also need to schedule your break time!

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Start acting according to your new schedule, but track all of it in real-time so you will know if some of the time blocks are too short or too long for your tasks. If so, adjust your time blocks and schedule the tasks according to the real-time results.

So, now that you know what to do, here are some time blocking apps that will help get you started.

1. Clockwise

    Clockwise is a free app—a chrome extension—that will help you increase productivity by using a smart calendar assistant. Its main goal is to motivate users to maximize their focus and deep work hours. Using the autopilot clockwise will allow the app to optimize your schedule automatically. For example, you can rearrange meetings that you marked as flexible.

    Clockwise will even move around tasks on your calendar if it identifies a conflict in meetings. In other words, this calendar will work for you and help you make the most of your time. One of its slogans is “make your calendar work for you.”

    Check out Clockwise here.

    2. TimeBlocks

      TimeBlocks is another calendar app that allows you to organize your work and personal life while analyzing the time you spend doing all sorts of tasks. Using this app, you can plan your to-do list, events, and meetings, and modify them easily by dragging items on the calendar from one time zone to another.

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      This app uses color coding, which makes it much easier for you to see in a glance how you divide and use your time during the week. You can define group-related tasks, meetings, and events by color and view your calendar in pie charts.

      Check out TimeBlocks here.

      3. Clockify

        Clockify is a time tracking app that is great for those who want to use time blocking mainly for deep work hours. You can easily log your task, activities, notes, events, meetings, etc., and use its feature of a time tracker to start a timer and see exactly how much time you spend on your work.

        With this app, you can categorize blocks by the type of work and tasks, compare between the estimated time you thought you needed to perform the tasks to the time that was really required, view visual charts showing the use of time and money, invite your team to work with you on the app, and track the progress of team projects in real-time.

        Check out Clockify here.

        4. Skedpal

          Let AI do the hard work for you when using Skedpal. This app integrates with your existing calendar and allows you to add your tasks and to-do lists. Then, the app can schedule all of your tasks, meetings, and hour-work for you, according to your perforations of time frames, the time duration for each task, and your availability.

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          Don’t worry, you can always drag the calendar items to rearrange the tasks for your liking. You can also define time zones for specific work categories so that the app will schedule your tasks on those slots only instead of after work hours.

          Check out Skedpal here.

          5. Plan

            This app is made for simple and quick task scheduling. It focuses on straightforward planning on your to-do list and calendar, and the main purpose of the app is to help you save time.

            On its website, Plan promises to users that teams using this app save an average of 15 hours a week. So, instead of spending your time managing work, you actually work. The app integrates with your google or outlook calendar, and all you need to do is add tasks, prioritize them, and then drag and drop items onto your calendar.

            Check out Plan here.

            6. Timebloc

              Timebloc is another productivity app that lets you organize your events and tasks by customizing them with colors and tags. You can create daily routines that will integrate into your calendar, edit your time blocks, set reminders.

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              In the premium version, you can also learn more about yourself from the statistics of your calendar. The statistics will show you how many hours you have spent on different categories—work, study, leisure, etc.—so that you can review, change, and improve the time you dedicate to each category.

              Check out Timebloc here.

              7. Things

                Things is a task manager app with many great features. You can alternate between different calendars (personal, family, work, and more), create task categories, arrange groups of to-do lists, use a checklist, and track projects with pie charts. This app is a little less focused on the technique of time blocking but definitely goes hand in hand with it and will achieve the same goal—maximize your time and get things done.

                Check out Things here.

                There are many other time blocking and calendar management apps out there. Here are some that didn’t make the list but are still worth mentioning:

                • Todoist – A task management app that can also help you create and organize ultimate to-do lists by categorizing tasks, defining deadlines, using color-coded flags, and more. The projects can then be scheduled in time blocks.
                • Any.do – A task management app that can help you add and prioritize tasks in time blocks and automatically reschedule low priority tasks.
                • HourStack – A time blocking app that will show you how much time you spend on tasks comparing to your estimates. It includes integrations to all of the major tasks and collaboration systems.

                Summary

                Time blocking is a great technique to improve your time management. It forces you to think how much time a task would require from you and helps you commit to a time frame to do it. It’s a wonderful way to improve the likelihood of getting something done.

                Time blocking requires some self-discipline to actually do what you have committed to do, and this is where time blocking apps come in handy. But if you’re here reading this article, then it means that you already have that motivation in place.

                More Time Blocking and Productivity Apps

                Featured photo credit: Debby Hudson via unsplash.com

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                Yair Nativ

                Yair is an award-winning serial entrepreneur passionate about the opportunities that technology offers to improve people's lives.

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                Published on March 22, 2021

                7 Best Free Scheduling Apps That Make Scheduling Easier

                7 Best Free Scheduling Apps That Make Scheduling Easier

                A few years ago, I decided to open up my coaching programmes to the wider world. To achieve this, I would need to shift online and use tools such as Skype and FaceTime. (Zoom was in its infancy back then, and Microsoft Teams was still in development).

                One of the first problems I faced was how I was going to schedule my coaching appointments. I live on the east side of the world in North-East Asia, and most of my clients live in North America and Europe. I realized I would be working with up to seventeen hours time difference.

                To overcome this difficulty, I began searching for a scheduling service that would automate my calls.

                A scheduling service allows you to set the parameters for when a person can schedule an appointment with you. So, all I needed to do was set the times I would be available for a call or meeting, and the person who wanted to schedule a call with me could select a time from the times I made myself available through a link I shared with them. This avoided me having to email back and forth, trying to find a suitable time for both of us.

                Scheduling services have come a long way over the last few years, becoming quite a competitive market. One of the advantages of using such a service is that once a person has scheduled a meeting with you, most of these services will add the appointment to your calendar and send out reminders to all parties about the meeting.

                With many of us now working from home, the advantage of using a scheduling service is you can set up different time blocks in the day when people can arrange a meeting with you, and you can keep time in the day free of meetings, so you can embark on some quality deep work without worrying about being disturbed.

                As long as you share your scheduling link with your colleagues and clients, you can be safe knowing that your carefully planned out day will not be disturbed by people trying to find a mutually convenient time for you to have a meeting.

                Below I have listed out my top seven free scheduling services you can use to bring a lot more control to your day.

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                1. Square

                  Square is one of the most popular free services. Square is not just a scheduling service. You can run a business through this service, too as it allows you to take payments and keep track of your clients.

                  If you are a personal trainer, a coach, teacher, hairdresser or any other business that requires your customers and clients to schedule appointments with you, then Square is a great option to go with.

                  Square integrates with Google Calendar and has a mobile app for both iOS and Android to manage your appointments wherever you are.

                  2. Calendly

                    Possibly, the most popular scheduling service, Calendly integrates with almost all types of calendar; whether you are using Google Calendar, Outlook or Apple, Calendly will integrate with it. You can also embed Calendly right into your website.

                    More importantly, today, you can also integrate Zoom and Microsoft Teams with Calendly, so all you need do is click on the start meeting right from Zoom or Teams.

                    As with Square, this app is perfect for teachers, beauticians, personal trainers and any solopreneur as it allows you to set up your schedule, and your students and clients can pick a time and date that suits them.

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                    You can also set scheduling limits so you don’t get any surprises. For instance, you can set it up so that people cannot book an appointment with you less than a few hours before the time.

                    3. Bookafy

                    Bookafy is another free service that has a lot of power under the hood. You can schedule unlimited appointments and types. Appointment types could be the length of the appointment (30 mins, 60 mins etc.) or, if you are a beautician, the type of service being booked.

                    Bookafy’s website is beautiful, which is an important consideration for your own business branding. It is intuitive for your clients and makes the whole scheduling experience a joy.

                    You can make sure your customer or colleagues receive all the meeting login details when they schedule the call, and you can also accept payments from your clients through the Bookafy interface.

                    4. SimplyBook Me

                      SimplyBook Me is a free service where you can customise the add-ons you require. Most of the add-ons are paid services, but if you are searching for a simple, free appointment scheduling service, then SimplyBook me is certainly worth looking at.

                      There is a mobile app for managing your appointments. You can also integrate SimplyBook Me with your Facebook page or Instagram account so your customers and clients can schedule appointments through it.

                      Reminders are customisable, so you can set a reminder of an appointment for the time you want your clients to be reminded. Most services only offer a 24-hour reminder; with SimplyBook Me, you can set your reminder schedule.

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                      5. Picktime

                        Picktime is a relatively new service with many features. Its website is both desktop and mobile-friendly and is one of the easiest services for changing or cancelling appointments.

                        One of my favourite features of Picktime is you can limit the number of people signing up for a specific meeting. This is an excellent way to run a fitness or yoga class, so you do not get too many participants making your job as the instructor difficult.

                        Picktime is quite new to the scene, so all their services are free — now. So if you want a fully-featured and growing service, Picktime might be the scheduling service for you.

                        6. 10 TO 8

                        10 To 8 is a great scheduling service that guarantees that their free service will be free forever. You are limited to 100 appointments per month, but for a small business looking for a better way to manage meetings and appointments, then 10 TO 8 will do the job for you.

                        Like, Picktime, you can use 10 TO 8 to schedule classes, and you can set up recurring appointments if, for example, you run the same class each day or week at the same time.

                        Another benefit of using 10 TO 8 is you can set up your Stripe or PayPal accounts, so you can take payments when a customer schedules an appointment with you saving you the hassle of chasing payments.

                        7. Google Calendar

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                          Finally, a little known feature in Google Calendar is the ability to set up a calendar where your clients can schedule appointments. It is rather less automated than the services above, but it does work.

                          I used this service many years ago when I taught English. All I needed to do was set up the time blocks I was available and send the calendar link to my students. They then could pick and choose the times that would work for them.

                          There are no automated reminders; it would depend on whether your client or colleague has reminders set up on their calendars, but it works, and if you are looking for a service that will always be free and keeps you in control of your times, then Google Calendar will do the trick for you.

                          Bottom Line

                          You have a lot of choice with scheduling services today. Many are free and can be integrated into your website to retain control over your branding.

                          Scheduling services can take the pain out of scheduling appointments, and it also allows you to stay in control of your calendar. This is one of the best features of this service for me. I can get on with my work, safe knowing I will not be getting unexpected meeting invites or phone calls. I can refer people to my scheduling service and let that do all the hard work for me.

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                          Featured photo credit: Thom Bradley via unsplash.com

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