Whenever you get busy at work, things can pile up. When that happens, important tasks can fall through the cracks.
But it can feel counterproductive to take time out of a hectic day to plan out the things you need to do. Luckily, there are plenty of apps out there to help you organize your tasks and manage your time quickly. With a little bit of planning, you will be able to tackle all that work and even have some time left over for a cup of tea.
Timeboxing, also known as the Pomodoro Technique, is a time management system where you set aside a certain amount of time to focus on work, then reward yourself with a break. The Timebox app helps you implement by tracking your time. Once you’ve completed 25 minutes of work, it lets you take a five minute break. After doing that four times, you are rewarded with a 15-20 minute break.
Because tasks are broken down into manageable chunks of time, you can focus on getting on with one section, rather than worrying about how much is left to do. You also keep yourself fresh and energised, so you can work more productively throughout the day.
Toodledo is a to-do list application, but it is much more than that. It allows you to create a workspace where you can invite others to manage the workflow of a project. You can categorise, edit and prioritise tasks. You can also see what other people are doing and amend their to-do lists to delegate projects more easily.
Google Calendar is one of the easiest, best organisational tools out there. You can connect to it from anywhere, and you can easily pop in appointments, share your calendar and see other people’s schedules. That way, you can see when everyone has a free time, and Google Calendars will let them know – and remind them via email – that you want to meet.
If you use lots of calendars, you may prefer using Mozilla Sunbird. It is one more calendar app, but it will let you import other calendars and export your Sunbird calendar, so your whole schedule will always be in one place, no matter where or how you update it. Having one calendar that syncs with everything is a great way to stay on top of your many tasks and demands.
Gleeo Time Tracker
When time management experts consult, they start by reviewing existing time management behaviours. You can do this to yourself with the Gleeo Time Tracker. It is optimised for touch screen devices, and it allows you to track your time with practically no effort. You can even switch between projects quickly and easily, so you don’t have to waste a lot of time or mental energy to ensure you can track your time accurately. Once you’ve done this for a few weeks, you can audit your time management, then you can improve your habits.
Wunderlist is a list app that can be used with all smartphones and Mac, Windows and Linux operating systems. You can enter tasks in via the desktop, mobile or online apps, and Wunderlist will update your lists across all platforms. It keeps you organized no matter where you are or which device you’re using.
Evernote is the best place to jot down any notes or thoughts you might have. You can type in a thought, save a doodle or keep an audio note. This note-saving app helps you manage your time because you don’t need dig through slips of paper, notebooks, sticky notes or try to remember that great idea off the top of your head. You just need to jot it down in Evernote, let it sync across your devices, then retrieve it whenever you want it.
Priorities allows you to set tasks like most to-do lists. Unlike other task apps, it allows you to break tasks into smaller items. From a time management point of view, this allows you to separate a project’s tasks into step-by-step elements, which allows you to focus on small accomplishments. This in turn makes you feel encouraged because you can easily see how much you really are getting done.
Remember the Milk
Remember the Milk is one of the most well-known list apps out there. That is because not only is it as functional as any other to-do app, but it also lets you add tasks and appointments wherever you are. Of course, plenty of other apps sync across devices, but Remember the Milk is the only one that lets you add a task whilst you are doing something else entirely. You can tell it to add a task by sending an email, clicking on a bookmarklet, tweeting or through Siri. By not interrupting yourself, you stay on task and keep yourself organized.
As functional as all the list apps above are, they can have so many bells and whistles that you feel overwhelmed. If you just want a simple list app that can be accessed across all your devices, Todoist is perfect. Once you get used to the straightforward, simple layout, you can start digging into the really impressive features. You can set up projects, break those down into tasks and then break the tasks into steps. Each of those can be assigned a deadline, which will allow Todoist to help you prioritise. If you want more features, like email reminders and syncing with your calendar, you have to pay $29 a month.