“There just aren’t enough hours in the day.” Chances are, you’ve muttered this at some point during your workday. Thanks to the constant barrage of meetings, emails, and instant messages we receive, free time is a scarce commodity. Time management has grown into an empire of applications, software, and hardware all with the sole purpose of making sure every minute you spend at work is productive.
Enter the mobile device. Despite headlines stating that mobile devices are distracting and encourage workaholic tendencies, 70% of respondents from our mobile productivity survey said their mobile devices either improve or had no negative effect on their work-life balance. And 45% of those who work via their mobile devices say they use 5 or more apps to help them be more efficient. With your mobile phones on-hand at all times, why not have it working for you instead of against you? From calendars to tomato timers, here are the best time management apps to manage your life.
Best Free Time Management Apps
Notes, memos, images, checklists… you name it! Evernote will not only store it, but make it easily accessible via search using optical character recognition (OCR). Still a fan of pencil and paper? Snap a pic of your handwritten note and store it in Evernote for easy access and distribution.
If you’re anything like me, you read your emails 3 to 4 times before hitting “Send.” Then you don’t read them again for fear that you missed an obvious typo. Grammarly addresses that worry by acting as a second pair of eyes on your writing. Pointing out everything from misused to overused words, this free app does all the grammar policing for you, so you can focus on the work that matters.
We waste a lot of time on the internet. This free time management app tells you exactly where you’re spending your time and how much you’re actually wasting, so you can find a healthy balance of productivity and relaxation. Receive detailed reports with time spent on certain websites, log accomplishments and completed tasks, and find out how much time you’re spending in meetings and on email so you can better manage your workday.
They say the best ideas come to you from just about anywhere (even in the shower). Well, now there’s a place to quickly capture them. Download Wunderlist and keep ideas close at hand by simply opening up a new tab and jotting them down. Everything from daily to-dos and favorite recipes to in-depth strategies for taking over the world, Wunderlist is your competent companion for getting sh*t done.
How many times a day do you stop what you’re doing to read an interesting article or watch a funny video someone sent you? If this is stifling your productivity, try Pocket. This productivity management app keeps the momentum going by bookmarking articles for later. So when you get all your work out of the way, there’s no shortage of captivating content to read.
Best Time Management Apps for Android
6. Tomato Timer
Do 10-minute breaks turn into half an hour? Set a time limit for yourself. The Tomato Timer lets you determine the length of your work sprints and breaks, so you can breeze through your to-dos and not get stuck on one task. ($2.50)
Sometimes, we just need to put our phones away to focus on work. With Pushbullet, you can receive all your notifications right on your desktop so you’re not falling down the rabbit hole once you glance at your phone. Bridge the gap between your phone and computer, so you can monitor exactly what you want and don’t want to get notifications for, and get right back to work. ($4.99/month)
Say goodbye to that old day planner! Organize your daily to-dos, chores, appointments, etc. all with this clean and intuitive time management app for Android. Integrate your calendar with your to-do list, build custom widgets, and set notifications so you never miss a deadline. (free - $27.99/yr)
Stick to your productivity resolutions and cut bad internet habits by downloading FocusMe. This app tracks how much time you spend on distracting internet sites and allows you to block them for optimum focus. Other features such as Pomodoro timer, scheduler, and break reminders keep your eye on the prize and productivity on track.(Psst… this app is free for Android users!)
What if I told you every time you use your phone a tree dies? With Forest, gamification is the key to effective time management. The app plays out like a game — encouraging you to stay off your phone by growing a tree. Once you use your phone, the tree dies. It tracks how much time you’ve gone without your phone and encourages you to go even longer next time. Added bonus, users can spend virtual coins to plant real trees. Check out their sponsor page here. ($1.99)
Best Time Management Apps for iPhone
11. Fantastical 2
If managing multiple calendars and schedules is your biggest time suck, this app is for you. Fantastical 2 is a time management calendar app that imports your appointments and meetings from your calendar and presents them in a summary list below either a monthly view or weekly view. You can easily swipe to jump between views. You can also customize Fantastical 2 to open links within your events using the app of your choice, such as Safari or Google Chrome, and Apple Maps, Google Maps, Waze, etc. ($4.99)
We’ve all heard it takes roughly 3 weeks to make or break a habit. Although the accuracy of this claim is unclear, habits are undeniably difficult to manipulate. This app helps you break those bad habits and foster good ones, by tracking new routines. Whether it’s writing for 30 minutes or drinking a gallon of water a day, HabitMinder encourages you to stay on track, making it easy to log and check your progress over time. (free - $5.99)
Unclutter your mind with Todoist. From household tasks to shopping lists, this app does the organization and distribution for you, so you can just focus on getting it done. This app interprets natural language, so if you put “bake cupcakes tomorrow at 6 p.m.,” it will automatically add the task to your calendar. Some of the premium features include graphs and charts, so you can quantify the progress of your productivity. (free - $29/year)
Looking for a simple, straightforward checklist? Try Clear. Its rainbow-hued to-do lists are built around the simple satisfaction of crossing something off as completed. This visual time management app is the answer for anyone looking to upgrade their pen and legal pad to track their daily tasks. ($4.99)
Do more with less. Workflow connects the best features of your apps together so you can access multiple apps without all the taps. Manage applications on your iPhone all in one place. You can play music, send messages, and request a ride. Spend less time jumping between apps and more time devoted to your day. (Free)
Further Reading on Personal Time Management Tools
- For more of the best time management apps, check out 9 Apps to Boost Your Productivity and Motivation at Work
- Read Harvard Business Review’s Still Trying to Get More Done for a published author’s secret to successful productivity.
- For a good book on the science behind habits, read Nir Eyal’s Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products
- For a solid list of tried and true productivity hacks, here’s 15 Productivity Hacks for Procrastinators