Finding the best time management apps can be a challenge. Every one has a different ideas of what “works” and what’s “effective.” When I look for a time management app, whether it’s a daily routine app or a calendar, I look for something to keep me on task, send me reminders, and you know… look pretty 🙂
My road to time management proficiency was a rocky one. I was homeschooled until high school. I never had to keep up with homework, quiz dates, chapter readings, etc. When I started high school, I cried almost daily because I didn’t how to study effectively or manage my time. It wasn’t until college that I started to set myself up with systems that would keep me on track no matter what!
By the time I hit grad school, I was a time management pro! I was student teaching, studying, newlywed, living in a house that was for sale, and trying to maintain a somewhat relevant social life! That’s when/why I started this blog! And here we are 🙂 So, when people ask me: “What are the best time management apps for college students?” I’ve got quite a few suggestions!!
“Time management” is the process of organizing and planning how to divide your time between specific activities. Good time management enables you to work smarter – not harder – so that you get more done in less time, even when time is tight and pressures are high. Failing to manage your time damages your effectiveness and causes stress.MindTools.com
So, let’s break apart this definition of time management and apply it to your life!
- Define your activities
- Plan your time
- Organize your environment
- Be effective with your time
- Manage your stress
Define Your Activities
The first step to good time management is to define what’s important to you. I once heard that we can do about five life activities well. Think about what yours are. For me, this looks like:
- Being a mom & wife
- Writing a blog
- Gym time
- Tutoring before & after school
For you, the list may look like:
If you find you have more than five major life activities, it may be time to cut down some time spent on things. For example, I’m currently in Junior League. But it just isn’t a high enough priority to make my “top 5.” Knowing that, I submitted my resignation for it last month. I don’t believe in doing things half-heartedly or being busy for busy-ness sake.
You may also find that you need to eliminate some things- and that’s ok! It’s ok to do less in order accomplish things more effectively!
Plan Your Time
Now it’s time to put those times into your calendar! I like to use a “time map” for this step. Here is a step-by-step tutorial on how to create a time map. Your time map will allow you to map out your weekly schedule! Remember to start with the activities that are most important to you! And remember to be realistic about how much time you need for driving, sleeping, getting ready, etc. Leaving a bit of “transition time” will keep you from feeling stressed!
Time management app for this: TimeTree
TimeTree is by far my favorite calendar app! And believe me, I have tried a LOT of calendar apps! I just wanted something that was simple to use, could be color-coded, and had pretty colors 🙂 TimeTree delivers all those things, and also has the capability of being a shared calendar. You can schedule long-term tasks, and even “keep” events that don’t have a date yet! This app is so positively reviewed! Perfect for college & grad students, and busy families!
Organize Your Activities
So, organizing your activities would include keeping an effective to-do list or keeping up with your progress on different tasks. Everything fits neatly into your schedule, and now you need a way to keep up with your progress. Make sure you update this information daily so you don’t waste time figuring out where to start next time!
Time management app for this: TickTick
Cost: Free ($2.40/m Premium subscription available, but I don’t have that)
No, not TikTok (which is probably the opposite a productive app). TickTick is a SUPER simple to-do list app that makes it easy to quickly add tasks and send yourself reminders to do them! It’s kind of like the Reminders app on the iPhone, but I find it easier to set due dates on TickTick. I have the regular (aka free) version, but the Premium version shows all kinds of graphs and insights about your task management, too!
Be Effective with Your Time
When I think about being effective with time, I think about actually having the energy and focus to do each thing. Make sure you have things scheduled at times that you’ll actually get them done. For example, don’t schedule a 5:00 AM spin class in your time map if you know you’re not a morning person! Schedule activities at realistic times for you to accomplish them!
What does research say about the best time of day to do things? A lot!
Here’s a quick list of the “best times of day” to do all kinds of things!
- The best time of day to accomplish “work” is between 8AM-12PM. This is when your brain is most alert. Productivity is highest on Mondays and drops daily throughout the week. We also accomplish more in the Fall and Summer than we do in Spring. Winter is the least productive month. (Source: Quartz at Work)
- The best time of day to handle household chores/cleaning is 4:00PM. Your hand-eye coordination is most effective and your brain is starting to take a break from all it’s hard work in the morning. (Source: CNN.com)
- The best time of day to exercise is between 1:00PM-4:00PM. Although, there is also a lot of research showing that morning workouts are also effective for helping you focus throughout the day and sleep better. Most importantly, squeeze in at least 20 minutes of exercise whenever you can! Any time is better than no time!! (Source: Time.com)
- The best amount of time to spend on creative work is 90 minutes. It could be right after waking for you or at night, but schedule in 90-minute blocks of time to work on your creative projects! (Source: PsychologyToday)
- The best time of day to study is 5AM-10AM or 5:00PM-9:00PM. These are times with the fewest distractions. This is also perfect for both full-time students and night students (with adult jobs)! (Source: Quora.com)
Time management app for this: LifeCycle
Cost: Free ($9.99/m Premium subscription available, but I don’t have that)
LifeCycle is a super cool app that runs in your background all the time. It uses your location to determine how much time you spend on various activities! According to their website, this app only uses 1% of your phone’s battery. I downloaded this one over a year ago, so I now have a donut showing how I spent my time for the whole year! It also tells you “trends” about how you’re spending your time. I highly recommend it!!
Manage Your Stress
The final part of effective time management is to manage your stress. Keeping your time balanced is a great way to reduce stress! Those 12-hour study sessions? They’re the enemy of a calm mindset! Instead, plan studying or work on projects for short increments of time over a longer period of time. Use a long-term project-planner to help with this!
Time management app for this: Sanvello
Cost: Free ($8.95/m Premium subscription available, but I don’t have that)
Sanvello used to be called Pacifica. What I love about this app is that it has several different activities you can use to manage stress, anxiety, and depression. You can do a weekly check-in, get your “score” for the week, and then do the suggested activities. It also asks how much time you spent on various mental health activities each day, such as time with friends, exercise, or time outside. It also gives you insights/trends over time. Super great for self-cultivation and maintaining a balanced, positive mindset.
Effective time management comes from prioritizing your activities, scheduling into your day/week at effective times, and giving yourself starting and ending times. Keep your workload low by using these tips to plan ahead! Finally, manage your stress with frequent reflections and practicing mindfulness. We’ve all got busy lives, but you are in charge of how you manage your life. YOU GOT THIS!!
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