Someday, artificial intelligence will break time boundaries, days will have more hours in them, but still not enough for us. The thing is, it’s not about how much time you have but how you use it. In this sense, technologies can help us today.
“Time is money” is a well–worn cliché and although it sounds hollow, it is by no means devoid of meaning. Ineffective time management costs companies millions of dollars, reducing the productivity of individual employees and managers. For a variety of reasons, a modern person often does not have enough time to cope with all the tasks. Fortunately, new technologies come to the rescue.
We have tested high–quality apps that will help you plan and prioritize your tasks.
Top work management apps
With Any.do, you can add tags, reminders, subtasks, and attachments to each task. The Priority function will help focus on what is important and keep it in mind. You can also create task lists that can be shared with friends and colleagues to plan joint projects.
You can use the Focus mode to stay motivated. As long as you stay focused on your work, the tree in the app will keep on growing but if you leave the app, the tree will die 🙁
Another useful feature of Any.do is the Smart Grocery Lists, which will automatically sort your groceries into their respective aisles for a convenient on–the–go experience. This is how you can see all the groceries you need from every aisle at once.
The paid version of the app will allow you to create recurring tasks, attach files of any size, use custom themes, color tags, icons, as well as create location–based reminders.
Platforms: iOS, Android. A desktop version and an extension for Chrome are also available.
Pricing: The basic version is free, the premium version of the app costs $5.99 per month.
Todoist is the main competitor and a great alternative to Any.do. The app doesn’t have a self–destructing tree, but you can divide tasks into projects and subprojects, add tags, change themes, add comments, attach files, and manage collaborative projects.
An additional motivating feature is built–in productivity tracking. Some features, which include reminders and email tasks, are only available in the premium version of the app.
Todoist has a lot of outstanding features, which can look a bit overwhelming at first. Thus, we recommend you check the user manual first. This will help you understand how to better design and organize your projects, work with tasks, marks, and filters, learn what tags to use to customize tasks, etc.
Some users are put off by the need to learn all features of the service, but trust us, Todoist is totally worth your time. Once you understand all the features (it may take you up to an hour) of the app, you will get a reliable and convenient every–day scheduler and helpful assistant.
Another benefit of the app is its templates that can help you quickly create a to–do list and organize other lists, starting with shopping ending with a social network content plan. Find the right one on the app’s official website!
Platforms: iOS, Android.
Pricing: The basic version is free. The Premium version cost is $3 per month.
When you’re busy with multiple projects and tasks, you need a reliable assistant that allows you to quickly organize the structure and navigate around it with no problems. Things provides balanced solutions to limit your involvement and avoid confusion. The app also provides enough options to clearly allocate projects and tasks.
Creating new tasks quickly is the main requirement that a high–quality organizer must be able to do. Different time management systems offer different tools, but almost all TM app developers want you to use your inbox instead of keeping everything in your head.
Too lazy to carry a notebook and a pencil, too lazy to reach for the smartphone and open the app, too lazy to type, etc. – it’s all so inconvenient! This is when Things + Siri (Speech Interpretation and Recognition Interface) come to the rescue.
You can tell Siri to “remind” you of any task, or you can tell her to “create a task” in Things and tell what you want to be reminded about. Just make sure she understands you (tip: use phrases that start with “In Things, remind me …” and contain “…my shopping list,” “my errands list”, etc.
With Things, you can use projects and areas to create structures, large–scale goals, and break them into small tasks, group projects by subjects/responsibilities, etc. There is also an active pie chart icon that shows the progress in front of the project name. You can create sections to help sort out tasks into categories or stages in the project.
In Things, the structure, task features, and logic are identical to the desktop app. But the interaction methods are adapted to smartphones. All frequently repeated actions can be quickly performed using swipes and the keyboard. To go to the desired section/project or find a certain task, just swipe down – the app will open a quick search. Usually, a few first letters are enough to find what you need.
Platforms: macOS, iPhone, iPad.
Pricing: $49.99 (macOS) + 15-day free trial. $19.99 (iPad), $9.99 (iPhone).
RescueTime is an app that helps you maximize the benefits of all the other apps on the list or determine which of our recommendations are most relevant to you. Thus, if you can’t figure out what app to choose, here’s the solution.
RescueTime analyzes your day, identifying what you spend more and less time on. It helps you better understand how your time is spent and organize it. Among many features, the app sends you notifications if you take too much time to complete a certain task. It also provides detailed reports and performance ratings.
RescueTime sits in your PC’s memory and automatically records what programs and how many of them you use, generating visual reports.
Keep in mind, though, that RT is no substitute for a timekeeping app if you want to keep track of your performance activity. Otherwise, if all you need is to know, say, how much time it takes for you to learn some new research & development techniques, this app is your perfect choice.
Once you launch the app, you can work in peace, forget about the app, and check it in the evening to see how your day went. Or you can check it early next week when you have your past week’s report in the mailbox.
Platforms: macOS, Windows, Chrome, iOS, Android.
Pricing: Prices start at $6.50/month (billed annually). The 1-month price is $12.
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This 8–year old music app is designed by a professional team of world–class scientists and musicians and represents the result of their experience in neurological research. Focus@will can help you focus on the main things and reduce your stress levels. By choosing a proper soundtrack, this app will put your brain in a state of maximum productivity.
Now you may wonder, what kind of black magic is this? No worries, you will not turn into a zombie, trust us. In order to increase your efficiency, the app will take a short survey before you start using it.
For example, it will find out if you tend to think logically or abstractly. After that, you will be able to choose among thousands of high–quality tracks in various categories e.g. Classical Piano, Cinematic, Ambient, Water, Classical Plus, Uptempo, etc
The benefits of focus@will are as follows:
- Unique music compositions that encourage you to focus deeply;
- Designed by a professional team of scientists, musicians, and platinum-selling producers;
- Tracks your behavior and shifts according to it;
- Encourages you to stay focused for up to 100 minutes straight.
Will Henshall, the head of focus@will, says the startup has raised around $3.5 million within a year since its launch in 2012. And it really works! According to the developers, most active users noticed a 200–400% focus duration increase!
Platforms: iOS, Android, macOS, Windows, Sonos devices.
Pricing: $52.49 (Annual plan), $45 (Two Year plan), $224 (VIP plan with lifetime access, updates, and support). 1-week free trial.
Nirvana is a new service based on David Allen’s famous Getting Things Done (GTD) methodology. The main goal of the project was to free people from remembering a large number of tasks and help them focus on completing the main one. For this, the app features various filters including deadlines, projects, performers, and so on.
You can add new tasks either directly in the app or by sending an email to a dedicated address. Depending on the deadline and category, specified when adding an item, the task gets into one of the following sections: “Next,” “Waiting,” “Scheduled,” or “Someday.” Moreover, you can assign various tags to tasks and combine them into projects.
You can also sort out your tasks by duration and complexity. The most important and urgent tasks can be marked with “stars” and automatically transferred to the Focus folder. With built–in filters and a convenient search engine, you can easily find those tasks that meet your criteria so that you don’t miss anything in a rush.
Nirvana is a cloud–based service, which means it’s accessible from any PC or mobile device. Nirvana currently supports Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, macOS and Windows, iOS, and Android. Up to 5 projects can be managed in the app for free, for more you will need the Pro version ($5/month or $29/year).
Platforms: macOS, Windows, Chrome, iOS, Android.
Pricing: Nirvana Pro costs $5/month or $29/year. Lifetime access for $49.
7. Focus Booster
Focus Booster is a small app based on the Pomodoro Technique. According to the methodology, people are more productive if they alternate their work with short breaks. For example, 25 minutes of work and 5 minutes of rest. According to The Pomodoro Technique, these are optimal time intervals for alternating work and rest.
Basically, Focus Booster is a handy timer app with a sound signal, which can be used for any particular task. The app will constantly remind you of the time left, and after the sound signal, you can take a short break.
By default, FB is set to 25 minutes of working and 5 minutes of resting sessions. Then everything can be repeated as many times as you need. The new session does not start automatically – the program waits for you to click on the timer, which is also very convenient.
Platforms: Online, Windows, macOS.
Pricing: Free Starter package (30 days), $4.99/month (Professional), $2.99/month (Individual).
Notion is a new service designed to combine all your tasks and information in one place. And it’s actively gaining popularity. In the app, you can create to–do lists and schedule your time, create a custom database, manage projects, and organize your tasks.
Notion has so many built–in features for organizing and filing information that it gets both appealing and discouraging at the same time. If you are ready to spend time to understand all the features of the service, it will successfully replace both Evernote and Google Docs. The dev team has created dozens of templates for basic tasks. You can create templates yourself and share them with other users.
Notion is also compatible with many popular services, e.g. Slack, Google Drive, Figma, Invision, Latex, Twitter, and others.
Platforms: Web, PC, Android, and iOS.
Price: The basic version is free. The Personal Pro version has a free trial period and unlocks additional features, namely Unlimited file uploads, Unlimited guests, and Version history. Personal Pro costs $4 per month.
No matter what business field you are in, to keep up with your time, you need to manage your time properly and prioritize your tasks, without being distracted by minor things. However, knowing basic techniques of time management is not that necessary if you have special apps and time management tools designed just for that. By the way, the latter can sometimes be part of project management tools.
Whether you are a newly-established freelancer or an experienced entrepreneur, at certain business stages, we all face the illusion of distant deadlines, procrastination, and the lack of time–management skills. The apps in our review will definitely help you stay productive, organize your workday, and boost productivity in remote employees.
Focus on important tasks and use your precious time wisely!