If you want to grow your business, you need focus. If you are an solopreneur, you are dependent upon the projects and tasks that you can complete. The right tools can help. You don’t want to live without these time management apps for entrepreneurs if you want to grow your business.
Being productive does not only mean that you are able to produce. It’s just not about being efficient, it’s about being efficient and effective.
In this article let me share the time management apps I use to help me focus and get work done. And best of all, for each time management app I have included some alternatives. Because ultimately, it’s not about the app, it’s about using a system. The apps are just (very handy) tools to accomplish your goals.
First and foremost, let’s start with the app that you will use for creating to-do lists. This app lets you manage your tasks on a daily basis. It will hold your daily tasks.
If you manage your tasks poorly your effectiveness will suffer. If tasks are unclear, out of date or confusing, it’s time to improve your task management skills.
A good app can help you gain control and overview of the tasks you need to complete. You can view this app as your cockpit, it tells you what’s going on and what you need to take action on next.
A task management app should:
What I use: Evernote.
I have been using Evernote for the past 3 years now and it works extremely well for me. I use if for my daily tasks and tasks that have no project assigned to it. It’s handy, convenient and I can use the mobile app to quickly jot down a new assignment.
I use Evernote in conjuction with GTD, which results in this system: The Secret Weapon. I advice you to check out their video’s and tutorials on how to set up your productivity system. It works great for me, and might fit you as well.
Being able to manage and review your projects is a great way to remain on track. Nothing is as powerful as a project management tool to make sure your reach your goals.
Where the above mentioned task management app focusses primarily on a day-to-day basis, your project management app will be used for a long-term perspective. With this app a new layer of project management will be added. At first setting this up might take extra time, but in the end this investment is worth the initial time costs.
A project management app is great for having effective meeting, performing quarterly reviews and having strategy sessions.
Most task management apps are a little too in the trees to give a good view of the forest. As such it’s very helpful to have another tool for your projects. This gives a more birds eye view and helps you with your long term planning of actions.
You will soon discover for yourself that using such an app can help you tremendously with your progress. It’s easier to commit to projects, you have more clarity on what needs to be done and you and your team members have a feel what they and others are working on.
A project management app should:
What I use: Trello.
Before I started using Trello I kept both my project and my daily tasks in Evernote, but I needed overview. As such I have been using Trello for the past months now and it works great. It helps me to see my projects for this year and helps me accomplish my goals faster because of this. I mainly use project management apps for reviewing project progress.
I have set up Trello so it resembles a Kanban Board, it looks something like this:
First of all, I you don’t do daily reviews yet, give them a try. It will take some extra time and effort in the beginning, but eventually your daily reviews will start paying off. Besides, a daily review doesn’t have to take up much time. They can be fast and help you improve over time.
A personal daily review can take anywhere from around 1 minute to 15 minutes. Write down what you did that day and write down your top 3 most important tasks for tomorrow.
You can do this at the end of your workday or in the evening, for the upcoming day.
A daily review app should:
They’re fast: our personal daily reviews can take anywhere from 30 seconds to 10 minutes. That’s it. All we do is write down what we did that day and then the two most important things to do tomorrow. I do it as I lay down in bed each night; open the app, scribble, done.
They make you better (over time): doing a review of your work (and personal life!) daily gives you greater awareness of the tasks, projects and goals that make for real progress. Think about it, knowing more about that is kind of the trick to the whole game.
What I use: Evernote.
I actually like to keep my daily review and task management in one place, as they are closely related to one another. I make my planning for the next day in Evernote, with links to particular notes if needed.
Your inbox is basically the place where other people send their demands and wishes. Everyone in the world can probably reach you once they have your e-mail address. But you are the one who decides what e-mails to take action upon. This is why managing your e-mail is still an essential skill to this day.
What it should be:
What I use: Gmail Inbox.
Bonus: Check out my article about how to handle e-mail.
Do you know a successful person that doesn’t use a calendar? I don’t.
You should take your calendar seriously if you want to become a better time manager. This doesn’t mean that you should fill every gap in your calendar, instead schedule things with attention and set some rules for yourself.
A good rule of thumb is to block no more than 60% of your day. In this way you leave some room for unexpected events.
David Allen, founder of GTD: “I recommend that you only calendar ‘hard landscape’ stuff – things that have to get done on that day or time. Everything else should be maintained on on-going lists, to get to ‘as soon as possible’ in and around the calendared items.”
A calendar app should:
Wat I use: Google Calendar
How can you know if your time is well spent? You won’t know if you don’t use a time tracking app.
Keeping track of how you spent your time is essential if you want to improve your time management skills. According to Peter Drucker: “What gets measured gets managed”.
A time tracking app should be:
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