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Last Updated on November 27, 2020

18 Best Time Management Apps and Tools (2020 Updated)

18 Best Time Management Apps and Tools (2020 Updated)

No one can dispute the countless benefits technology has brought us. Undoubtedly, it has allowed us to connect, perform, improve, and leverage our resources beyond what was once imaginable.

If you’re not taking advantage of some of the hundreds of time management apps and tools out there, you’re definitely missing a trick.

But with so many apps to choose from, how do you know which ones to use?

Well, this will depend on your needs. That’s why we’ve put together a list of 18 of the best time management apps that can help you with the most common challenges of managing time.

Let’s dive straight into the list.

1. Rescue Time – Use Your Time Wisely

    If you have doubts if you are using your time sensibly, this app will send you weekly reports to indicate what things are stealing your time. Aside from its automatic time-tracking feature, this app also has distraction blocking and efficient report tools.

    RescueTime helps you avoid being overwhelmed by too many tasks. This app also has a team software that’s dedicated to time management among team members. With this app, you may be shocked to discover how much time you’re actually wasting.

    Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

    2. Remember The Milk – Keep on Top of All Your Tasks

      If you’re struggling to manage everything you have to do, and you work with many different devices, then this is the app for you. It’s a great free tool that is compatible with your mobile, computer, Gmail, Outlook, etc., and it allows you to sync all your devices for easier time management.

      This app will help you to manage your tasks easily and reminds you of them – wherever you are. You can share tasks and lists with others, making it a great tool for teams as well.

      Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

      3. Focus Keeper – Boost Motivation to Complete Tasks

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        This app is based on the principles of the Pomodoro Technique, and it is aimed at individuals who procrastinate and feel overwhelmed by tasks. It has a simple, efficient user interface that is easily customizable based on your needs.

        Focus Keeper is designed to enhance your focus and remove any anxiety you might have with time pressures. This is a great app to use if you want to prevent yourself and your team from being burned out.

        Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

        4. Toggl – Keep Track of Time Spent on Projects and Tasks

          Effective time management starts with being clear on exactly how much time you actually spend on your projects and tasks and through analysis – working out how you can manage them more effectively. Toggl allows you to do all this even with its simple design.

          Toggl includes great time-saving features integrated with its intuitive interface. This is a great alternative to time-sheets if you need to track how much time you spend on different projects.

          Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

          5. Dropbox – Store and Send Large Files Easily

            There are many apps that allow you to transfer content from your computer to other devices, but Dropbox is free and it is easier to use than the others. With the Dropbox app, you can even access and share important files on the go. It is an easy way to share your files and documents with others for improved productivity.

            Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

            6. Evernote – Keep All Your Notes in One Place

              Evernote is a free productivity tool that allows you to capture all your ideas, thoughts, and images in many different ways (e.g., with voice, notes, or images). You can even record your meetings, interviews, speeches, and ideas, create lists, add voice or text attachments, and share your files with friends. You can also sync Remember The Milk with Evernote to better optimize your time.

              Available iOS, Android, and Desktop

              7. MindNode — Focus on Tasks at Hand With Mind Mapping

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                Mind mapping is a great productivity technique, and Mindnode is one of the best free mind mapping apps available. It helps you to become more organized by focusing your thoughts – thereby gaining clarity on what needs to be done.

                This app allows you to customize various visual tags and templates to suit your needs. You can also easily share your documents with others.

                Available on iOS and Desktop

                8. GoodSync – Back Up and Sync Your Files Effortlessly

                  This software allows you to back up, restore, and synchronize your files easily. It supports folders from a variety of locations, and it has filtering options that let you exclude subfolders from synchronizing.

                  This app also allows you to sync files to and from your phone. If you have never backed up your files before, you should definitely take a look at this tool.

                  Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

                  9. MyLifeOrganized (MLO) – Manage Your To-Do Lists Effectively

                    Check this out if you find it difficult to manage all your tasks, work with your to-do lists, and organize your goals. This task management software helps you target what you should be focusing on to reach your objectives.

                    MyLifeOrganized is one of the best task management apps for focused work. It automatically generates to-do lists with priority actions for your immediate attention so that you can track your progress methodically.

                    Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

                    10. 1Password – Have All Your Passwords Remembered

                      1Password allows you to keep all your passwords in one encrypted database – protected by one password. This saves you time when you forget your passwords and need to retrieve them. This also allows you to use various passwords for different accounts so you don’t compromise on security.

                      Available iOS, Android, and Desktop

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                      11. Pocket – Keep Your Eye on the Ball

                        When you’re surfing the web, it’s easy to get distracted by enticing and fascinating websites. That’s why you need effective time management apps like Pocket. You can use this tool to save your ‘finds’ to access and read later on at a convenient time. This prevents you from getting distracted and negatively impacting your immediate work.

                        Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

                        12. Focus@Will – Boost Your Attention Span

                          This amazing app combines neuroscience and music to boost your productivity. According to the developers, it’s possible to increase your attention span by up to 400% using Focus@Will, making this one of the best time management apps available.

                          Focus@will is ideal for those who find it difficult to focus while studying, working, or reading. It also helps you control your ADD.

                          Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

                          13. Alfred – Interact With Your Computer in a Smart Way

                            This small and simple tool allows you to launch your documents, project files, folders, and bookmarks with just a few keystrokes. This makes life so much easier as you don’t need to go through the start menu to access what you want. The only downside is that it’s only available for macOS.

                            Available on desktop (macOS)

                            14. Forest – Boost Your Focus by Growing a Forest

                              Forest is a unique reinvention of time management apps. This unique and fun app helps you stay focused and on-track by making you focus on another thing.

                              The concept is simple: whenever you want to focus, plant a virtual tree. If you stay focused, the tree will grow. If you lose focus, the tree will die. As the app’s name implies, you can grow multiple trees to create a virtual forest!

                              Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop (Firefox Add-on)

                              15. Trello – Track Your projects in a highly visual way

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                                Trello is a hugely popular app that you may already be familiar with. It works by allowing you to create cards for tasks that you need to complete. Each card moves across the Trello board, which is typically broken into columns such as To Do, In Progress, and Completed. This serves as your cue to start working on and completing the associated tasks.

                                Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

                                16. Quire – Unfold Your Ideas

                                  Quire is an innovative time management app that helps boost your team’s productivity. The strength of this app lies in its features for collaboration and ease of sharing. You can streamline and adjust your workflow based on your team’s needs and preferences.

                                  Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

                                  17. TimeTree – Have a Shared Calendar With Your Family

                                    This TimeTree app allows families or teams to share multiple calendars and appointments with each other. So, whether you’re planning a party or running a local sports team, Time Tree can keep everyone up-to-date with all current and upcoming activities and events.

                                    Available on iOS and Android

                                    18. Todoist – Capture and Order All Your Tasks and Activities Easily

                                      Todoist is close to being the ultimate digital to-do list and one of the best time management apps out there. It’s available via browser and app, and it lets you schedule all your tasks and activities. Each item can be flagged for priority as well as a given due date. There is also a neat option to add notes to any of your tasks.

                                      Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

                                      Final Thoughts

                                      The above list covers what we consider to be the very best time management apps and tools available. And the good news is that many of them are completely free of charge!

                                      So, what are you waiting for? Select the ones that will be the most valuable to you, and begin boosting your productivity now!

                                      More Productivity and Time Management Apps

                                      Featured photo credit: freestocks via unsplash.com

                                      More by this author

                                      Kirstin O´Donovan

                                      Certified Life and Productivity Coach, Founder and CEO of TopResultsCoaching

                                      How to Be More Productive: 4 Tiny Tweaks to Make 10 Negative Thoughts We All Have and What to Think Instead 18 Best Time Management Apps and Tools (2020 Updated) 8 Dreadful Effects of Procrastination That Can Destroy Your Life How To Break the Procrastination Cycle

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                                      Last Updated on January 6, 2021

                                      14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress

                                      14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress

                                      Everyone has heard the term productivity, and people talk about it in terms of how high it is and how to improve it. But fewer know how to measure productivity, or even what exactly we are talking about when using the term “productivity.”

                                      In its simplest form, the productivity formula looks like this: Output ÷ Input = Productivity.

                                      For example, you have two salespeople each making 10 calls to customers per week. The first one averages 2 sales per week and the second one averages 3 sales per week. By plugging in the numbers we get the following productivity levels for each sales person.

                                      For salesperson one, the output is 2 sales and the input is 10 sales: 2 ÷ 10 = .2 or 20% productivity. For salesperson two, the output is 3 sales and the input is 10 sales: 3 ÷ 10 = .3 or 30% productivity.

                                      Knowing how to measure and interpret productivity is an invaluable asset for any manager or business owner in today’s world. As an example, in the above scenario, salesperson #1 is clearly not doing as well as salesperson #2.

                                      Knowing this information we can now better determine what course of action to take with salesperson #1.

                                      Some possible outcomes might be to require more in-house training for that salesperson, or to have them accompany the more productive salesperson to learn a better technique. It might be that salesperson #1 just isn’t suited for sales and would do a better job in a different position.

                                      How to Measure Productivity With Management Techniques

                                      Knowing how to measure productivity allows you to fine tune your business by minimizing costs and maximizing profits:

                                      1. Identify Long and Short-Term Goals

                                      Having a good understanding of what you (or your company’s) goals are is key to measuring productivity.

                                      For example, if your company’s goal is to maximize market share, you’ll want to measure your team’s productivity by their ability to acquire new customers, not necessarily on actual sales made.

                                      2. Break Down Goals Into Smaller Weekly Objectives

                                      Your long-term goal might be to get 1,000 new customers in a year. That’s going to be 20 new customers per week. If you have 5 people on your team, then each one needs to bring in 4 new customers per week.

                                      Now that you’ve broken it down, you can track each person’s productivity week-by-week just by plugging in the numbers:

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                                      Productivity = number of new customers ÷ number of sales calls made

                                      3. Create a System

                                      Have you ever noticed that whenever you walk into a McDonald’s, the French fry machine is always to your left? 

                                      This is because McDonald’s created a system. They have determined that the most efficient way to set up a kitchen is to always have the French fry machine on the left when you walk in.

                                      You can do the same thing and just adapt it to your business.

                                      Let’s say that you know that your most productive salespeople are making the most sales between the hours of 3 and 7 pm. If the other salespeople are working from 9 am to 4 pm, you can potentially increase productivity through something as simple as adjusting the workday.

                                      Knowing how to measure productivity allows you to set up, monitor, and fine tune systems to maximize output.

                                      4. Evaluate, Evaluate, Evaluate!

                                      We’ve already touched on using these productivity numbers to evaluate and monitor your employees, but don’t forget to evaluate yourself using these same measurements.

                                      If you have set up a system to track and measure employees’ performance, but you’re still not meeting goals, it may be time to look at your management style. After all, your management is a big part of the input side of our equation.

                                      Are you more of a carrot or a stick type of manager? Maybe you can try being more of the opposite type to see if that changes productivity. Are you managing your employees as a group? Perhaps taking a more one-on-one approach would be a better way to utilize each individual’s strengths and weaknesses.

                                      Just remember that you and your management style contribute directly to your employees’ productivity.

                                      5. Use a Ratings Scale

                                      Having clear and concise objectives for individual employees is a crucial part of any attempt to increase workplace productivity. Once you have set the goals or objectives, it’s important that your employees are given regular feedback regarding their progress.

                                      Using a ratings scale is a good way to provide a standardized visual representation of progress. Using a scale of 1-5 or 1-10 is a good way to give clear and concise feedback on an individual basis.

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                                      It’s also a good way to track long-term progress and growth in areas that need improvement.

                                      6. Hire “Mystery Shoppers”

                                      This is especially helpful in retail operations where customer service is critical. A mystery shopper can give feedback based on what a typical customer is likely to experience.

                                      You can hire your own shopper, or there are firms that will provide them for you. No matter which route you choose, it’s important that the mystery shoppers have a standardized checklist for their evaluation.

                                      You can request evaluations for your employees friendliness, how long it took to greet the shopper, employees’ knowledge of the products or services, and just about anything else that’s important to a retail operation.

                                      7. Offer Feedback Forms

                                      Using a feedback form is a great way to get direct input from existing customers. There are just a couple of things to keep in mind when using feedback forms.

                                      First, keep the form short, 2-3 questions max with a space for any additional comments. Asking people to fill out a long form with lots of questions will significantly reduce the amount of information you receive.

                                      Secondly, be aware that customers are much more likely to submit feedback forms when they are unhappy or have a complaint than when they are satisfied.

                                      You can offset this tendency by asking everyone to take the survey at the end of their interaction. This will increase compliance and give you a broader range of customer experiences, which will help as you’re learning how to measure productivity.

                                      8. Track Cost Effectiveness

                                      This is a great metric to have, especially if your employees have some discretion over their budgets. You can track how much each person spends and how they spend it against their productivity.

                                      Again, this one is easy to plug into the equation: Productivity = amount of money brought in ÷ amount of money spent.

                                      Having this information is very useful in forecasting expenses and estimating budgets.

                                      9. Use Self-Evaluations

                                      Asking your staff to do self evaluations can be a win-win for everyone. Studies have shown that when employees feel that they are involved and their input is taken seriously, morale improves. And as we all know, high employee morale translates into higher productivity.

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                                      Using self-evaluations is also a good way to make sure that the employees and employers goals are in alignment.

                                      10. Monitor Time Management

                                      This is the number one killer of productivity in the workplace. Time spent browsing the internet, playing games, checking email, and making personal calls all contribute to lower productivity[1].

                                      Time Management Tips to Improve Productivity

                                        The trick is to limit these activities without becoming overbearing and affecting morale. Studies have shown that most people will adhere to rules that they feel are fair and applied to everyone equally.

                                        While ideally, we may think that none of these activities should be done on company time, employees will almost certainly have a different opinion. From a productivity standpoint, it is best to have policies and rules that are seen as fair to both sides as you’re learning how to measure productivity.

                                        11. Analyze New Customer Acquisition

                                        We’ve all heard the phrase that “It’s more expensive to get a new customer than it is to keep an existing one.” And while that is very true, in order for your business to keep growing, you will need to continually add new customers.

                                        Knowing how to measure productivity via new customer acquisition will make sure that your marketing dollars are being spent in the most efficient way possible. This is another metric that’s easy to plug into the formula: Productivity = number of new customers ÷ amount of money spent to acquire those customers.

                                        For example, if you run any kind of advertising campaign, you can compare results and base your future spending accordingly.

                                        Let’s say that your total advertising budget is $3,000. You put $2,000 into television ads, $700 into radio ads, and $300 into print ads. When you track the results, you find that your television ad produced 50 new customers, your radio ad produced 15 new customers, and your print ad produced 9 new customers.

                                        Let’s plug those numbers into our equation. Television produced 50 new customers at a cost of $2,000 (50 ÷ 2000 = .025, or a productivity rate of 2.5%). The radio ads produced 15 new customers and cost $700 (15 ÷ 700 = .022, or a 2.2% productivity rate). Print ads brought in 9 new customers and cost $300 (9 ÷ 300 = .03, or a 3% return on productivity).

                                        From this analysis, it is clear that you would be getting the biggest bang for your advertising dollar using print ads.

                                        12. Utilize Peer Feedback

                                        This is especially useful when people who work in teams or groups. While self-assessments can be very useful, the average person is notoriously bad at assessing their own abilities.

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                                        Just ask a room full of people how many consider themselves to be an above average driver and you’ll see 70% of the hands go up[2]! Now we clearly know that in reality about 25% of drivers are below average, 25% are above average, and 50% are average.

                                        Are all these people lying? No, they just don’t have an accurate assessment of their own abilities.

                                        It’s the same in the workplace. Using peer feedback will often provide a more accurate assessment of a person’s ability than a self-assessment would.

                                        13. Encourage Innovation and Don’t Penalize Failure

                                        When it comes to productivity, encouraging employee input and adopting their ideas can be a great way to boost productivity. Just make sure that any changes you adopt translate into higher productivity.

                                        Let’s say that someone comes to you requesting an entertainment budget so that they can take potential customers golfing or out to dinner. By utilizing simple productivity metrics, you can easily produce a cost benefit analysis and either expand the program to the rest of the sales team, or terminate it completely.

                                        Either way, you have gained valuable knowledge and boosted morale by including employees in the decision-making process.

                                        14. Use an External Evaluator

                                        Using an external evaluator is the pinnacle of objective evaluations. Firms that provide professional evaluations use highly trained personnel that even specialize in specific industries.

                                        They will design a complete analysis of your business’ productivity level. In their final report, they will offer suggestions and recommendations on how to improve productivity.

                                        While the benefits of a professional evaluation are many, their costs make them prohibitive for most businesses.

                                        Final Thoughts

                                        These are just a few of the things you can do when learning how to measure productivity. Some may work for your particular situation, and some may not.

                                        The most important thing to remember when deciding how to track productivity is to choose a method consistent with your goals. Once you’ve decided on that, it’s just a matter of continuously monitoring your progress, making minor adjustments, and analyzing the results of those adjustments.

                                        The business world is changing fast, and having the right tools to track and monitor your productivity can give you the edge over your competition.

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                                        Featured photo credit: William Iven via unsplash.com

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