Whether you’re a freelancer, remote employee, or project manager, you’re bound to be juggling multiple tasks at any given time. Your typical workday can easily take a chaotic turn if you don’t manage your time properly. That’s why time management is one of the essential soft skills for everyone.
However, not everyone is managing time the way they should. According to a time management survey, 18% of respondents admitted to having a proper time management system, and 82% didn’t have.
So, if you’re struggling to keep things in order and beat deadlines, this article will show you different tools to help you optimize your time management. We’ll also tell you why and how they can help.
Time Tracking Apps
Whether you work alone, are part of a team, or manage a workforce, a time tracker makes life and work easier. Clock in and clock out apps have evolved from their origins to contain many helpful features.
You can now use time trackers to quantify staff capability, check where you have to improve and understand how to allocate resources. While many of these apps don’t come cheap, freelancers and startups can use free time tracking software equipped with advanced features.
They can help enhance your time management in different ways:
Calculate Billable Hours
A time tracker calculates billable hours accurately, ensuring you avoid invoicing and payroll mistakes and taking the extra work off your hands.
According to a study conducted by Aptitude Research Partners, a US analyst and advisory firm, companies using payroll and timekeeping systems have a 44% chance of having 2% or lower payroll error. And since another survey found that 49% of employees will leave after experiencing payroll issues twice, time trackers can help you keep employee turnover low.
By recording how much time you or your staff spend on each task, you can identify your strong suits and areas for improvement. This way, you can maximize productivity by assigning specific tasks to employees that excel at them and conducting training in areas where they need to improve.
Most time trackers record time spent on apps and websites, showing you what takes up time and interrupts work. This way, you know how to get rid of time wasters and avoid distractions.
Distribute Tasks Efficiently
One of the crucial things in time management is knowing when to pick a suitable period for a task. With a time tracker, you can find out when you or your coworkers are more energized to work during the day. With that information, you can assign or schedule critical and challenging tasks when they can be best handled.
Project Management Apps
Project management tools help you save time and money. You no longer have to track project and task progress using excel sheets and pen and paper. You can automate the process and focus on other important jobs instead of monitoring employees manually.
Project management applications come with robust features that allow you plan a project’s entire journey. Things you can put in place include:
- Time-based milestones
- Task-specific deadlines
- Project delivery
Once you’ve gone through the planning, you can determine how much time the project will consume, what to bill your clients, and how many employees to use for the job. It also helps know how to time plan resource allocation.
Allocate Resources Efficiently
You can use project management tools to put your time management strategies and data to good use. For example, once your time tracking data shows you where an employee excels, you can easily assign a batch of similar tasks to them. This way, you’re making sure the jobs are executed efficiently and in time.
Project management tools make scheduling easier. After using these tools, you can quickly work out scheduling plans to iron out details like project milestones, job roles, and resource allocation.
Your workflow involves the steps you need to execute a project successfully. Without a defined and well-planned system, you’ll experience conflicts, confusion, and chaos.
Thankfully, some project management tools use additional resources like Kanban boards and Scrum methodology to visualize and improve workflow. This way, team members know what to do and when to do it, synergize better, and work more efficiently, saving time and resources.
To-Do List Solutions
To-do lists have come a long way from their notepad origins. You can now use advanced features and integrations to better plan and optimize your daily schedules.
While many project management tools have basic to-do list features, standalone to-do list software programs provide extensive capabilities. These advanced features include:
- Kanban board view
- Setting sections and subtasks
- Recurring due dates
- Setting priority levels
Other significant capabilities include:
- Using filters and labels
- Adding comments and calendar feeds
- Viewing activity history and archives
- Uploading videos and audio
- Delegating tasks and collaborate with colleagues
- Time mapping
- Calendar integrations
Using these tools, you can quickly switch between tasks and not waste time figuring out what to do next.
Workflow Management Application
Workflows are sequences of defined steps followed to execute a task or project. They are the paths that every task follows from start to finish and represent how data transitions from raw to processed.
Outlined and well-organized workflows allow you to optimize your time management, increase employee engagement, and boost work quality. It also ensures you deliver projects in time without failing to meet deadlines.
As you know, most projects have different stakeholders and moving parts. In addition, tasks are delegated to various team members who have to work together to execute the entire project. So, an optimized workflow facilitates collaboration and communication and eliminates any barriers to synergy.
Businesses from every industry are now turning to workflow management solutions. These applications help you save time by automating repetitive workflow management tasks.
For instance, the application can manage how tasks are handed from employees to supervisors and project managers. This way, project managers no longer have to manually transition project progress from start to review to finish.
Let’s break down some of the benefits of workflow management apps
Frees Up Time
Whether any manager agrees or not, workflow management is time-consuming without automation. Once you automate repetitive tasks, you and your staff can focus on other important things.
By automating processes, you’re not prone to human errors. Instead, it will help you discover and correct problems early. And this way, the mistakes won’t repeat, preventing you from spending time troubleshooting and resolving the same error repeatedly.
Accountability and Transparency
Time is more manageable when everything is transparent. Using a workflow management system, you see every data entry throughout a task’s process. This way, you can save time whenever you want to pull any logged information.
Handle Multiple Tasks Simultaneously
Since the workflow management app automates task movements, you don’t have to worry about waiting for a task to finish before starting another. As a result, team members can work on multiple tasks simultaneously without the risk of chaos or confusion.
Some time trackers and project management solutions come with productivity features. However, standalone productivity apps can help you boost your time management in more ways.
If you don’t want to go for one such app, make sure your time tracker or project management tool has the needed features.
Productivity applications help you measure how long you spend on each task, website, and app. This way, you are equipped with all the data you need to optimize your schedules and manage time properly.
Using these tools, you can now optimize your time management process to get more out of your workday. Thankfully, you can easily find free applications with all the features you need as a freelancer or small business.