Busy entrepreneurs know that staying on schedule and managing daily tasks can be a major challenge. Fortunately, there are lots of productivity tools and apps available to help you plan, track, and analyze your time. There are literally hundreds out there, but here are 15 top ones that I think are worthy of consideration.
– A simple, straightforward to-do list app that allows you to share and collaborate with others. Todoist apps are available for more than 10 platforms, including Android, Iphone, Firefox, and Windows. It offers color-coded prioritization, real-time synchronization, and the ability to divide your work into sub-tasks and sub-projects. This is a great option for those that don’t want or need a lot of bells and whistles.
– A task organization and project management tool with apps available for iPhone, iPad, and Android. The interface is clean and simple. And the communication functions are are a joy to use. The Basic level is free, and offers all the core features, unlimited personal workspaces, and one shared workspace. For $2 per month, you can upgrade to Pro, which gives you reminders and recurring to-dos, as well as 2GB of storage. And for $20 per month you can get a Shared account, with unlimited shared workspaces and 50GB of file storage.
– A to-do list and project management tool for both teams and individuals. Its drag-and-drop interface is attractive as well as functional. Trello offers three pricing options – Free, Business Class ($9.99 per user/month), and Enterprise (pricing varies – for large companies). And with a paid account, you get power-ups, which integrates your Trello account with other tools and apps, including Salesforce, Google Drive, and Evernote (free account comes with one power-up).
– A planner and time-tracker that helps you increase your focus and productivity. One thing that makes FocusList stand out from other productivity apps is it’s time planning and tracking capability. One of the best ways to stay focused is to plan out your day in timed increments with regular breaks. FocusList not only helps you prioritize your tasks and plan out your work day, but it also keeps track of your daily productivity, giving you the opportunity to think about how to better plan your days. The free app is available for iPhone, Android, and Mac.
– A habit-forming tool based on Jerry Seinfeld’s “Don’t Break the Chain” productivity plan. It’s designed to help you increase your focus and build good habits over time by forming a chain of days in which you complete a given task. From exercising to clearing your inbox, lots of people report that this method works.
– Another habit-building tool. This one lets you log and track your daily accomplishments, rewarding you with positive reinforcement when you hit your goals. It’s only available as a web-app, but it is optimized for mobile.
– A productivity tool that uses goal-setting and timers. It’s based on the Pomodoro time management system. Basically, it works by breaking down tasks into small bits and scheduling your work with frequent, small breaks. Proud costs $4.99 in the iTunes Store, and it’s only available for iOS and Mac at this time.
– A tool that lets you integrate any of more than 700 apps in one place. You can also use Zapier to automate your workflow. Set it up to perform desired actions automatically – for instance, transferring email attachments directly into Dropbox and notifying you via Slack. The free version of Zapier works very well for simple automated tasks. There are also premium plans available starting at $20 per month.
– An app for quick and easy scheduling of one-on-one appointments. You can email available time slots via a simple link, whether or not the other person uses Meet. This is a great one to have if you meet frequently with customers, clients, or investors.
– A time-tracking app that offers a good alternative to filling out timesheets manually. This is a good tool for freelancers and for clients organizing teams of independent contractors. It integrates with other apps, including Google Calendar, Office 365, and Todoist. A free Starter plan lets you manage 5 projects per month, while a Professional plan costs $14 per user/month and lets you manage unlimited projects.
– A planning app that offers an alternative to your traditional to-do list. It combines your calendar with your to-do list, syncing them to help you prioritize your day based on how much time you have available. Take advantage of the 14-day trial to see if it works for you. Plans start at $10 per month.
– A time management tool designed to help you optimize your work-life balance. Capabilities include the ability to block distracting websites while you’re working and to set alerts to tell you how much time you’ve spend on an activity. At the end of the day, you’ll be able to see how much time you spent on each task. RescueTime works with Mac, PC, Android, and Linux. The free plan is pretty decent, but the Premium plan gives you more detailed analytics for $9/month or $72/year.
– Another time management tool that tracks your daily activities. Available for iOS and Android, it keeps track of how much time you spend on your phone, exercising, sleeping, and more.
– A planning/time-management app that helps you visualize and prioritize your daily schedule and tasks. You also get analytics that help you understand your patterns of productivity. This free app is available for Windows and iOS. There’s also a beta version available for Mac.
-A comprehensive tracking tool that lets you log personal and work habits. It’s bright icons make it easy to visualize your achievements. Available as a free download in the iTunes Store
Of course, even the best app isn’t going to add more hours to the day. But if you keep your expectations reasonable and make use of the right productivity tools, you could improve your business success as well as your work-life balance.