Why would I want to manage my time?
Firstly, you might wonder why you’d want to manage your time! Well, managing your time has many widely documented benefits, including:
- Knowing where and how you spend your time
- Increased productivity
- Identifying distractions
- Knowing when you’re most productive
- Being more focused
- Not overworking
Maintaining a better work-life balance.
Rescue Time runs in the background on your computer to automatically monitor the time you spend on each program and website—and tell you where you’re spending your time. Rescue Time is my favourite time management app, as the free version offers all of this:
- Daily, weekly, and monthly basic and more in-depth reports, including an end-of-week email.
- A simple dashboard where you can see your time spent in a pie chart and percentage graph, plus the actual hours and minutes spent on each area and task.
- The ability to choose a category and productivity/distracting rating for each program.
- Shows you how much of your time was productive and how much you were distracted—and the times of day you are most productive.
- Compares your number of working hours today to yesterday, or this week to last week, and so on.
Paid version: The premium version costs $72 a year and offers focus sessions, distraction blockers, and alerts, and tracks your time away from the computer, among other things.
Available for: iOS and Android phones; web browsers; OS X, Windows, and Linux.
Ideal for: Individuals, freelancers, entrepreneurs, and home workers.
Toggl aims to be the simplest time tracker to boost productivity for businesses. A simple alternative to using timesheets, you simply click a button to monitor your time spent on various projects. The basic version includes:
- Set up projects, assign responsibilities, and see the progress.
- Check on timelines and budgets for projects.
The paid version includes:
- Being able to manage your team’s time.
- Seeing how profitable the company is.
- Seeing which employees are most productive.
Paid version: There’s a free version for up to five team members, a 30-day free trial of the paid version, and starter ($9 per user, per month), premium ($18), and enterprise ($49) versions.
Available for: iOS and Android phones, Chrome and Mozilla web browsers, and desktop app.
Ideal for: Businesses who want to switch from timesheets to something that offers better business intelligence insights.
Like the previous two apps, Timely tracks your time spent reactively, but it also enables you to proactively organise your working week. You can plan your week in advance, estimate how long you’ll need for each task, then compare it to how long the task really took. This helps you manage your time better and more realistically in the future.
Paid version: There is no free version, and the paid versions range from $15 per month per bookable staff calendar to $20 for sales options, and tailored options for large businesses.
Available for: iOS and web browsers.
Ideal for: Big businesses who want to be proactive, not reactive.
Manic Time operates on the same principles as Rescue Time, offering very similar options only with a more complex-looking dashboard and less options available in the free version than Rescue Time’s free version. The benefits of Manic Time include:
- An option for individuals and for teams.
- The ability to easily reports to Excel or other programs for invoicing.
- Easy integration with other systems such as Jira or GitHub.
- A stopwatch option to manually track time as well as automatic tracking.
- The possibility to record company-wide data.
- Managers can track their employees’ time spent and working hours.
Paid version: The Pro version is $67 a year for one license, but only $25 dollars each for 100 licenses. There’s also a 15-day free trial of the Pro version included in the free version.
Available for: iOS and Android phones; OS X, Windows, and Linux.
Ideal for: Workplaces with multiple staff, improving company-wide productivity.
Focus Booster is a simple app where you set yourself focus sessions based on the Pomodoro time management technique (25 minutes focus, then take a break). Taking breaks improve your work-life balance. The app also offers:
- A simple dashboard to monitor your time.
- Simple reports.
- Instant timesheets.
- Manual time entry.
- The ability to generate invoices.
Paid version: There’s a starter (free) version, an individual version ($2.99 per month, 200 sessions), and a professional version ($4.99 per month).
Available for: iOS app version and software version.
Ideal for: Individuals, students, freelancers, or consultants who procrastinate or struggle to focus.