These days, it seems like we could all benefit from an assistant who manages our time, effort, appointments and focus.
Life is busy, and free time is hard to come by.
With smartphones and computers, there are apps that can get you a lot closer to a lifestyle that resembles having your own time management professional there to guide you from task to task throughout the day.
Scheduling, Prioritizing and Organizing
- Any.do – This minimalistic interface shows you the things you need to accomplish today, tomorrow and points further into the future. At the start of every day, it walks you through a review of the things you prioritized yesterday to ensure they are still things you want to accomplish today. You can download the app from iTunes or Google Play (for Android), or onto your desktop.
- Habitica – Video games are considered the antithesis of productivity, but Habitica is trying to change that. It gamifies productivity, so that the more you get done, the more experience points you gain. More points means moving to a higher level where you can have more fun with other users’ in-game characters. It is available on iTunes or Google Play (for Android).
- 30/30 – This free app allows you to break from rigid scheduling. You create tasks, tell the app how much time you’d like to spend on each one and tracks your time investment, so you know the things you’re spending too much time and effort on. It seamlessly handles interruptions too, so you don’t have to block time for any one specific goal. You can find it on iTunes or Google Play.
Making Lists and Tracking Time
- Wunderlist – Checklists are like steroids for your productivity. This app allows you to collaborate with other Wunderlist users (in case you’re working on projects with different people), and use it to create reminders so you’re not checking it throughout the day. The app is available for mobile devices (iTunes and Google Play), Windows and Mac for desktops, Kindle Fire, and as an extension for Chrome.
- Inbox by Gmail – Turning Gmail’s inbox into a to-do list (which gets sorted by the category of the task), Inbox integrates perfectly with other Google apps, like Google Calendar and Google Drive, to make sure you have all the resources you need to get stuff done. Mobile users can download the app from iTunes and Google Play.
- To-Doist Karma – Similar to Habitica, this app tracks your productivity like experience points in a game. It renders your effort into a visual graph that shows you when you’re most productive and least productive, and it awards you karma points based on everything you get done throughout the day. The app is available for mobile devices (iTunes and Google Play), Windows and Mac for desktops, Kindle Fire, and as an extension for Chrome, Gmail and Microsoft Outlook.
Blocking Out Distractions and Staying Focused
- Self Control App – We all procrastinate. That’s why Self Control exists. It blocks access to the Internet (or certain apps of your choosing) for a set period of time during the day. It is available through Google Play and as a Chrome extension.
- FocusWriter – Computers and phones are distraction machines. FocusWriter combats that by blocking out your entire screen with an empty page. Now you have no other option but to write. What’s more, you can customize the page for whatever mood you’re in and set timers on the program so you’re not watching the clock. Mac and Windows users can download the app onto their desktops.
- Cold Turkey – This app keeps you from visiting attention-stealing sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube for set amounts of time. You can find the app on Google Play.
- Tomato Timer – A browser-based app that makes using the Pomodoro productivity method easier than ever. The technique involves working for 25-minute blocks and taking 5-minute breaks in between. Tomato Timer focuses that functionality into a simple, minimalistic browser page. It is available as an extension for Chrome.