15 Free Time Management Tools and 5 Tips to Use them Effectively

15 Free Time Management Tools and 5 Tips to Use them EffectivelyI know you’re out there trying to make the most of your time and money. Luckily you don’t need to spend a dime to stay organized and get things done. There are plenty of free time management tools available.

Most time management tips revolve around the use of a simple prioritized to-do list, and a calendar to help drive an effective use of your time.

I realize to make this work, most people in the corporate world will probably use some combination of MS Outlook Calendar and Tasks (or a simple text editor). Most “offline” people likely use a simple piece of paper and a daily planner to manage their time.

But what about freelancers? Or what if the offline folks are looking to come online, but don’t have access to Outlook? What are some good options for them?

I did some research and discovered (thanks to FreelanceSwitch.com and go2web20.net) that there are actually a ton of free online time management tools. Here’s some of the one’s that looked worth while. All should be free or in some type of beta.

Free Online To Do Lists

Todoist features a simple and intuitive interface that helps you get organized without getting in your way. You can also use keyboard shortcuts to achieve blazing efficiency.” It also comes with a built-in calendar. http://todoist.com

Ta-da List is the web’s easiest to-do list tool. Make lists for yourself or share them with others. It couldn’t be simpler.” This also works on a mobile browser. Looks pretty lean and mean. Nice app. http://tadalist.com/

Evernote allows you to easily capture information in any environment using whatever device or platform you find most convenient, and makes this information accessible and searchable at any time, from anywhere.” This is a very popular tool. Probably the most recognizable of the bunch here. http://www.evernote.com/

ForceDo is a free online to do list. You can add as many tasks as you want and start a timer which will force you to get things done. ForceDo will help you beat your procrastination.” This is another tool that uses the getting things done methods.

Remember the Milk helps you manage tasks quickly and easily. Get reminded, anywhere. Organize the way you want to. Locate your tasks. Work together to get things done. Add tasks wherever you are.” This looks to be a great tool for task management. If you’re looking for something compatible with other programs choose this one, http://www.rememberthemilk.com/

Free Online Calendars (and more)

30 Boxes is touted as the World’s best online calendar. It comes with access to your own calendar page that allows you to quickly add in your calendar items. The tool does a lot more and is big on connectivity with friends and family. http://30boxes.com/

Google Calendar allows you to create events, set reminders, connect with others. This tool does it all and if you’re already a Gmail user, it makes the most sense to go with this calendar. http://www.google.com/calendar

Matchbox Calendar is an online calendar which allows you to share and plan events in your life.Plan events, Read news, Organize timetables, Arrange meetings, Integrate your calendar, Share your calendar with friends.”

My Memorizer is a reminding service.You add events on important dates or subscribe to shared groups. myMemorizer will then send you a reminder as an e-mail or as a SMS/Text Message to your cellphone.” http://www.mymemorizer.com/

Soshiku is a simple but powerful tool that manages your high school or college assignments. Soshiku keeps track of when your assignments are due and can even notify you via email or SMS.” http://www.soshiku.com/

Free Online Time Tracking

RescueTime is a tool that allows you to easily understand and optimize how you and/or your team spends their time and attention. You install a small application on the computer and they magically track what software and which web sites are actively being used.” http://www.rescuetime.com/

Free Online Project Management

Thymer is currently in beta. I’m not a project manager, but this tool looks really cool. “Thymer has a novel one-page-design, uses Natural Language Processing to figure out what you want, and has a lightweight, intuitive and powerful interface that makes common tasks as simple as humanly possible. http://www.thymer.com/

Vitalist allows you to easily organize your actions and projects online based on the getting things done concept. Has a nice iPhone app to accompany the tool. The free version is somewhat limited. http://vitalist.com/

More Free Time Management Tools

Nirvana is all about getting things out of your head and into a trusted system, then effortlessly drilling down to the thing you should be doing right now.” http://www.nirvanahq.com/

Superminder is a micro-application that will make sure you don’t forget. To-do’s are too simple, calendars are overly complex, sometimes you just need to be reminded.”

5 Time Management Tips

We’re all getting busier it seems. We cram more and more into each day. Me, I have a full-time career, I’m a husband and new Dad, and I use my spare time to work on my personal finance blog. Sometimes I feel like time is managing me, not the other way around. It can be frustrating.

But, because I know this happens to us all occasionally, I thought I’d refresh myself and you on some of the best productivity tips around. Let’s get back on track together. You’ll need two things: a blank sheet of paper (or a simple text editor), and a daily calendar.

1. Create a Priority List – First, take time right now to create a simple to-do list. Write down all of the things that you need to get done. Be sure and add things that need to be completed now, as well as things that can wait a while. Some people suggest using a mind map to get everything out.

Now that you have a list of things to do, assign a priority to each one. Use a simple “ABC/123″ format to get this done. “A” can represent your most urgent, most important items. Use “B” for those things that are important, but might not be urgent. Lastly, use “C” to identify things that aren’t that important or urgent, but that you’d like to get done, time permitting. The “1,2,3,…” can be used to further prioritize the items within each category.

2. Fill Up Your Calendar – Next, take your list and fill up your daily calendar with these items. Your calendar should already have your appointments and meetings, so just fill in the gaps with these to-do items. Use a conservative approach and be realistic about the time it will take to complete your tasks. Build in plenty of buffer for breaks, emergencies, and interruptions.

3. Plan for Tomorrow Today – Be sure to build in a few minutes at the end of your day to plan for the next. During this time, reference your prioritized to-do list (to note which items you haven’t completed) and fill out the next day’s activity.

4. Eat the Biggest Frog First – When putting the to-do items on your calendar, be conscious of when you’re most productive. Since most of us are most productive first thing in the morning, it’s best to schedule your most difficult tasks then. But you know when you’re most productive. So, plan to work on your most difficult tasks then.

5. Fight Back Against Barriers – Lastly, make a quick list of your biggest time management barriers and decide on an action to fight back. Common barriers include: interruptions, lack of organization, perfectionism, inability to say no, etc. Barriers can’t be totally prevented, but we can take steps to avoid them or at least minimize their impact.

Do you use any of these tools, or know of more free online time management tools? I’d love to hear your thoughts on time management in the comments below.

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Last Edited: April 23, 2013 @ 2:30 pm
About Philip Taylor

Philip Taylor, aka "PT", is a husband and father of two. He created PT Money back in 2007 to share his thoughts on money and to meet others passionate about managing their finances. All the content on this blog is original, and created or edited by PT. Read more about Philip Taylor, and be sure to connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, or view the Philip Taylor+ Google profile.

Comments

  1. Great list, I have a real problem with time management mostly because I want to do everything and dont prioritize my goals. I have tried a number of the things you listed here and havent improved much but I dont really put a ton of effort into it..I dont have time for that ;)

    RescueTime is pretty awesome though in tracking, I like to see how I compare with others.

  2. Cool list…I’m a paper calendar guy myself but trying to get more high tech.

  3. I’m going to go crazy and post a recommendation for a competitor. If you want to know how you are actually spending your time (which is key to understanding how to use it more effectively) TimeSnapper is a very good free tool.

    I do actually prefer the tool I wrote myself (Qlockwork), but then I would wouldn’t I? And that’s not free.

  4. Tiffany Willis says:

    I’ve heard a lot of good things about RememberTheMilk. I think I’m going to check it out.

  5. Thank you for this great list. I will try some of these for sure!

  6. Nice list. Time management is more efficient if you rely on a tool that tracks your time accurately.I have to agree that all the software listed above are great time monitoring tool especially if you manage a team or running an outsourcing business. But I think you missed something to the list, although all these software are just the same but “Time Doctor” has a unique way to monitor our time. The major feature of Time Doctor that is not available in other software is the priority feature and the ability to know how much of the day a person is focusing on their priorities. It’s one thing to reduce wasted time such as visiting Facebook or Youtube.

  7. phicksteven says:

    Wonderful resources for time tracking and management. From these list of tools I have used most of the tools. But practically there is one more tool which could also be considered to be included in this list, the cloud based hours tracking tool from Replicon ( http://www.replicon.com/olp/hours-tracking-software.aspx ). The hassle free experienced tool featured with the calendar based and user friendly interface streamline the time management.

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  9. chaitalisinha8 says:

    Great list for sure still I find that a great and simple hassle free tool that I liked a lot has been Replicon’s cloud based project time management software. It is pretty hassle free and can be quickly implemented too. I think you should definitely include it in your nice list.

  10. JimmyWills says:

    Nice article Philip, I’d recommend to try Proofhub time management tool as well. Must deserves a place in your list. Highly recommended :)