Running your own business requires you to focus on multiple tasks all day, every day. You must constantly plan and prioritize your projects and to-dos based on importance and urgency. In opposition to this reality, your most valued commodity as a small business owner is time. So, if you find yourself wondering whether or not there are some effective and efficient time saving apps available, the answer is a resounding, “Yes.” Time management apps can maximize your time making you more efficient and productive. They help you avoid distractions by allowing you to stay focused on job-related goals, thereby increasing your productivity. Time management apps also allow you to automate many of your daily tasks so you can maximize efficiencies throughout the day.
Each small business owner has different needs. The following are just a handful of resources available – two for overall business organization, two geared more towards project management, three that are focused on task/list organization, and a final app that functions like a nosy neighbor and provides a reality check on how you really spend your time.
This is a resource geared towards “businesses of one.” It allows you to create contracts and manage them as well, with the added benefit of e-signature options for the convenience of you and your clients. You can organize and keep track of tasks, projects, and clients, to include the management of leads through all stages of the funnel. It provides a calendar to track workflow as well as deadlines. There are also bookkeeping options such as professional invoices, payment reminders and at-a-glance financials. The best value of 17hats is a prepaid, 2-year agreement that puts the price down to $11 per month.
Timely takes a unique approach that integrates with your favorite, external calendar app. It auto imports scheduled events and tasks and provides an estimate of hours it will take to accomplish each. It can be used with a team in “Company View” to show everything your team is working on in one place and allows you to coordinate resources and distribute workload. You can track time (with AI assistance), configure scheduling, billing, budgets, and more. Timely assists in completion time of projects and tasks by using tags and sub-tags to help you understand how time is spent daily. Conveniently, you are able to use this resource across all devices. The company version is a more expensive option than some others at $21 per month, per person, but there are less expensive versions of Timely that provide slightly fewer bells and whistles.
This is a comprehensive project management app that helps you see the big picture. It allows you to map out projects and organize details in one place as well as track progress on a timeline. There is a dashboard presentation that charts everything visually which helps to streamline conversations as your team prioritizes projects and daily tasks. You can coordinate with in-office employees and outsourced teams, assign due dates, attach files, select specific notifications and much more. This resource truly focuses on managing projects and facilitating team communications all in one place and is used by many global brands (NASA, Tesla). The free version is for 15 users or less and offers basic options. The premium version, $9.99 per member, per month, unlocks many more options. There is also an “Enterprise” version that has custom pricing, allows custom branding, and provides an Asana support team.
This is a task and project management app that promotes simplicity. It can be used on a phone, tablet and desktop and allows you to capture and manage to-dos across devices. It is designed to check tasks as you schedule them with dates and deadlines and provides reminders of due dates and times. You are able to organize lists into folders and collaborate on tasks with others by sharing lists. It also provides the option of forwarding emails to be turned into actions on your lists. This is a free resource.
This is a straightforward and simple resource that puts everything in one place. It breaks down to-do lists into subtasks, or more manageable pieces, and uses color tags that you assign. It syncs between web, desktop and mobile apps, provides integration for Gmail, Google Calendar, Evernote, Outlook, etc. and will send reminders to your mobile. You are able to organize tasks by priority, due date, time involved, or other customized manner, and you can save favorite tasks and notes for future access. There is unlimited sharing and you can add and give tasks to others. The free version only syncs once every 24 hours; the pro version is $39.99 per year.
1-3-5List allows you to choose 1 large, 3 medium and 5 small tasks to complete daily, or you can customize it and create your own list and prioritization. You can also create headings and rearrange tasks as needed. Lists can be shared, archived, and viewed later. The “Ultimate in Simplicity,” there is no app to download and it can be used on any device or platform. The basic version is free, the premium version is best purchased for $25 a year.
This is an organizational tool that allows you to keep all events, tasks, lists and reminders in one place. It interfaces with Google Calendar, Exchange, iCloud, etc. It syncs to-do lists across devices and provides easy management of tasks, lists and notes. The calendar lets you plan daily, weekly or monthly. There is an “assistant” that uses AI to identify tasks it can do for you using a combination of humans and smart bots. It also includes a sharing function for lists and allows you to assign tasks to others. There is a limited free version. The premium version allows an unlimited number of devices, has more features, and, if prepaid for a year, breaks down to $2.24 per month.
Per its website, Rescue Time lets you master your work/life balance. It runs in the background of your desktop and mobile and automatically tracks the time you spend on various websites and apps. It spots inefficiencies throughout your day and helps you gain a better perspective on managing your time by setting goals and identify actions to take. The resource provides reports that show how you are using or wasting your time and makes recommendations on ways to be more productive. It also allows you to set alerts of “too much time in one place” and block distracting websites. The “Lite” version is free; the premium is most cost effective when purchased for $72 per year. There is also a version for organizations that supports multiple teams, generates reports that show and compare individual contributions, etc. and a high end “Enterprise” version that can be customized per organizational parameters.
There are multiple benefits when properly keeping track of and managing your time and there are a wide variety of apps that can help you keep your business running smoothly. Whether you need to break down large tasks, track your time, or be reminded of deadlines, there is an app to help you meet your goals.
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