10 Free Time Management Tools That Will Change the Way You Work

In the past 10 years technology has made many processes more efficient and transparent, but managing our lives in this digital age can still be overwhelming.  On a daily basis we’re inundated with emails, notifications, status updates, and reminders.  For these and many other reasons, we wanted to share a list of the best apps for eliminating wasted time, simplifying daily routines, and providing useful information about work habits.

1. Focus@Will – Free 30 Day Trial

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Focus@Will is a neuroscience and psychology based music platform for both computer and mobile. It’s built to increase productivity and reduce distractions.  Work periods are scientifically broken down into 100 minute intervals, and have a specific purpose for each song within that time period.

A useful tool if you enjoy listening to music, but find yourself distracted by your selection. There’s also a productivity monitor that prompts you after each session, letting you further customize the experience and increase productivity.

If you’re feeling particularly scientific, check out their post breaking down the science behind their product.

2. Pocket – Free with Upgrade Options Available

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Created in 2007, Pocket is a free web and mobile app that streamlines article reading and sharing.  Once you login to Pocket, articles or videos are accessible across platforms, and are structured in an easy to read format with two settings: light for more common and everyday reading, and dark for reading at night when you don’t want to assault the eyes with a bright light.

This app is useful for those of us who receive daily emails full of interesting articles that we just don’t have the time to read, but don’t want to forget about later.  The user-friendly interface and easy share options provide a much more efficient reading digital reading experience. Furthermore, Pocket will send you occasional emails containing articles similar to the ones that you import.

3. LastPass – Free with Upgrade Options Available

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This software offers a simplified experience with your password creation and retention.  It’s particularly useful for maintaining your online security.  The app offers integration into your web browser and will help you create unique passwords that most hacking softwares would have trouble with.

Once you’ve created your LastPass account, it’s accessible across platforms and uses local only decryption of your password before being sent into LastPass’ servers.  This is important, because your sensitive information never leaves your computer.  So, by using LastPass, you won’t have to spend time thinking of which password correlates to which account, because it’s all in one secure location.

4. Evernote – Free with Upgrade Options Available

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Collecting, structuring, searching, organizing, and sharing information for your workspace are all benefits users of Evernote enjoy.  Evernote’s note taking and organizing platform has become pretty robust over the years and now has the ability to import and organize voice notes, speeches, and even recordings of meetings.

The most beneficial aspect of this software is its integration across platforms. It provides a simple way to research and share information for personal or team based projects.

Recently, Evernote has paired up with LinkedIn replacing the app, CardMunch, to provide a simple way to store business card information.  This useful feature removes a step that can be incredibly tedious: manually adding a new contact’s information into your computer.

5. MyLifeOrganized – Free with Upgrade Options Available

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Task management softwares are increasingly necessary.  Many of the things we need to do, we won’t remember unless reminded, and that is where MLO comes in.  This is a cross platform integrated software with available cloud synchronization that allows the user to create a hierarchy of responsive tasks capable of adjusting to updates in email or geo-location information.

The integration of this software is quick, convenient, and relevant, but its functionality doesn’t come cheap.

6. Mind 42 – Free with Option to Pay to Remove Ads from Sidebar 

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Unique in its capabilities and applications, Mind 42 was created to help you map out your thought processes.  Type out your thoughts as they evolve in relation to a topic or project, you can easily see where your mind went, why it went there, and how you can adapt or continue your thought methods.  Additionally, the functionality and user interface of this app is wonderfully crafted and creates a functional and pleasant work space that encourages the user to interact with the different functions and to type out and expand their ideas.

Furthermore, there is another aspect to this app that makes it effective for its price point.  The sharing option allows you to show a group where their thoughts changed and how their thought process evolved and changed.  This has become a popular method of annotating a group projects in education, but the application can be useful in multiple settings.  The only difficulty I foresee would be regarding integration.  Employers and employees often have a significant amount of software they are obligated to use, and adding another sign up and webpage could be a barrier to use.

7. Toggl – Free with Upgrade Options Available

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This user-friendly software helps people track the time they work.  Its usability is increased by its prevalence, it’s accessible through web browsers, a Google Chrome extension, and IOS/Android apps.  It’s rare to have an app that is so functional and prolific, that’s also free.

These beautifully designed reports are wonderful both aesthetically and functionally, because they break everything down specifically and simply and are easy to share in multiple formats.  All in all, a great productivity app – adding a red panda never hurts either.

8. Dropbox – Free with Upgrade Options Available

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You’ve probably experienced the disappointment of a bounced email when you tried to send ninety-five pictures and two videos of your friend’s new kitten to all of your friends.

It feels redundant to say, only because Dropbox has been a consistently great productivity tool since 2008, but Dropbox is an amazingly helpful tool when sharing large files that will not fit into an email.  Additionally, you have access to all files on the your Dropbox server as long as you have an internet connection.

That combined with their wonderfully simple and minimal user interface makes it easy to use and share with others.  Also, two gigabytes of free cloud storage is a pretty good deal, particularly when you invite friends and they join (Dropbox gifts you more storage for free if friends join!).

9. RescueTime – Free with Upgrade Options Available

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Do you know what your time thieves are?  If so, what are you doing to avoid using them as much?  This is where RescueTime can help.  This software runs in the background of your computer during the workday, and tracks where and how you spend your time on your computer or smartphone.  In order for this to work, however, you need to download the app online.

The user interface is solid and easy to use.  It gives you a series of options depending on your desire for the amount of information you want it to report and you can further customize these reports as you become more comfortable with the software.  With the paid version you can even ban yourself from certain sites that you know are consistent distractors, if you choose.

10. Hootsuite – Free with Upgrade Options Available

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This social media sharing software has become quite a useful tool, especially with their updated user interface.  This is the only other tool that I have seen utilize a Google Chrome extension app as well as Toggl.  The extension allows for a much more native and fluid method of sharing things socially.

There are also tabs that you can create in your “streams” page, which easily allows you to separate and interact with the different social streams you may have.  This is an incredibly useful tool because it easily separates and prioritizes the large amounts of information that are received by social networks, which can become quite complicated to manage in a single page view.

One word of advice, however, is to not use the bulk uploader (paid version).  While this allows you to push content out quickly and in massive quantities, it does not always have your post show up the way you would like it to.  Sometimes pictures will be reduced to links that people have to click in order to view the picture that was supposed to be placed with the post.  Just something to be aware of.

Conclusion:

Technology obviously has no intentions of becoming less integrated in our lives, so it is important for us to maintain our productivity amidst the ever rising clutter of distracting applications and updates.  The above applications all show promise of creating a more efficient and productive work environment, which is a nice shift in direction when compared with something like Flappybird.  Not that games aren’t fun or useful, but for those of us who enjoy getting work done, it is nice to feel as if there are useful apps for that too.

Additionally, we are excited to launch the beta app of our software here at Skejul, and are even more excited to have you try it!  So please feel free to sign up for a download of our beta here!