Human Resources

7 Free-time Management Tools

Time is money, so if you’re wasting time, you’re losing money. These tools will help you keep track of tasks, see where you’re spending too much time and manage your daily activities online.

We waste more time than we realize, switching between projects, checking email and trying to re-invent wheels that already exist. Using these online resources, you can save time and spend it where you need it most.

1. Google Tools

We waste more time than we realize, switching between projects, checking email and trying to re-invent wheels that already exist. Using these online resources, you can save time and spend it where you need it most.

Google Mail has the feature of organizing emails into multiple inboxes, so, for example, if you want to easily find emails relating to business travel, you can create an inbox called “Travel” and sort emails as such. Saves time searching for emails among thousands.

Google Calendar syncs to your phone, so, no matter where you are, you can receive meeting updates. Accept a Google Calendar invite directly from your mail and it is sent instantly to your web-based calendar. Saves time copying and pasting meeting info from email to calendar.

Google Docs allow easy sharing of documents. All invited users can edit a document, and there is none of that confusion about which version you’re emailing. Saves time emailing attachments and sending the wrong version.

2. 37Signals Tools

The 37Signals tools suite is similarly popular to Google: Highrise, Basecamp, Backpack and Campfire. All offer free (limited) versions that are suitable for most small businesses.

Highrise helps organize contacts and notes in one place. You can assign tasks from each contact (“follow up with Jan on the contract in 2 weeks”), which are sent directly to your email/calender. Saves time searching for handwritten notes and computer documents.

Basecamp organizes your projects. Assign tasks to employees, track milestones and write notes in one place. Employees can track time spent on a given project here too. Saves time emailing individual assignments and losing track of who’s doing what.

Backpack lets your team share files, schedules and notes together. By keeping them in one place, all can access virtually; everyone has the same information and nothing is lost. Saves time avoiding useless meetings.

Campfire is instant messaging for groups. So instead of getting distracted by your Twitter stream, you can chat with your team members and focus on your work. Saves time not wandering off on social media tangents.

3. Toggl

Track your time on different projects with Toggl. Team members can access their accounts on their computers or phones, and you can monitor which projects are taking longer than they should. Saves time by showing where the time suck occurs and fixing it.

4. Evernote

If you’re known for writing on bits of paper and losing them, Evernote will save loads of time. Record notes, add links and bookmark pages to look at later, either on a computer or phone. You can even record a voice note through a mobile app. Saves time looking for that scrap of paper you wrote on.

5. LastPass

How many minutes have you wasted searching old emails for passwords to websites? Tools like LastPass can keep all your passwords safe and ready to use when you need them. Saves time resetting your password and waiting for the confirmation email.

6. RescueTime

If you’re worried about your employees wasting time, use RescueTime to track them. You can track where employees are spending their time online and how long they’re spending on the tasks you have assigned to them. There’s a free trial, and plans start at $6 a month. Saves time your employees are wasting, unmonitored.

7. ToDoIst

If managing your to do list is a challenge, ToDoIst will keep track of your tasks. You can send them to your calendar, set deadlines and access them from your phone.

More Tips for Time Management

In addition to the online tools listed here, there are other ways to improve your time management skills:

  • Designate times to check your email 2-4 times a day maximum.
  • Limit social media usage to a specific time of day, and for less than 1 hour.
  • Focus on one project and finish your task before moving to the next.
  • Chart where you are spending your time and see where you can stop wasting