Good time management is one of the key requirements of the modern workplace. But whether you’re a full-time freelancer or an hourly employee, keeping track of time can be a challenge. Add in a remote work policy and things get even more complicated. How do you stick to the plan when you’re constantly stressed out by the clock?
Time management tools can help by giving you a clearer picture of what needs to get done, and even by automating some tasks for you. Here are five time management tools you can use to streamline your work routine and boost productivity.
What Are Time Management Tools?
Time management tools include everything from time tracking tools that keep track of your work hours to project management tools that help teams collaborate on complex projects. The right tools can help you optimize your time with better task management, or save you time by streamlining and automating your workflows.
There are also time management strategies like the Pomodoro Technique, but that’s more of a productivity hack than an actual time management tool. Time management techniques can help you change your mindset, while time management software and productivity apps can help you put those time management skills into action.
Why You Need Time Management Tools
In today’s workplace, handwritten task lists and sticky notes just aren’t going to cut it. Even small teams that work in close proximity can benefit from remote collaboration tools and time management software that stores your to-do list in the cloud.
Here are three ways that time management tools can help your team:
Effective time management comes down to knowing what to do when. Indecision, poor communication, and plain old procrastination are all things that can slow a project down. The best time management tools allow you to set due dates, rank items by priority, and identify subtasks and dependencies so you always know what to do next.
Tracking Hours Accurately
Have you ever finished a work task and realized that you lost track of time? How many billable hours did you actually spend on that freelance project? Time tracking software makes it easy to keep track of billable time by logging your work hours automatically and creating timesheets that accurately reflect your time on the clock.
Working as a Team
The best time management tools encourage teamwork and collaboration with shared task lists and built-in project dashboards. View other team members’ tasks in real time, get notifications when a task is complete, or generate time reports to see how much time each team member is spending on a project.
5 Time Management Tools
Ready to explore your options? Here are our picks for the best time management apps and software tools that are suitable for everyone from freelancers to larger teams:
1. Anchor AI
Anchor AI is an AI-powered project management tool that makes team meetings more productive by automatically identifying action items during a discussion and adding them to your to-do list. Simply invite Anchor AI to your meeting, and it will do the hard work for you so no one on your team has to take notes.
Anchor AI works with Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and other virtual meeting platforms, or you can upload a recording of a past meeting to generate a transcript or summary. You can also Record Instantly straight into Anchor using your computer or phone microphone for in-person meetings. Once Anchor identifies an actionable item from the meeting, it can automatically create a task for it with an assignee and a due date.
Anchor AI’s pricing model makes it easy for you to get started. The basic features are free, and you can add on additional features by purchasing Power-Ups.
Asana is a cloud-based task management tool that offers several time management features, such as Gantt charttemplates to help you visualize your project’s timeline. Other features include Milestones, Subtasks, and Dependencies.
Business and Enterprise users can turn on time tracking, which allows you to set an estimated time budget for each task and track the actual time spent on it.
Asana is free for small teams of 15 or less, but you’ll need to upgrade to a paid plan ($10.99-$24.99 per month per user) to unlock additional features.
Todoist is a time management tool that works a lot like a traditional to-do list. The key difference is that you can create tasks using natural language: Start typing, and it will automatically parse the text to determine what needs to get done and when.
You can sort tasks by day, separate your work and personal to-do lists, and create a collaborative to-do list with your entire team. It also integrates with Outlook, Google Calendar, Evernote, Slack, and other productivity tools.
Pricing starts at $0 for the Beginner and Starter plans, while the Pro plan costs $4 per month and the Business plan starts at $6 per user per month.
Clockify is less of a task management tool and more of a straightforward time tracking app. Use the time tracker to log work hours automatically, plan your week in advance with the built-in calendar, and view or export time reports to analyze them later.
Clockify supports remote teams by offering mobile and desktop apps, as well as a kiosk app that you can set up in a physical workspace. It can also track billable hours to take the hassle out of invoicing clients.
Clockify is free, and you can add on Administration, Timesheeting, and Billing features starting at $3.99 per month per user.
Toggl is a time tracking tool that integrates with Trello, Asana, Zapier, and other tools to help you automate time and project management. You can use Toggl Plan to schedule work hours, Toggl Track to log them, and Toggl Hire for hiring and onboarding.
Toggl emphasizes trust over workplace surveillance, so you can keep track of employee hours without infringing on their free time or micromanaging their workday.
Toggl provides unlimited time tracking for free for up to five users, with plans starting at $9 per user per month for larger teams that need more advanced features.
What to Look for in Time Management Tools
With so many different products to choose from, how do you know which of these time management tools are right for you? Here are three things to consider:
A big part of time management is cutting down on procrastination. Every time you have to open a program to log your hours or edit a task description is a potential distraction. Integrations save you time by allowing you to link multiple pieces of software together and automate repetitive steps, such as identifying action items automatically.
The best time management tools are user-friendly and don’t require a lot of training to get started. Look for time trackers with browser plugins and mobile apps for iOS and Android. Some time management tools focus on time tracking and invoicing, while others are geared toward productivity and team collaboration.
Since most time management tools charge a monthly fee per user, do the math before committing to a long-term subscription. Or, look for software with a free trial or free tier, that way you can start for free and add on more features as your team grows.
Turn Ideas Into Action With Anchor AI
Every time management tool has its own set of features and add-ons, from basic time tracking to more advanced reporting and invoicing. Whether you use Gantt charts, the Pomodoro method, or another time management technique, there’s bound to be an effective time management tool for your purposes.
But can your tool of choice automatically identify action items from your meeting transcript? That’s what sets Anchor AI apart. Anchor AI helps you keep track of tasks from start to finish, from the moment a new idea is brought up in a meeting to its ultimate due date.
Plus, you can Ask Anchor to take care of related tasks for you, such as taking notes, writing up a meeting summary, or sending out a follow-up email.