I don’t know how many times I’ve heard small business owners say that there aren’t enough hours in a day. It always seems to be a struggle to find enough time to complete every task on the to-do list.
As a small business owner, there’s so much demand on your time.
You know what it’s like. Sometimes you’re just sitting at your computer working hard but then someone posts a picture of their baby daughter that you just have to Like, you see an email with a really interesting post from your favourite blog and suddenly you’re falling behind with other tasks you have to deal with.
Maybe you need to focus more effort on your time-management.
The thing is that one of the things that sets top entrepreneurs apart is how careful they are about their time.
I know from experience that many business owners end up becoming the marketer, salesperson, accountant, social media manager and webmaster at their company. It can be tough to fit everything in.
But what if you started with ten minutes today? These 5 time management apps will help you save time consistently. And it all adds up. Before long you’ll be saving the hours that seem so impossible right now.
1. My Minutes
Do you find yourself always being tempted to spend more than enough time on certain tasks such as checking your email – because they are easy or exciting – while you barely have time for other tasks?
Then My Minutes could be the app you need to change that.
The app allows you to set limits on how long you can do certain tasks. By setting “Up To” or “No More Than” on a task, the app will let you know when the time is up for that particular task – allowing you to move on to the next item. This helps you stay focused and achieve daily goals.
Currently it only works on iOS and costs around $3.
If you find it hard to track and bill hours spent on projects, you need to check out FreshBooks. This is an accounting app that appeals to both accountants and non-accountants alike.
It’s Cloud-based and syncs with all your devices (phone, tablet and desktop) to capture the real time spent on every project and ensure the reporting is accurate.
The reports can easily be shared with all team members populating each member’s active time on a calendar. They can then be presented as snapshots.
FreshBooks also helps you, as the client, confirm that what you’re paying for is accurate.
It’s compatible with Android, iOS and desktop, and is free for up to 25 members.
3. Remember the Milk
Remember your to-do list? Remember the Milk is that – only on steroids.
As we’re trying to save time here, you probably don’t want an app that’s complicated to use. Remember the Milk is simple and straightforward making it easy and fast to use. You can customize your list into your own style. For instance, it allows you to organize the list by amount of time involved, due date, or priority.
You can also use Smart Lists to save your favourite notes and tasks. This makes it easy to access them in future.
It integrates with Evernote, Outlook, Google, Gmail and Twitter to ensure all your to-dos are in a single location and sends you reminder alerts through text, IM or email.
With Remember the Milk, you can kiss goodbye to sticky notes forever.
It’s available for Blackberry, Android, iOS and desktop. There’s a freemium version that limits you to one desktop-mobile sync in 24 hours. The pro version fixes this and costs $25/year.
4. Rescue Time
Imagine if one day you decided only to focus on work related websites rather than news and social media and you actually stuck to it?
That’s the aim of Rescue Time and whilst this scenario might not happen immediately, over time it might help you control your urges to waste time.
The app runs in the background of the device you’re using and tracks the amount of time you spend on each site that you visit. It then sends you a daily report with a nice breakdown of your activities. With these reports you can then work to adjust, refocus and re-prioritize.
One of the best things about Rescue Time is that you can set custom notifications to be sent whenever you spend too much time on a task such as checking email. You can also set the app to block you from accessing any distracting websites such as social networks.
Rescue Time supports Windows Phone, Blackberry, Android, iOS and desktop with a free version and a premium version that goes for $9/month.
Do you spend a lot of time travelling for business?
If so then you’ll be familiar with the hassle that comes with travelling – even when you try to be the most organised small business owner ever.
Between tracking flight numbers, hiring a car and booking your hotel room, your itinerary could easily send you round the bend.
Tripit is your ticket to saving time and maintaining your sanity as you travel. The app acts like a travel agent and companion. It files your booking numbers, reminds you of your stopover time and assembles all the necessary pieces of information in a single place for easy access.
Tripit is available for Windows Phone, Blackberry, Android and iOS. It has a free plan and a pro version that goes for $49/year with a free 30-day trial.
There are 24 hours in a day. The best business people get more out of them by making the best use of their time.
By using a suitable system, you can drastically improve your daily productivity and this will be reflected in the results you achieve.
However, you have to be willing to cut out the time wasters, change your habits and maintain focus.
So what time management apps do you use? How’s it changed your life? Let us know in the comments and help other small business owners.