Best Time Management App List 2020

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!

best time manage app 2020

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!

  1. Define your activities
  2. Plan your time
  3. Organize your environment
  4. Be effective with your time
  5. 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:

  1. Work
  2. Being a mom & wife
  3. Writing a blog
  4. Gym time
  5. Tutoring before & after school

For you, the list may look like:

  1. Classes
  2. Studying
  3. Church
  4. Work
  5. Friends

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!

how to create a time map

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!

best time management app TimeTree

Time management app for this: TimeTree

Cost: Free

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!

Best time management app: TickTick

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)
Best Time Management App LifeCycle

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!

Best Apps: Sanvello

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.

Conclusion

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!!

Best time management app 2020

Questions? Ideas? Suggestions? Add them in the comments section below!

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Forming Good Habits is Easier Than You Think. Start with These 3!

“Keeping up is easier than catching up.” -Gretchen Rubin
productivity tips, how to start good habits, organization blogs, time management

I love this quote. In her book, Better Than Before, Gretchen Rubin talks about habit formation. In this quote specifically, she discusses how it is easier to form good habits by doing small tasks each day to “keep up,” rather than setting aside all of the tasks for the end of the week and then “catching up.”

Here are some examples:

1. Cleaning out your Purse/Backpack/Car

This is sometimes one of the hardest things to do. Sometimes I let a little receipt or paper go here or there. Then another, and before I know it when I pull out my wallet at the grocery store, a dozen tiny papers come fluttering out all over the floor. This is called the Broken Windows Theory- when we start letting little things go, they lead to bigger things.

To form the good habit of keeping your purse/backpack clean, designate a day week to clean it out. Make it a point to not let anything that would be considered trash or clutter build up in these places! Remind yourself that it is easier to take a few seconds to throw that receipt in the trash, or bring that empty water bottle to the recycling now than it is to set aside time to clean out your purse, backpack, or car.

2. Clothes

A few weeks ago, I wrote about developing a system for keeping your closets organized long-term. It can be hard to form good habits when it comes to our closets! Short-term organization requires a setting aside a day to make everything look neat and orderly, only to have it end up sloppy and cluttered again two months from now.

Long-term organization requires setting up a system and using self-control/habits to maintain it. People often get frustrated with short-term organization, because they can’t maintain the beautiful environment they’ve created. I said all that to say this, put your clothes away (closet, dresser, or laundry) every time you change 🙂

3. Clear to Neutral

Form the good habit of Clear to Neutral and your life will be SO MUCH MORE ORGANIZED!! This is another topic I’ve written an entire post about. “Clear to Neutral” is one of my favorite systems. Basically, it means to leave each space the way that you want to find it next time. When you finish working on your laptop, make sure it’s charged for the next time you use it, close any documents/websites you have open, and put it away (either on the charger or wherever it lives).

This way, the next time you need to work on it, you can get straight to work without needing to rummage around for the charger or getting distracted by the windows you left open on it last time.

productivity tip, good habits, Gretchen Rubin, Gretchen Rubin quotes, productivity

Forming good habits can be hard and it takes time. People used to think it took 21-28 days to form a new habit, but recent research is showing it’s closer to 66!

Baby steps lead to progress. Just starting these three habits TODAY, you can make sure that your life is more orderly and organized. My favorite app for habit formation/tracking is called Productive. It allows you to create a habit, specifying how often and what time of day you want to do it. Then it gives you a recurring to-do list of your habits every day. It shows you data on each habit, and how many “perfect” days you have 🙂

What are some baby step habits that make you feel more efficient and put-together? Share them in the comments below! Be sure to follow @organizedcharm on Instagram for more productivity tips! And if you’re interested in reading Better Than Before, check it out below!

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How I Keep My Email Inbox at 0

Today, I thought I would share my email system with you!

Let me start by saying… I am not the biggest fan of emails in general. If my inbox is not always at zero, I feel a tiny bit of stress. 

(I guess that’s better than letting it get to 2,000 and not caring, right?)

When I tell people this, they a) look at me like I’m nuts and b) ask me how I do it. 


So this is how I do it:


1. I Use Gmail

Or “Google Mail”, for those who may be technologically un-savvy (*ahem* my husband). This is one of my favorite apps out there! I keep it front and center on my phone where I can make sure there are no little red bubbles waiting for me! 

2. I Use the Gmail App

I love the app because I get notifications of new emails in real time. I used to use the 5S rule for answering emails (5 sentences or less) and it worked really well! However, at this new job, the emails that we all write are a little longer (and more polite), which is totally fine, too! I just block out a little time to sit down at a real computer if I need to write multiple paragraphs! 

3. I Keep Gmail Accounts Separate

I have been using gmail for my personal account for years. This past year, my school switched over all of our school emails to gmail (haaal-le-lu-jah) and it has made life SO much easier! All I have to do to flip between the two accounts is click on them in the top right corner- no signing in or out! 🙂 


4. I Keep Email Alerts On

I like my emails to be as “in my face” as possible when I look at my phone. I have them set to do the whole “pop up” thing with a snippet of the content. This way, I am forced to deal with it right away. 

(Related: Is Your Planner System Working Best for YOU?)


5. I Star Emails That Require Action

When I get an email that I can’t deal with right away, I star it. If it’s to me personally, I might write the person back and let them know I’ll work on it and when it will be ready. Then it drives me crazy until I can finally complete whatever task was needed. I use these as a working to-do list throughout the day/week and I can’t wait to get rid of them!

(Related: How to Prep Your Planner for Finals NOW!)

6. I Unsubscribe ALL the Time

It seems like overtime you order anything online these days, they somehow use that to wrangle you onto their email list. Every month, I make a point to unsubscribe from a certain number of email subscriptions. Save your favorites, of course! 

(Related: Monthly Decluttering Checklist)


7. I Archive Everything

I learned this when I used to work for attorneys. NEVER DELETE AN EMAIL. After you’ve dealt with it, archive it. Then you can always go back and search for it again in the archive search feature. Exception to this rule: advertisements (unsubscribe then delete)!

8. Inbox 0 is Always My Goal

Goals are everything. I am always working toward reaching Inbox 0 throughout the day. I’ve found that, if I have this expectation for myself, it’s much easier to achieve it! If that’s too stressful, start out with Inbox 10 or Inbox 5 and try to slowly make your goal lower and lower!

(Related: 5 Anti-Procrastination Tips to Improve Your Week!)


Also, if you don’t use gmail at your work or school, you can always use the POP feature (under gmail settings) to forward emails from your other email address to your gmail account. I’ve done that before, too, and it’s way easier than checking three different accounts every day! 

I’m sure there are some real rules out there for keeping up with emails, but these are just the things that have worked best for me! 🙂 

What tips/tricks do you have for staying on top of your emails? Share them below!!