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

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How to Organize Your Life in College

“We continue the way we start.” -Gretchen Rubin

Let’s create a time map for your first semester of college!

If you’re starting college next semester, chances are you are feeling INCREDIBLY nervous about this time.

Partly a good, I’m-so-excited, everything-is-going-to-be-so-much-fun, kind of nervous.

And partly an, oh-my-gosh-I-am-going-to-be-Responsible-for-feeding-myself-and-keeping-my-living-space-clean-and- waking-up-on-time-and-getting-things- done-all-by-myself kind of nervous.

Both are normal.

Both are fine.

You SHOULD be feeling this way!

But how DO you make sure that you get up on time every day, have reasonably healthy meals, get all of your work done, do your laundry, and everything else that comes along with being independent and on your own?

Two things: Time management and habits.

Those two concepts are basically married. You can’t have good time management without good habits, and you can’t form good habits without good time management.

So, where do you start? This is kind of a chicken and egg debate, but personally, I would start with the time management.

STEP 1: SCHEDULED TIME COMMITMENTS

Create a Time Map

Start by creating a weekly “time map.” Open Word or Excel and create a table or spreadsheet. If you’re creating a table, you’ll want it to be 8 columns x 33 rows for 30-minute increments or (if you’re a SUPER detailed person like *ahem* me) 8 columns by 65 rows for 15-minute increments. SIDE NOTE: Please check the math on that 🙂 You are just creating 2-4 rows per hour.

Limit Your Active Hours

However, you are purposefully going to leave eight hours out of your day. Try NOT to schedule anything outside of those rows. Of course, there will be events here and there that you don’t want to miss… that’s not what I’m talking about. Don’t schedule SCHOOLWORK for yourself outside of those hours. College is an easy time to work past midnight, but there is a time management rule that “work will expand to fit the amount of time.”

Tell your brain those sleeping hours are not even an option! If it thinks they are, you will get distracted more easily and procrastinate more. I PROMISE this is true. If you need to get it done, you can do it in the 16 hours of your waking day. I’ll show you how!

Add in Your Class Schedule

If you already have your class schedule, or if you have a job and you already know the hours you will need to work, or if you cheer or play softball or are on the golf team, and you know you will practice at a consistent time every day/week, go ahead and add in those times.

Add in Travel Time

Go ahead and block out some time for getting ready and travel time to get to your location. One of my biggest mistakes during my early years of college was scheduling my activities where they bumped right up against each other. Add in time to change clothes, find a parking space, will hit a bunch of red lights on your way there, be REALISTIC about the time it takes to get to each place!

Read: Tips for Balancing Grad School and Real Life

STEP 2: HEALTH TIME

Ok, so now that you have your commitments + get ready/travel time scheduled in, let’s look at what you truly need to live a healthy life. Physical needs come first. It’s hard to train your brain to think this way because there is little accountability for physical needs. No one else really knows if you ate Oreos for dinner, didn’t drink enough water, or only slept four hours last night.

YOU are usually the only one who knows and, a lot of times, the only one who cares. You have GOT to take care of your body. Buy your groceries intentionally. Find a few things that are the perfect balance of cost-effective and healthy, and stick to buying those items consistently.

Eating consistently in college was a HUGE challenge for me and, as a result, I fainted in not one, but two public places. YOU DO NOT WANT TO FAINT IN PUBLIC. I once fainted at the airport from not eating, but before I actually passed out, I was literally crawling on the floor because my body was too weak to do anything else. Talk about embarrassing.

Don’t put your body last. Take the time to eat and drink consistently. Take the time to get outside and walk/run every day, even if it’s just across campus. The more you take care of your body, the more focused your brain will be and the better your grades will be 🙂

Related: What to Carry in Your Backpack for College

STEP 3: “ADULTING” TIME

First of all, let me say that I kind of hate the term “adulting.” BUT I can’t find a better way to describe this stuff, so… “adulting” it is! OK, on your time map, you should now have times blocked out for your concretely-scheduled commitments and anything pertaining to your health. Next up, think about what you need to do to keep your home and life running. These are all the things that fall under the term “adulting.”

For example, paying your electricity bill, vacuuming your carpet, scheduling doctor appointments, taking out the trash, putting gasoline in your car, etc. Schedule these things in so that you can keep your life up and running. They are usually things that don’t take long but are kind of boring tasks.

I love the idea that Gretchen Rubin presents in Better Than Before of having a “Power Hour” once a week. On your least busy day of the week, schedule in one hour to power through your to-do list. This hour should NOT include studying, working, or exercise. It is 100% dedicated to errands, to-dos, tasks, phone calls, and other things that you tend to procrastinate.

Make a list to power through and set a timer for one hour. When the timer goes off, stop and resume with your normal life. During next week’s Power Hour, pick up where you left off 🙂

Read: Best College Habits

STEP 4: SOCIAL TIME

Your time map should have your scheduled commitments, health, and adult life things all scheduled in. Next up, make sure that you have about three social activities scheduled in. You are your own judge of this. If you are someone who tends to blow off studying to hang out with friends, then limit your social engagements so you have more time for studying.

If you are someone who naturally tends to spend more time alone, try to schedule at least three social times for the week, even if it’s just grabbing a cup of coffee and chatting for a few minutes with a classmate after class. It’s obviously not going to happen at the same time each week, but try to make sure you get out with friends 3 times each week!

Social relationships are SO important and you need them in college! Use your own judgment for this because everyone is different, but ensure that you have enough time to study, too! You need to balance both.

Related: How to Stay Organized in Online Classes (Tips from an Expert)

STEP 5: STUDY TIME

Get a “Study Planner”

I bought a cheap planner from Target so that I could completely designate it to study time. I called it my “study planner.” In that planner, I wrote all of my due dates for assignments. This way, you can scribble in all of your reading assignments without feeling like it’s too cluttered!

Plan Backward

Then, I planned backward… two days before an assignment was due, I would write something like “reread and final edit of ___ paper.” Three days before that, I would write “add citations to ___ paper.” I would keep planning backward and adding small, bite-sized tasks for big projects. About two weeks ahead, I would just write something (very low priority) like, “think about a topic for ___ paper” or “jot down ideas for ___ paper.”

By planning backward, I was able to think of the steps that I would need to complete for this assignment and then give myself a deadline to have each individual step complete. This kept me from just writing something broad like, “Write ___ paper” and procrastinating until the night before it was due. This also gave me control over the amount of time I needed to not feel rushed or stressed about assignments.

Plus, this allows you to just open your study planner and see a color-coded prioritized study list in front of you; no thinking about where to start. Set a timer and power through it! Schedule “study time” on your time map, then work from your prioritized list.

Read: How to Get Better Grades in College

STEP 6: HOBBY TIME

Now that you have your health, adulting, school/work, and social things in place, you can include fun on your time map 🙂 This includes any hobbies/interests that you have. Keep in mind that this will probably receive the smallest amount of scheduled time, and will most likely be the first thing that you cut out on busy weeks… but THAT IS OKAY. This is your lowest priority for now.

Include downtime things like reading for fun, painting, social media, volunteering, etc. In my life right now, this would include Junior League, this blog, or Instagram. Those are things that I love, but they’re also just for fun. They aren’t paying my bills, helping my health, or the health of my family.

When there is time to do these things, that’s great… but I’m also not going to freak out if I have to go a week without social media or if I have to pass on a couple of Junior League events. When my life calms back down, I’ll get back to those things. You can’t treat everything like a top priority. Decide now what can be the first to go and follow through on that decision when your time gets limited (which it will)!

Related: How to Prepare for a New Semester

STEP 7: ASSESS & ADJUST

Now that you’ve got everything in place, go back to your time map and look at how much blank space you’ve got in your week! Fill in the white boxes accordingly. I will really, REALLY encourage you to block out boxes for “social media” under “hobby time.”

Did you know the average American spends over 2 hours a day on social media?! That’s a full block of study time! Of course, you can learn so much from Instagram and YouTube… it’s not all mindless scrolling. But try to set boundaries so you don’t feel stressed later!

Read: How to Set and Follow Study Goals

I would love to see your time map once you’ve got it completed! You can share it on Instagram with the hashtag #organizedcharm, or describe it below! 🙂

What time management strategies do you use? What are your priorities 1-5?

Balancing Grad School and a Full-Time Job + FREE Block Schedule Planning Sheet

Tips for Balancing Grad School and a Full-Time Job
 
If you need tips for balancing grad school and a full-time job, you’ve come to the right place! Grad school is a pretty tough time in life because you typically have more responsibility than you did in undergrad. Maybe you’re paying your own tuition for the first time. Or your own rent. Or you now have a mortgage (or a marriage) or a baby. Maybe all of the above! 
 
And don’t forget about that full-time job you worked so hard to get straight out of college. Going back to school with the responsibility of adult life can be super challenging! Whatever the reason, the blend of college life and adult life can be a struggle for all of us.
 

Here are some ways that I learned to balance grad school and real life:


 
Tips for Time Management in Grad School
 

Manage your time:

Balancing grad school and a full-time job starts with you. You are the manager of your time. Your boss probably won’t care about you being behind in schoolwork, and your professor probably won’t care that you’re overloaded at work. It’s up to you to find the balance of your responsibilities. Set limits and stick to them!

Read: 5 Time Management Tips for College

 
Start by prioritizing your time between the two… Yes, they may both be important, but which one is more important to your long term plan? Most likely, you’re in grad school to help further your career. If that’s the case, school is your top priority. 
 
Don’t be afraid to let your employer know which days you need to leave early for class. But also, don’t try to do schoolwork during work hours! Have the mindset that work time is for work and school time is for school. Don’t forget to leave time for working out and socializing! 
 
A good planner can really help in this area! Here are a few of my favorites!
 

 
Study Skills for Grad School
 

Use effective studying skills:

Balancing grad school and a full-time job is all about studying efficiently. Since you have a limited amount of time to study, you want to make sure your studying techniques are as effective as they can possibly be! Write down what you will work on ahead of time. This way, when you sit down to work, you can start working right away!
 
The Study Tips page of this website is full of my favorite study techniques I’ve collected over the years! Here is my overall study routine: Have a prioritized and detailed list before you ever sit down. 
 
-Set a timer for a certain amount of time. 
-Say NO to any and every distraction that comes your way during that time. 
-When your timer goes off, write down a detailed list of the next steps you need to take on this assignment. 
-That will be your prioritized and detailed list for the beginning of your next study session! 
 
Continue this cycle religiously, even using the same time and location! Consistency is key to creating new routines!
 

 
how to get organized for grad school
 

Find a great home organization system:

The final piece to balancing full-time work/school and normal life is to find a quick and efficient home organization system. I like FlyLady’s system because she just says to do a little bit every day. 
 
She has a free app that works as a recurring checklist you can use on your phone! Plus, you can edit it to fit whatever daily chores/routines you need in your own life (“feed the dog”, “file papers”, etc.). 
Also, this simple technique is my Holy Grail of home (and life) organization!
 
 
The key to balancing several different areas of life is to make sure you’re maximizing your productivity and not procrastinating

Read 8 Anti-Procrastination Strategies


 
By having these three things consistently in place, you’ll have more time to spend with friends and family (or secretly binging your favorite series on Netflix)! 🙂 
 
 
productivity tips for grad school
 

What tips do you have for balancing full-time work and school? Share them below! 

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