5 best time management tools/apps for dealing with school & a job
Going to school while working part-time or full-time is no joke. If this is your reality, you know it’s almost a full-time job managing schedules, homework and keeping some semblance of a social life. There’s no time to waste.
How can you create more free time and feel less stressed?
An easy solution
The answer is simple and unfortunate…you don’t. Wait, we know what you’re thinking. Where’s the good news?
The good news is though you don’t get more than 24 hours each day, you can make it feel like there’s more time in your day. The better you prioritize tasks—what needs done first versus what can wait—and know where your hours go in the day, the more time it feels like you have. It’s called task management and time tracking. If you get good at these two things, you’ll spend less time stressed out!
Run your day
If time tracking and task management sound overwhelming, don’t worry. It’s doable for anyone. You don’t need to be naturally organized. With practice and a good time tracking system, you’ll soon run your day instead of it running you.
Get this. Time management expert Brian Tracy says you’ll increase your efficiency by 25% once you start organizing your days and making lists.
Ready to become a pro at managing your time and to-do list?
With the age of apps, juggling the school/work balancing act is easier than ever. Below are our top five picks for the best time management tools that help you stay organized with work and school. Bonus—free versions for these apps are available in iOS and Android app stores.
Do you have a secret love for sticky notes? Who needs a list when you can jot down, peel and stick a note anywhere you please? If this is you, try Trello. Trello is set up like a digital bulletin board. It’s an app, but also accessible via desktop. In Trello, you can easily create different “boards” for work, school, home, etc. Within each board, you can also create lists. It’s perfect for the visual organizer. One feature helpful for school is the ability to assign tasks to fellow users or anyone with an email address. Think group projects!
Remember the Milk
You know those dreamy all-inclusive resorts? Envision Remember the Milk as just that in the organization app world. It features a simple, clean design that’s easy on the eyes. Remember the Milk allows you to make different lists, name those lists, then add tasks to each one. When you create a task, you can set a due date, choose its priority, add tags for more organization, or assign the task to someone else. The tagging feature allows you to create “smart lists” later by sorting any task tagged a certain way into the same list.
In the paid Pro version, you can add subtasks to a main task. This app is great for housing all your lists for work, school, and home life in one place.
Evernote is one of the original note savers. This is a great app to take class notes on and save those for later access on any device with internet. Evernote looks very similar on a phone, tablet or computer—one thing that sets it apart from other note taking apps. It's not just a note taking app, however. You can also keep your busy life organized with different “templates” provided.
The templates may be the best feature that sets Evernote apart from competitors like Google Docs or Remember the Milk. After you've created documents, organize those docs into “notebooks”. Then put those digital notebooks in “cabinets”. For all you pen and paper note takers, this next feature is for you. Take a picture of a physical doc and let Evernote convert it into an editable one. This feature is available in the premium version but may be worth the amount of time saved! All the other features mentioned above come with the free version.
This is a particularly great project management app for school. You know those group projects? The ones you either love or hate? With Asana, you can easily track everyone’s progress. Add due dates, assign tasks to team members and even communicate within the app about the project. Tasks automatically appears on the app's calendar when you schedule a due date for that task. It’s a one-stop shop for organizing all the things related to your big projects. You can also use it to track individual projects and tasks.
myHomework Student Planner
Sometimes you just need to separate school from everything else in life. In that case, choose the myHomework Student Planner app designed specifically for organizing your homework assignments, exam dates and class schedule. Keep everything else in your personal calendar and only use the app when you need to work on school. Unlike some new and untested apps, this one is ten years old and trusted by many users. You can even use it without internet. But don’t confuse it with the Homework App, which is also great but only available on iOS.
How to decide?
With tons of options for time management tools out there, how do you decide which is best for you? What are the best time management apps that cover all the bases with school, work, and personal life?
We only showed our top five picks, but you’ve got more options.
When looking at an app, remember the goal is to simplify your life—not complicate it. Ask yourself these questions to determine what features you truly need:
What do you need this time management tool for?
Do you struggle to stay focused on tasks or do you need help prioritizing the little free time you do have? Keeping track of appointments? Are you forgetting homework assignments? Are you confusing homework due dates with work shifts? Find something that works for you.
What do you want your tracker to look like?
Do you want an easy-to-use interface or do you appreciate a creative, flowy design? Do you want everything to be customizable? Would you rather compartmentalize your life in different productivity apps or access everything in one place? You know what you like, so choose something you’ll actually use!
Remember, the best time management app is the one you enjoy and use often. Finding the perfect fit might at first feel like finding the perfect pair of jeans. Don’t be afraid to try out different ones! Decide what fits your needs best. Once you land on the perfect one, regularly update your to-do list and daily tasks in your task manager app. You'll be surprised how much time you save each week by spending even 15 minutes getting organized.