Apps to save you time
My goals are set and I’m excited to get started on them. I know from past experience that scheduling time to work on each goal could be the make or break of things. Like most folk, I could probably do with a bit of help in using my time more effectively. So I’ve decided to turn to technology and trial five time management apps for the next four weeks. Along the way I will share the good, the bad and the ugly of each app’s revelations about my time management habits.
Which apps Apps will keep me on track?
There are so many time management apps available that I decided to narrow down the apps I trial to a manageable selection of 5.
This app is designed to run in the background of any mobile device or computer and track how much time is spent using apps or the web. Just the thought of my online activity being monitored reduces me to a state of slight paranoia, which suggests that I already have a pretty good idea of what RescueTime will reveal about my online habits. I have gladiatorial abilities where wasting time online is concerned. Unfortunately, I often find that I have wasted 30 minutes or more online by reading something found by chance when I was looking for something entirely different. So this app makes it through to the trial.
RescueTime provides detailed reports about your use of time. This looks like a great app if, like me, you’d like to use your time more effectively and want to begin by evaluating just how usefully you currently spend your time.
The cost? RescueTime lite is available for free, a premium paid for version is also available with increased functionality such as tracking time offline and receiving alerts. I’ll be trialling RescueTime lite.
Not ready to go cold turkey on all that stuff RescueTime has identified I waste my time on, I’ll need to make sure I have a safe place to keep all those interesting looking articles and videos for later. This is where Pocket could come in handy. Once something is saved to Pocket it can be viewed offline.
Pocket received the ‘Webby Award Best Productivity App 2014’ and apparently over 12 million users have downloaded the iPhone and iPad version so it has social proof aplenty.
It’s also free, so no excuses, it has to be included in my trial.
In theory, once I’ve put RealTime and Pocket to work, all I’ll need to do is focus on the task in hand. Focus@will promises to keep me focused and minimise my distractions by utilising the insights of neuroscience and music. Go on, I’m listening, so, now, where was I? I’m sure I could benefit from an increase in focus so turn to Focus@will’s website, which explains that it works,
‘….by subtly soothing the part of your brain, the limbic system, that is always on the lookout for danger, food, sex or shiny things.’
Good luck picking a fight with thousands of years of evolution is my first thought. But this is a trial to see what works and what doesn’t, maybe this will turn my attention away from shiny things and back to the task in hand, so it makes the trial.
I’ll be using Focus@will’s free 30 day trial.
Ever looked at the number of emails cluttering your inbox and wistfully imagined having enough time to empty it by the end of each day?
Mailbox enables effective inbox management by allowing users to archive or trash with a swipe and snooze messages. It also learns from your swipe and snoozing habits and automates common actions, leaving you to spend your time on more important tasks.
Mailbox caught my eye because it allows the user to quickly read an email then set it to snooze until later. I have a habit of quickly reading emails and then forgetting about them, so I can see that Mailbox could be useful. The lure of an empty inbox is irresistible and Mailbox, which is free, is on the list of apps to be trialled.
Ok, now let’s imagine that I’m two weeks into my app trial and despite using RealTime, Focus@will and Pocket to curb my procrastinating I am still lacking that essential measure of self control. Will I collapse into a weak-willed, wailing heap? Nope. Why? Because this is where SelfControl app could come to my rescue.
SelfControl is a free app for Mac OS X that can be used to block access to distracting websites, mail servers, or anything else on the Internet. You set a period of time to activate a block, add sites to your blacklist, and click “Start.” Until the timer expires, you are unable to access the sites you’ve blocked, even if you restart your computer or delete the application.
Sounds like self control bootcamp to me, sign me up!