The best personal time-management tools can make juggling a hectic schedule way easier, which means you get more time to do what matters most to you. To make sure you spend more of that time on doing the important stuff and less on searching for tools to help you manage it, we’ve put together a list of the best time-management apps of 2018 that can help you achieve a better work-life balance.
Complete with full reviews and options for both iOS and Android, this list will set you up to be a time-management master. We even included alternatives within the key app categories because we want to help you find the best match for your unique needs.
The Best Time-Management Apps for Any Device
Below are the best time-management apps for Android, iOS, and more broken down by category. This way, you know exactly what they offer and can get the one that fits your device, preferences, and budget.
Here are the categories we’re covering:
- Calendar apps for scheduling ease
- Project-management apps for handling ongoing commitments
- Apps that sync your devices for optimal efficiency across platforms
- Multi-feature time-management apps that increase productivity and decrease wasted time
5 Calendar apps for scheduling ease
Our first category of best time-management apps is all about your schedule—and the calendar apps that make keeping it organized super easy. There are several full-featured options for calendar apps, and some of the best ones are tailored for specific lifestyles or needs.
First up: Google Calendar. Google is all about free (or budget-friendly) software and simple interfaces. If you use Gmail for email, Google Calendar will automatically create events from your messages. Due to Google’s huge popularity, other apps and services do their best to play nicely and integrate. So you do less work coordinating between apps and more work…well, doing work.
If you use mainly Apple products, Apple’s built-in calendar app is a solid choice. Pros? It has all the essential features, and you can count on it being supported and updated for years to come. Cons? It’s not quite as full-featured or compatible with third-party software as other options.
iOS + iPad (built-in)
For a more professional feel, or if managing lots of emails goes hand-in-hand with your scheduling and time-management, Outlook is an excellent choice. Unlike in earlier years, Microsoft makes sure its software is available on all major operating systems and devices.
Price: free with ads; $5.99 per month as part of a full Office 365 subscription
Fantastical 2 stands out from the pack of independent calendar apps for its impressive tech. How impressive? It takes your casual phrases and accurately turns them into detailed events. So you don’t have to spend time searching for locations or formalizing your language for the sake of an app. Just type, “coffee with Maeve at Dream Bean” and let the software do the rest. It’s user-friendly design at its best. The downside? It comes with a monthly cost. And it’s only for iOS.
Families across the world swear by Cozi for coordinating multiple schedules with software that’s easy for everyone to use. If juggling events for a busy family is your priority, Cozi is likely your best bet. Bonus? You can add grocery lists or recipes, which then sync with everyone else’s devices. So you save time on the normal stuff (i.e., extra grocery runs), which gives you more time to spend on the important stuff. Time-management at its best.
Price: free; $29.99 per year for additional features
2 Project-management apps for handling ongoing commitments
If you want more powerful features for organizing your ongoing time commitments, a project-management app can be a game-changer. These apps allow you to sort, tag, visualize, assign due dates, track, and even attach files to better keep track of your workflow and time. If that sounds like overkill, you can keep it simple. Use a project management app just for sticky-note style reminders that can be easily arranged in different categories. Think of it as a digital version of a corkboard.
Here are the two best time-management apps for organizing your projects.
Trello was one of the pioneers of project-management software. And it’s still paving the way with new features and integrations. Don’t underestimate it either—this software is powerful. If you like the look and concept, we recommend giving the free version a spin. If it’s working for you, consider updating to the gold version for even more features.
Price: free; $5 per month for Gold version
Asana offers a similarly powerful set of features and stands out for its multiple ways to view your tasks and projects—including views for lists, boards, calendars, and files.
Price: free; $9.99 per month for Premium
3 Apps to sync up your devices
To save time and be productive on the go, you want to be able to pick up where you left off. And not just on one device, but on multiple ones. That way, you can seamlessly get back to work—whether it’s on your desktop, laptop, or phone.
(Note: We aren’t talking about full cloud storage solutions here. These are quick ways to reduce friction and work across devices in the moment.)
Apple has been steadily adding features to break down the borders between its various devices, including Handoff for quickly transferring tasks and Universal Clipboard for smaller copy-and-paste needs. The double-edged sword with Apple, as always, is that the tight integration with Apple products comes at the cost of being unfriendly with other companies’ devices.
iOS + iPad (built-in)
A recent update to Microsoft Office included an ambitious feature for syncing up with iOS or Android devices—it’s called Timeline. Timeline helps you create, well, a timeline for various projects and outcomes that syncs across devices. As a result, you stay organized and productive when switching between your phone, tablet, desktop, or laptop. For now, the mobile syncing is limited to your activity in the Microsoft Edge browser, but support for more programs is on the way.
Price: free; $59.99 for yearly subscription to plus edition
Pushbullet is the front-runner for Android users or people who want to use the same service across different platforms. It’s not quite as polished as the first-party solutions above, but its developers make every effort to not play favorites. Translation: They offer compatibility for users of Android, iOS, and desktop browsers through extensions.
Price: free; $4.99 per month for Pro
The 3 best time-management apps + features for better focus
Now you have a calendar that works best for you, a way to see the nitty-gritty details and the big picture, and devices that sync effortlessly. But there’s more to time-management than scheduling and organizing. These apps and features offer additional functionality that help you focus, block distractions, and even make time-management fun. (Yes, you read that right.) Here are the best time-management apps for kicking your productivity up a notch. Or ten.
Install this app on all your devices to get valuable insight into how you’re really spending your time. The main feature runs invisibly in the background to track how much time you spend in different apps and websites, with handy reports and charts available at the push of a button. RescueTime also offers optional features for actively taking control of your time, such as customizable alerts for spending too long in a given app and tools for blocking access to specified apps or websites. It’s a full-featured system for managing your time and improving your work-life balance.
Price: free with limited features; $9 per month for Premium
2. Productivity Challenge Timer
If you’re looking for a way to put some pressure on yourself and make time-management a game, Productivity Challenge Timer is the app for you. The idea is to block out chunks of time for your tasks and keep yourself accountable to them as you work toward achievements over time. The genius here is that there is no pause button. Once you start, you either focus and succeed or admit defeat by forfeiting that work session. And who likes to accept defeat? We sure don’t.
Price: free; $4.99 fee for Pro Mode
3. Do Not Disturb Mode
We saved the simplest but arguably most important time-management feature for last. Every modern device comes with a built-in function for silencing or completely blocking notifications. Instead of only using it when you go to bed, we recommend using Do Not Disturb whenever you want to hunker down and focus on deep work without interruptions. To make the most of this feature, consider diving into the settings to schedule recurring time blocks or customize which apps are allowed to override Do Not Disturb with urgent notifications.
iOS + iPad (built-in)
We hope you found some apps and features on this list that will help you make the most of your time and maintain a healthy work-life balance. We think these are the best time-management apps and features around, so give one (or more) a shot and let us know how you do.
Your turn: What are the best time-management apps you’ve ever used? Tell us what we missed and why it works in the comments.
If you like this article you’ll also like The Best 11 Apps to Track Your Happiness
Author: Scott Trimble
Scott researched human motivation at The University of Texas at Austin. He spends most of his time traveling, reading, teaching, and writing.