Sometimes, getting things done is harder than it looks. Whether you’re struggling to stay focused at work or trying to be productive at home, free task management software can help you get more done and stay organized. Plus, the best task management tools support team collaboration through built-in messaging and integrations with other apps.
But how do you know which task management tool is right for you? Here’s what to look for in task and project management software, and our top picks for the best free task management software tools you can try out today.
What Is Task Management Software?
Task management software is essentially the modern version of a to-do list or checklist: It’s a piece of software, usually cloud-based, that helps you keep track of the things you need to get done, either as an individual or as a team.
You can organize tasks by project, sort them by due date, and assign tasks to specific team members. You can also set priority levels and get reminder notifications.
Unlike a pen-and-paper system, cloud-based task management tools are easy to take with you anywhere: Many of them have mobile apps for iOS and Android devices and integrate with other tools, such as time-tracking software and Google Calendar.
And of course, you can communicate with other team members in real time, making it easy to track progress, share the workload, and foster teamwork along the way.
Why You Need Task Management Software
That all sounds nice, but you may still be wondering why you need a task management system when you already have collaboration tools like Slack and Gmail. Can’t you just assign tasks during team meetings and follow up by email?
Here are three reasons why you need a better system for managing tasks:
Streamline Your Workflows
First, when you use a project management framework like scrum or agile, tasks can’t just happen in any random order. Some tasks need to be completed before others, or some tasks may require input from multiple team members before they can be marked as complete.
You need a way to prioritize tasks and subtasks, track task dependencies, and assign recurring tasks without having to do everything manually.
Task management and project management tools help you stay organized in a way that traditional spreadsheets and tasks lists simply can’t match.
Collaborate More Effectively
Have you ever tried to discuss tasks in your team chat or Slack channel? Chances are, you struggled to reach the right team members, include all the relevant information, or even to find the message in your chat history again.
The best free task management software solves these problems by allowing you to leave comments on individual tasks and tag team members so they can follow up later.
You can also link to external resources like a Google Drive URL or a brand style guide so everything an assignee needs to complete the task is easily available.
View Performance Metrics
Finally, some task management solutions offer progress tracking and reporting features so you can distribute project tasks more equitably and boost productivity.
See how many open tasks there are for a particular project, track how many belong to each assignee, and estimate billable hours for each milestone.
Switch between calendar view, timeline view, and list view, or create a customizable dashboard for each project owner. The choice is yours!
5 Free Task Management Software Tools
Task management software tools vary widely in terms of their pricing and functionality. Some are better for small teams or freelancers, while others are best for large teams looking for advanced task tracking and task management features.
Here are five free task management software tools to get you started:
1. Anchor AI
The first step in task management is identifying individual tasks and assigning them to team members. Anchor AI assists with task assignment by automatically highlighting action items in meetings so you can stay more focused on the meeting itself.
Simply invite Anchor AI to your next virtual meeting or upload a recording of a meeting, and Anchor AI will provide a list of action items you can add to your task management system. Or direct it to assign tasks and due dates automatically using the Auto-Task feature.
This AI-powered tool can also transcribe interviews, summarize meeting notes, and generate meeting minutes. The free version includes built-in note-taking tools, while more advanced features like AnchorGPT are included in the $15 per month tier.
Asana is a free task management tool that uses an intuitive Kanban-style interface to help you keep track of assignments. It’s essentially one big Kanban board that allows you to move tasks between columns such as “To Do,” “Doing,” and “Done.” You can also make use of other visual layouts, such as Gantt charts and dashboards.
The free version of Asana is best for individuals and small teams, with unlimited tasks and projects for up to 15 team members. Small businesses may need to upgrade to a paid plan, which starts at $10.99 to $24.99 per month per user. In addition to the basic features, you’ll get task templates, custom fields, and advanced reporting.
Trello is another Kanban-style task management app with a drag-and-drop interface. It’s free for individuals and small teams, with unlimited tasks cards and up to 10 boards per Workspace. Standard users get unlimited boards and advanced checklists for $10 per month, while Premium users pay $10 for advanced views and security features.
Trello offers integrations with other collaboration tools and task management apps, such as Slack and Jira. You can also set up custom rules and automations, such as assigning a due date for any task card you add that has a date at the end of its name (i.e., “print weekly report September 8”).
Todoist is a bit less full-featured than some other task management tools since it’s designed more like a personal to-do list than an advanced task management system. Still, it has plenty of features that make it suitable for teams, including a centralized admin portal and an activity log so you can keep track of what your team is up to.
You can also set priority levels, automatically generate tasks from email messages, and even set due dates using everyday language like “every weekday at 5 p.m.”
Todoist is free for up to five projects and five collaborators per project. Businesses can have up to 500 projects per user, for $6 per user per month.
ClickUp is an advanced task management solution that combines team chat, document collaboration, and Kanban boards all in one place. It integrates with cloud storage tools like Dropbox, Google Drive, and Microsoft OneDrive, and it supports Google single sign-on (SSO) and two-factor authentication for added security.
The Free Forever plan allows for unlimited tasks, while paid plans start at $5 per user per month and include unlimited dashboards, storage, and integrations.
What to Look for in Task Management Tools
Task management tools should be intuitive and user-friendly. But what else do you need to keep in mind when looking for free task management software for your team?
First, keep an eye on price. Although free task management tools can get you most of the way there, you may need to pay to unlock more advanced features. Some tools, like Basecamp and Monday.com, don’t offer free plans at all, just free trials; others, such as Wrike, offer free plans with limited features.
Pricing is usually based on the number of users, so the cost can add up quickly. Look for plans that support unlimited users when possible.
You can choose a task management system that already has all the functionality you need, or you can get creative with integrations and automations. Maybe you use Anchor AI to identify action items in your meetings, Zapier to notify your team members about it, and a free version of Trello or Asana to organize your tasks by project.
The goal is to spend less time on the administrative part of task management, such as adding new tasks, so you can focus on actually getting things done!
Boost Productivity With Better Task Management
Free task management software can help you stay organized by setting due dates and reminders for upcoming tasks and letting you visualize them on a handy dashboard. But you’ll still need to identify tasks, add them to your task management system, and assign them to an individual team member.
Anchor AI can save you a step by pulling action items right out of your meeting notes so you don’t have to go back and find all the most important points. Invite Anchor AI to your next Zoom meeting and ask it to summarize your meeting for you, and add items to your to-do list along the way.
Sign up for free today, or contact the team to learn more!