What Are The Best Time Management Tools?

Review of sixty top time management apps and software by category

1. Meetings and Video Chat Apps

Video chat apps leverage technology to enable you to organise and run virtual meetings. It will save you time by eliminating the need to travel unnecessarily. Video adds an important layer of functionality, because it’s easier to communicate when you can see and interpret other peoples’ body language or facial expressions.

Google Hangouts

Skype

Skype is a service with many users (over 300 million). Skype is free and is more or less equivalent to Google Hangouts. It’s easy to set up and you can use if for messaging, for voice calls, screen sharing and video conferencing calls.

Join.Me

Join.Me is a video conferencing and screen sharing app that is well designed and easy to use.

Join.Me Prices

2. Team Chat Apps

Once upon a time, teams used email to communicate with each other whenever they could not do so in person.

Slack

Slack is a very popular platform which you can run on any device or platform.
It has a massive and very enthusiastic user base and many organisations, large and small use it to improve communication.

It costs £6.67/user/month for the Standard version

Zoom

HipChat aims itself squarely at the business world, emphasising security and enterprise capability.

There is a free version of Zoom, but you pay more for additional functionality

Workplace by Facebook

Workplace is free for registered charities and educational providers.
It works like a joint Facebook account for everyone involved in a project. So if you’ve got a small business, everyone can be a member. Likewise, teams or departments could do the same.

Workplace Pricing: Free for registered non-profits and staff of educational establishments

3. Team Project Management Apps

If you run teams and deliver projects, you’ll know how challenging it can be to keep an overview and ensure everyone is up to date. Team project management makes all of this easier to do and so save you time and effort.

Taskworld

Taskworld is feature rich software, and offers visual task boards (Kanban), the ability to update a task into multiple projects, set repeating tasks, copy and paste from a variety of popular apps such as Evernote, Word or Google Documents, and time tracking so you can see how long tasks are taking to complete.

Taskworld Prices

Basecamp

Basecamp organizes your communication, projects, and client work together so you can establish one version of the truth.

Basecamp price comparison: it can replace other subscriptions

Asana

Asana is a simpler and in some ways less comprehensive project management tool for teams. It is a web-based app, which enables teams to ‘see’ the projects which are being undertaken and contribute as tasks are completed, adjusted or initiated.

Asana has a free basic plan

4. Task Manager Apps

Keeping on top of projects and the tasks within them is massively important for making the best and most efficient use of your time. And there are hundreds of tools you can use.

OmniFocus

OmniFocus is powerful but also easy to use and has a beautiful user interface. It’s an Apple only product however, which is of no use if you’re inside the PC universe.

Todoist

Todosit is another time management app that has been around for a long time. It works across all platforms and has an active an engaged user base.

Any.do

Any.do is another cross-platform app, which has a simple user interface. It’s USP is that it offers a stripped down, simple user interface which it claims means that its users are more inclined to stay with it.

Any.do price is $5.99/month bought annually

Trello

Trello looks different to the other To-do apps in this summary. That’s because it uses ‘boards’, what the Japanese call Kanban to organise projects.

Things

Things recently underwent a much-needed facelift and is the to-do manager recommended by the Sweet Setup.

Things is Apple only

Remember The Milk

Aside from the fun sounding name, Remember the Milk (RtM) is a web-based to-do and productivity application. You can be access RtM on any platform thanks to the fact that it is web-based.

RtM is web based. This may suit your needs, or you may prefer a native app.

Wunderlist

Wunderlist was a conventional to-do manager, which had little that stood out from the competition. Microsoft has now bought it and it looks as thought the Wunderlist team are now working on Microsoft’s task manager which is called To Do.

Microsoft now owns Wunderlist

5. File Sharing Apps

Managing tasks are not the only capabilities that time management apps and software have. Moving large documents around with no need to email them constantly (not recommended) is a huge efficiency gain.

Dropbox

Dropbox is a long-standing workhorse in this space. I used this service for years but I’ve recently moved away from it for three reasons.

Google Drive

Google Drive is a useful suite of integrated tools which support collaboration and file-sharing.

Sync

Sync’s emphasis is on privacy and security and is now my preferred long-term storage service. It works like Dropbox, but I prefer its user-interface and additional security controls.

Sync offers end-to-end encryption and a guarantee there’s no third party tracking

MegaSync

MegaSync is another example of a privacy and security focused application. They are based in New Zealand which has strict privacy laws.

6. Social Media Management

Many of us now have multiple in-boxes, comprising the many feeds of information which flow through our social media channels. This can be a big time killer, so it makes sense to make use of apps which can help to manage this effectively.

Tweetdeck

To be honest, I’ve tried this app and others like it, but I keep returning to the native Twitter app which does everything I need it to. Tweetdeck has a lot of fans, so it might suit you.

Hootsuite

Hootsuite is an app which I’ve used in the past. It is easy to set up, you just give it permission to manage your various social media accounts and you can then manage them all from a single dashboard.

Buffer

Buffer is like Hootsuite, but has more emphasis on scheduling.

Buffer base their pricing on the number of accounts and the number of scheduled posts you need

Social Bee

I now use Social Bee to manage my social media accounts. I found it via an App Sumo offer.

Social Bee’s on-boarding process is excellent

Sprout Social

Sprout Social is a slick tool that feels like a more powerful form of Hootsuite.

Prices start at $99/month

7. Email Management

Managing your emails successfully is one key to mastering your time management. There’s nothing like email to torpedo your ability to focus.

Yesware

Yesware is a service I discovered for the first researching this post.

Video explaining how Yesware templates integrates with Gmail

Boomerang for Gmail

Boomerang is a piece of code you can add to Gmail which allows you to delay sending an email.

SaneBox

SaneBox watches your inbox and intelligently sorts your incoming emails into a folders which you’ve set up. If it gets it wrong, you can teach it better habits by training it through moving an email from the incorrect folder to the one you want.

SaneBox works with any email client
SaneBox prices start at $24/year

MailButler

MailButler is an add-on to Apple Mail which provides some new email super-powers. These include send later, undo send, attachment upload and one click unsubscribe.

MailButler is an addon to Apple Mail

Automatic Reminders For Gmail

Many people use Gmail. I don’t because I dislike Google’s personal data collection practices. However, if you use Gmail, you can set up automatic reminders to help increase functionality.

8. Distraction Managers

No account of time management software would be complete without some discussion of anti-distraction tools. You can use such apps to limit access to time sinks such as Facebook or to make your environment less distracting.

Focus@Will

I’m a lifetime member of Focus@Will, which delivers scientifically calibrated music and sounds that are engineered to help you focus and concentrate.

Focus@Will serves up music scientifically designed to help you concentrate

RescueTime

RescueTime helps if you’re serious about managing your time more effectively, because it allows you to get a sense of what you’re spending your time doing.

RescueTime is free, with additional functionality available starting at $6/month

Focus Booster

FocusBooster is a timer which you can set to encourage concentration for fixed periods. Apps like this are often called Pomodoro timers because the original tomato-shaped timer was the inspiration for a school of thinking which links increased productivity to short bursts of focused work.

Focus Booster is an example of a Pomodoro timer
Subscriptions start at $2.99/month

FocusWriter

FocusWriter is one of a number of apps which strip back your writing space to the bare minimum.

OmniWriter

OmniWriter takes things one step further. Besides a Zen writing environment, you can also have music tuned to make concentration easier playing as you work.

Beautiful app, beautiful price

Cold Turkey

Cold Turkey is an app you can use temporarily to block access to certain apps. If your willpower isn’t up to resisting glancing at your Facebook or Twitter feed, this could really help you.

Cold Turkey also offer a distraction free text editor

Rainy Mood

Rainy Mood helps block out distraction noises by playing you the sound of rain. Weirdly soothing and highly effective.

Noizio

I found Noizio through my subscription to Setapp, which bundles together apps in one reasonably priced monthly subscription.

Noizio has a free version

Forest

Forest is another app attempts to game increased productivity.

Dark Noise

Dark Noise is an iOS app which play white noise. You can choose which kind you want to listen to, whether that’s a nature sound like running water or a hubbub from an office.

9. Automation

Task Till Dawn

Task Till Dawn is a task scheduler to execute repetitive tasks automatically.
Say you want to download a particular podcast each day, you can use this app to build that process using a simple process.

Hazel

Hazel does a similar thing but has a large user group which enthusiastically supports its development.

10. MindMapping

Organising your thoughts using mind-mapping is a powerful way to clarify your thoughts. Using this kind of visual tool enables you to make links and connections that you can’t undertake in your head or do as easily using lists.

Mind42

Mind42 is a free mind mapping tool which is web-based. I dislike web-based products personally and prefer client solutions, but it’s free and easy to use.

MindNode

MindNode is my mind mapping tool of choice. It’s highly intuitive, native and beautiful to look at to boot.

11. Backup

If you’ve ever had a hard drive fail on you, you know what a disaster this can be. Losing all those precious records and data (think what would happen if you lost all your photos) is bad enough. Trying to rebuild your files is a whole other set of challenges that will easily cost you hours or days if effort if you’re not backing up regularly.

SyncBackFree

SyncBackFree is free for all Windows users. At a minimum, you must have at least two separate back ups for all you data.

Time Machine

TimeMachine is the Apple product that comes bundled with every new OSX device. Use it regularly to sync to a network drive or USB hard drive.

ChronoSync

If you want a little more control over your back-ups, ChronoSync has you covered. You can access a basic version from Setapp if you subscribe to this service.

SuperDuper

SuperDuper offers a similar functionality to ChronoSync.

Backblaze

Backblaze ensures that you have a complete backup of your Mac hard drive stored in a remote location.

Once installed will Backblaze continuously backup your hard drive to the cloud.

12. Security

A stitch in time saves nine, as the saying goes. Preventing a breach of security takes little time to do and can save untold harm and heartache down the track. If you’re not using a password manager, you really need to track action and fix that today.

1Password

1Password a is multiple platform, secure and easy to use, particularly now there’s fingerprint/face ID recognition on Mac and iPhone.

Use 1Password browser extensions to speed up your workflow

LastPass

LastPass provides a similar functionality to 1Password.

Dashlane

Dashlane adds a further layer of sophistication to password management.

13. Reading/Capture

When browsing on the internet you often come across articles or documents, you haven’t got time to read now, but might do later. Knowing how to deal with these kinds of situations efficiently can make your research faster and more efficient. But knowing how to store information is only half the problem. You’ve also got to know how to find it quickly too.

Pocket

Pocket enables you to easily and quickly clip articles and send them into their Pocket folder.

Instapaper

Instapaper provides the same functionality as Pocket.

Evernote

Evernote allows you to throw anything at it, and then files it away for you.

Evernote offers a premium plan

DEVONthink

DEVONthink is Apple only and can ‘read’ PDFs using OCR baked in. It uses an AI engine that makes search powerful as it will throw up items which it considers might link to the search inquiry. You can make notes using DEVONthink, use it as an RSS reader and can operate Automator scripts.

Curio

Curio is an app that tries to do it all. You take notes, do brainstorming, collect research materials and organise your thoughts into tasks or documents.

Keep It

Keep It used to be called ‘Together’ and is an app that has many similarities with Curio.

Keep It was previously called Together

14. Launchers

Launcher apps are tools which help remove the inefficiency that mousing and clicking creates. Each of the following apps does basically the same job, enabling you to use the keyboard for tasks, without the need to use a mouse or track pad.

Launchbar

Launchbar is an app that exemplifies what launcher apps can do. You assign a key combination to call up the app. Once in the foreground, the app enables you to search files or the internet, open other applications and a host of other actions.

Alfred

Alfred is an app with a similar capability to Launchbar.

Lacona

If you’ve signed up for, Setap then you already have a launch bar app called Lacona.

Launchy

Launchy is an open source program and available on any platform.

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Adam Cairns

Exploring the intersection between good organisation and creativity |Blog | Digital Garden | https://bettercreativity.co.uk/