Want to become “indistractable” and get more sh*t done?
As a former chronic procrastinator who’s currently at peak productivity, you can trust that my knowledge comes fully from firsthand experience.
If you’re anything like me, you’ve tried and used various time management tools but never managed to stick with one and use it on a consistent basis. Been there.
That’s why I dug deep to bring you this massive list of the top time management tools available today.
So put your phone on airplane mode (or far enough that you won’t mindlessly pick it up) and read on to find a tool that’ll sharpen your focus like it’s a Santoku knife.
- Google Tasks
- Remember The Milk
Time Tracking Tools
Out of all types of time management tools, time tracking apps have helped me most. Here are a few that I highly recommend you to check out.
Ora offers Kanban-style project management as well as various different approaches to project management and time-tracking.
Fun fact: “Ora” actually means time in Greek (with a name like Stefanos, I’d know). With that in mind, this built-in time-tracking had better deliver!
My absurd sense of humor aside, let’s dive into the core areas of this comparison.
Ora’s interface is incredibly similar to Trello. The 3 most concise words I would use to describe the interface are simple, intuitive, and clean.
Ora offers task cards, a to-do list style agenda, and a timeline view that gives you an overview of project deadlines and where they stand. It also supports other project management approaches like Scrum and Sprints.
Aside from project management features, Ora also offers reports and team chat.
If you’re a small startup team or agency that pays extra attention to design and UX, I’d definitely give Ora a spin to see if it’s right for you.
- Simple start/stop time tracking with detailed reports
- Intuitive interface and awesome UX
- Feature-rich, while still easy to adopt like Trello
- Mobile app in beta
- Lack of a knowledge hub
- Sprints are different in Ora than other Scrum software and the learning curve is steeper
Pricing: Ora has a basic, free plan for 1 user. It also offers a startup plan at $6/seat (user) and a professional plan at $8/seat.
Toggl is one of the leading time tracking tools in the market because it’s incredibly easy to use.
You can use it online and offline. Although it’s primarily web-based, it has apps available for desktop, iOS, and Android that sync together in real-time. There’s also a neat little Chrome extension available.
Toggl’s interface is clean, intuitive, and beautiful. There’s essentially no learning curve, so you’ll be able to intuitively figure out how it works instantly.
In terms of features, Toggl is a simple time tracking app, so it’s pretty bare. That said, Toggl does have a separate project management tool called Toggl Plan.
Source: Toggl Plan
When it comes to time tracking features, Toggl pretty much provides an all-in-one-solution. It’s great to use as a standalone time tracking app for yourself or your team. Here are some of the features I love:
- You can configure Toggl to detect inactivity and automatically notify you if you’ve been idle for more than x minutes. It also has a feature called ‘Pomodoro mode’ which allows you to work in 25-minute intervals with short and longer breaks.
- AutoTracker and Timeline features! The AutoTracker reminds you to track time when you’re working on an important task, while timeline records your online and offline time to give you an overview of your day.
- Toggl records every app you’ve been on for more than 10 seconds, which is great for figuring out the ‘fringe’ time gaps that are sucking your time.
- You can create beautiful, rich reports within Toggl. There are summary reports, detailed reports, and weekly reports. You can also filter data in the reports by date, tags, employee, client, and billable/non-billable hours.
A neat new feature on Toggl is “Insights,” which allows you to learn which projects or employees are bringing in the most revenue. (You might not want to tell your boss about Toggl…)
Lastly, there are integrations for pretty much all the popular project management apps, so you can easily get Trello, Asana, and Slack integrations going.
- Super easy to set up and use
- Chrome extension allows you to integrate with apps like Trello and plenty of third-party integrations
- Great data structuring and reports to help you manage your workload
- Helpful customer support
- No innate project management features
- No invoicing tool
- Mobile app not as functional as desktop
Pricing: Toggl has a free-forever plan that small teams (up to 5) can use. Paid plans include a Starter plan that will set you back $10/user, a Premium plan at $20/user and a custom enterprise plan with pricing based on your needs.
Timing is an automatic time tracker for Mac. Unfortunately, it’s not readily available as a web-based app. Luckily, there’s an iOS app available, so that you can sync it and keep track of your time on your phone.
Timing has an extremely intuitive interface. You don’t really need to do much as it starts tracking your time automatically. All your activity over one minute is tracked and all entries shorter than one minute get grouped together.
Timing comes with predefined categories that get tracked, but you can easily add and rearrange them. Just drag-and-drop or add new categories/tasks.
I love the UX of this tool, the simplicity, and the fact that you can just set it and forget it.
- Automatic time tracking
- Offline time tracking
- Calendar integration, Web API and Zapier integrations (only on Expert plan)
- Only available for Mac
- No billing/invoicing feature
- Not available on mobile
- No free plans
Pricing: There are no free plans available on Timing, but you can get the Productivity plan for as little as $4/month. The Professional plan is $6/month and the Expert plan is $9/month. The Professional plan and up will also let you use the web-based app.
Timely offers some great features that makes time tracking easy. Plus, it works on every device you use.
Surprise, surprise… Timely is really similar to Timing. One of the major differences is that it’s not exclusive to Mac/iOS.
One of Timely’s most magical features is called Memory Tracker (installation required). It’s essentially the same as Timing in that it tracks all your activity. You can use it to create billable time even if you forget to start the timer when you’re working for a client.
Similarly to Timing, Timely generates reports that you can use to share with clients and identifies opportunities to increase productivity.
You can also set it to show you the estimated time versus actual time spent to complete the task/project. Great for workload planning and making adjustments to stay on schedule!
- Simple set and forget time-tracking
- Neat, simple UI
- Extensive training including webinars, documentation
- No offline time tracking
- No billing & invoicing feature
- No freemium
Pricing: Timely doesn’t offer a free version, although they do have an extensive free trial. Pricing starts at $25/user.
HourStack is a calendar-based scheduling and time tracking tool. HourStack takes your existing task list and lets you plan out your tasks in blocks with time tracking. It’s available as a web-based service, on iOS, and Android.
HourStack’s interface is simple and clean, but it looks a little outdated compared to the beautiful SaaS UIs you see these days. That said, I really like the fact that you can actually track time in a calendar view.
Let’s see if the features make up for the lack of beauty. After all, at the end of the day, I’m all about substance over aesthetics.
HourStack has a pretty rich set of features considering how bare the interface is. It supports:
- Campaign management
- Collaboration tools
- Employee scheduling
- Project management
- Resource scheduling
- Schedule distribution
- Task management
To describe what those features mean in one sentence: you can basically track time, schedule, and report on your projects as an individual or a team.
HourStack also has some built-in integrations that you can use to integrate your tech stack.
- Time tracking in a calendar view
- Scheduling features
- No Freemium
- No automated scheduling
Pricing: HourStack has a free trial, but no freemium product available. Pricing starts at $7/month for the basic plan. Professional plans start at $15/month per user, with custom pricing based on your needs for teams of 200+.
RescueTime is a straightforward and easy-to-use time-tracking tool. It’s available as an app on Windows, Mac, and Linux on iOS and Android as well as a Chrome extension.
If you’re on Mac, RescueTime tracks how you spend your time in the background.
Here’s what the dashboard looks like. Apparently, I spend a whopping 22% of my half-workday on entertainment. Yikes!
(Before you judge, I forgot to turn the timer on, so it only recorded about half my workday. And the “Entertainment” is Spotify in the background, ok?!)
When you hover over the bar in each category, you can click on “See details” for a breakdown of each app/website you spent time on.
Google Docs and Notes were the primary chunks of “Design & Composition.” Although RescueTime does cover quite a lot of categories, there’s an option to set your own categories and label them as productive or non-productive.
This is definitely helpful, but I imagine it’s quite timeconsuming to get fully set up.
In terms of features, it pretty much offers what all the other time-tracking apps offer: time tracking and rich reports.
Two things that stand out from the other apps are:
- You can give RescueTime permission to block certain apps that are draining your time.
- You can set goals and keep track of them in RescueTime.
- Can automatically track time
- Lives in your main menu and operates silently in the background
- Advanced features, like app blocking and goal tracking
- Free plan available
- Slightly annoying and timeconsuming to customize and set up
- Design of website/apps is outdated and UI could use some improvements
- No offline time tracking
- No billing & invoicing feature
Pricing: Free plan available. Pricing starts at $9/month.
Marinara is the simplest time management tool – in fact, the word “simple” doesn’t even do it justice. It’s fully centered on tracking your time using the Pomodoro Technique, which we’ve mentioned above.
Still not sure what that is?
It’s a time management technique where you work in fully focused intervals of 20-25 minutes (the equivalent of 1 Pomodoro) and then alternate between short (5-minute) and longer (10 minute) break cycles.
Fun fact: The Pomodoro Technique was invented by Francesco Cirillo, who named it after a tomato-shaped timer he used to track his work as a university student.
Marinara embodies simplicity like no other tool. You set up the duration of your focus and break intervals and simply start the timer in Chrome’s toolbar.
The traditional Pomodoro technique sets the timer to 25-minute focus intervals and 5-minute breaks. I find that this works perfectly for me, as I like to work in short bursts of hyper-focus. Of course, you can configure the duration to match your personal style.
- Ultimate simplicity
- Toolbar icon with a countdown timer
- Focus/break intervals are configurable
- Track history & stats
- Only supports Pomodoro-style time tracking
- I often find myself forgetting to start the timer when I begin a task
Pricing: Free forever.
Best for: Anyone who wants to sharpen their focus and likes to work in intervals with break cycles.
Task Management Tools
Time tracking tools are vital for managing your time for tasks. But using a time tracking tool in conjunction with a task management tool is what will really unleash the Hulk (of productivity!) within.
8. Google Tasks
Source: Google Tasks
Google has taken a go at creating a standalone task management tool with Google Tasks. It has its own mobile apps available on iOS and Android.
The best way I can describe it is a digital to-do list. You add items and then check them off as you complete them.
While the UI is clean and simple, the features are pretty basic. One good thing about it is the Gmail integration – you can access Tasks from the apps in Gmail and do pretty neat stuff like drag-and-drop emails to turn them into to-do list items.
It also has all the basic features that you would expect from a to-do list app like:
- Creating multiple lists
- Assigning dates to tasks
- Adding additional notes to tasks
- Creating subtasks below a parent task
Unfortunately, that’s pretty much all you get.
- Simple, clean UI
- Gmail integration
- Limited features
Yanado is an AppSumo partner that offers a web-based task management app that lives in your Gmail and essentially transforms your inbox into a task management tool.
I like to spend as little time as possible in Gmail, so I’m generally quite wary of apps that live in my Gmail.
Yanado promises to make your inbox more productive. One of the main task management features in Yanado is known as a “list.”
Once you create a list, you’ll be prompted to select a calendar (you can use Google Calendar) as well as pre-defined templates for a variety of different uses (sales, customer support, marketing, and development). I chose to go with the Marketing template, which I’ve shown below. If none of the templates work for you, you can also create a custom template.
In the bottom right-hand corner, you can click on the orange + button to add team members, users, or tasks.
From the drop-down menu in Yanado, you can create a task from any email. Two of the main areas Yanado highlights these features for include customer support and managing a sales pipeline.
You can find a short video that demonstrates Yanado being used for sales pipeline management here.
Personally, I feel like there’s too much manual data entry required to use it for pipeline management. Plus, there aren’t any deep insight features related to pipeline management (e.g. pipeline MRR or recurring revenue).
I’d go with a tool like Salesflare (also an AppSumo partner) for pipeline management/a CRM.
That said, Yanado does offer recurring task management. Some other neat features that Yanado offers include:
- Taskboard and to-do list views
- Project management that integrates and lives in Gmail
- G Drive, Slack, Zapier integrations
- Templates for various use-cases
- Doesn’t break the bank
- UI is more functional than aesthetic
- Adds an unnecessary layer of clutter to my inbox (personal opinion)
Pricing: Free version available. Pricing starts at $6/month.
MeisterTask is a task management tool that accommodates various different workflows like Kanban, software sprints, and static project boards for teams to collaborate. It’s available as a download for Mac and Windows, as a web-based service and on iOS and Android.
MeisterTask has a beautiful, visual, and intuitive UI. The first time I started using it was when I started writing for Sumo and I absolutely love it.
To give you an idea of how easy MeisterTask is to use, it only took me a few minutes to understand the workflow for the content team. Previously, I’d only ever used Trello and Asana.
Here’s what the workflow for Sumo’s content team looks like:
As mentioned earlier, MeisterTask supports various different approaches to project management. At Sumo, we have a custom kanban workflow to manage the entire content operation.
Each task has notes, a checklist, an assignee, followers, attachments comments, and due dates.
Here’s what it looks like when you click on a card or task:
MeisterTask has quite a few neat features, including a time-tracker which lets you record the time spent on each task.
Task Relationships lets you see dependency between tasks (i.e. which task has to be completed before another can be started). Automations lets you create rules, so that an action automatically triggers another.
Lastly, MeisterTask also has reports, which it calls statistics. The reports are clear and easy to understand, but they don’t give you rich information. They show you how many tasks were created and completed by the team, a calendar of due dates, and so on.
- Visual, intuitive UI
- Easy to use and customize
- No internal calendar
Pricing: MeisterTask offers a free version. Pricing starts at $8.25/month per user.
Todoist is a wildly popular to-do list and time management tool with 5M+ users. It’s available on macOS, Windows, Linux, iOS, Android; as well as on your wearables; as a browser extension; and as an email integration on Gmail or Outlook. Impressive!
When you first view the main interface of Todoist, the set-up seems really simple. And it is. It can be used for everything like making shopping lists to more advanced task management for projects. The community of users is extremely diverse.
One of the common praises for Todoist is a general design and UI that’s minimalist, clean, and easy to follow.
The main menu on the left-hand side is super straightforward and easy to follow. On the right-hand side, you have the settings. Configure these to personalize the design of the platform, find templates for specific projects, and more.
The themes, icons, and fonts on Todoist are all aesthetically pleasing. What stands out especially is that both the design and functionality stay consistent across all the devices you use, and you can easily sync between devices. This is important considering how many devices/platforms it’s available on.
What are the main task-management related features that Todoist offers?
Nothing too out-of-the-ordinary – you’ve got all the essentials you need:
- Parent tasks with sub-tasks and sub-projects
- Task priorities
- Recurring due dates
- Pin favorite projects, labels, filters
The awesome thing is that none of these basic features are missing on the free version. That said, some features like reminders, comments, and advanced filters are only available on the paid version.
- Available on 10+ platforms with seamless syncing
- Major features available on the free version so you can get started
- Great design and clean, light UI/UX
- No different views, so you have a very static list experience
- Lack of feature development over the past few years
- No timers (e.g. a Pomodoro timer)
- No calendar
Pricing: Todoist has a free version available. Todoist Premium is available for only $3/month and only $5/month for the Business plan.
Best for: Here’s what the founder, Amir, has to say about its users: “The Todoist user doesn’t fit into one mold. They’re world-class designers, business consultants, small business owners, students, parents, and retired grandmothers.”
12. Remember The Milk (RTM)
Source: Remember The Milk
Remember The Milk is one of the oldest to-do list apps out there. Of course, it’s been updated over the years, but the design/UI definitely harkens back to the simpler times of the Internet. It’s available as a web-based service as well as on mobile.
Personally, I feel like the design doesn’t live up to the quirky branding. But the interface is simple and easy enough.
In terms of features, RTM is a to-do list and time management app. It has everything you’d expect:
- Organize tasks into different lists
- Create sub-tasks
- Notifications: daily digest feature reminds you of tasks due for the day
- Recurring tasks
One of the features that makes RTM unique is Smart Lists, which you can use to create lists based on specific criteria. The lists are automatically updated as your tasks change. It’s essentially a filtering system.
You can also add tasks by sending an email and using what they term Smart Add Syntax in the subject header. If you use Gmail, you can add tasks directly to RTM without leaving your inbox, which means you don’t have to input data/open a new tab. Pretty neat little function.
- Easy to use
- Gmail integration
- Works offline
- Free version has most of what you need
- Sorting/filtering function is rather weak
- Manual data input load relatively high
- No monthly payments and yearly price for Pro is slightly expensive
Pricing: Remember The Milk has a free version. Pro version starts at $39.99/year.
Best for: Anyone who needs a smart to-do list app with extra features to boost productivity.
All-in-one Project and Team Management Tools
Plutio is a project management tool that’s been dubbed “one of the top ten tools for freelancers” by Forbes.
As freelancers, we’ve got tons of stuff to track and stay on top of. The last thing we need is a tool with a steep learning curve. Thankfully, Plutio has a super simple UX that makes it extremely easy to get the hang of. The UI is pretty nice, too.
Inside Plutio’s clean dashboard, you can easily create, edit, and see all your projects and tasks.
Here’s a view of the dashboard:
Plutio has all the features you need to customize workflows, set dates, and communicate with everyone involved.
One thing Plutio offers that is absolutely great for freelancers is the built-in proposals, time tracking, and invoicing features. You’ll be able to create proposals with the simple drag-and-drop editor and just have clients sign them digitally. Plus, you can receive payments via Stripe, Paypal, or directly to your bank account.
Thanks to the inbox and live chat feature, you can keep track of all your communication with your team in real-time.
Lastly, there’s a built-in CRM that lets you keep track of your pipeline and a client portal. That way, clients can participate and monitor the project status.
- Intuitive UX
- Highly customizable
- Affordable all-in-one solution for freelancers
- Inability to change workflow view
- Currently no option to set up recurring invoices
Pricing: No freemium available. Pricing starts at $15/month for the Solo plan and up to $30/month for the Team plan. Get the 1-year Plutio deal for $199 for a limited time in the AppSumo store.
Monday is an online collaboration/project management tool formerly known as Dapulse. It’s currently available on pretty much every platform.
I know I’ve mentioned this multiple times throughout this post, but Monday has a modern, beautiful UI. I mean, just look at it:
It kind of feels like a Airtable/Asana hybrid. It’s pretty intuitive and the onboarding process is solid, so you should be able to get a hang of it relatively quickly. (“Quickly” is relative, of course – it may take longer than the 14-day free trial to get the full hang of it.)
Monday has a lot of power when it comes to features. I’ll highlight the ones that make it an all-in-one solution.
When it comes to project management, Monday supports various different approaches, including Agile methodologies, Gantt charts, Kanban boards, and more.
Monday also has polished project templates that are pretty much ready to use without much customization needed. That said, it is highly customizable if you do need it.
It also has a timeline, extensive automation, and other features to help with productivity, such as time tracking. Lastly, it offers a client portal so you can onboard clients and keep all communication within Monday. Say goodbye to back-and-forth emails.
- Modern, beautiful UI
- Highly customizable
- In-app automations
- Polished templates
- Users have complained about speed as boards become larger
- Powerful software sometimes translates to complexity, which is exactly the case with Monday
- Pricing rubric is unnecessarily complicated
Pricing: There is a free trial available but no freemium version. I will mention it’s quite expensive, but you can check the full pricing chart here.
Jumppl is a project and team management tool that combines everything into one single platform.
Like Monday, Jumppl has a pretty neat, modern UI. Here’s a view:
That said, I imagine the interface can get quite overloaded if you’re using all the features at maximum functionality.
So what features does it have?
The core functionality of Jumppl is collaborative project management and team communication, so it has extensive features in those areas. Things like:
- Creating task structures
- Document management
You can use the Task feature to stay ahead of your to-dos and manage your team’s progress.
You can also set up Team structures to enable responsibilities and permissions. Team leads can also use reports to monitor project status and member performance.
Plus, there’s a client portal where you can give clients the access they need and share tasks, documents, and communicate with clients.
Lastly, Jumppl offers both 1-on-1 as well as group chat functions, along with in-app messaging when and where you need it.
- Beautiful UI
- All-in-one solution
- Can become overwhelming when using all features
- Storage space can be an issue with larger teams
Pricing: 14-day trial available. Pricing starts at $10/10 users/month.
Project.co is a former AppSumo partner and a project management tool that your clients will love.
It’s simple, clean, and easy to navigate. Just after signing up, I was guided through the platform through a personalized onboarding session. I selected my team size and input “Marketing” for my industry.
Project automatically provided me with some template projects to get started. I literally figured out how to open it with 1-click.
Here’s what it looks like when you open up a project:
All in all, really solid features – you have a discussion function for communication, tasks to keep track of the project and team responsibilities, project members, notes, document storage for file sharing, payments and more.
I came into the Tasks feature with low expectations, but boy was I wrong. It has everything you need, including list view, kanban view, calendar view, and scheduler.
Aside from those features, there’s a client portal which you can use to give access to projects and accept payments.
- Extremely easy to use
- Multiple approaches to project management
- Offers exactly what’s to manage team/client projects in one place
- Onboarding templates
- Very affordable with generous user limits
- Not many integrations available yet (Zapier integration being developed)
- No options to set rules when adding clients to projects
Pricing: Project.co has a free plan that you can use with up to 5 users on 5 projects. Pricing starts at $7/month for up to 100 users. Enterprise plan is $12/month for up to 200 users.
Notion is a nifty little tool that you can use for a whole range of different project management workflows, task management, and note-taking.
It’s a rapidly growing app in the productivity category and has been dubbed “the only app you need for work-life productivity” according to the WSJ.[*]
You can use Notion to keep track of work, along with pretty much everything in your life on the personal plan (I see myself spending way too much time choosing cover photos and emojis). But you can also create or join a workspace for team project management. Here’s a view from the fictional workspace I created for a marketing agency:
At first glance, Notion has a really simple design and aesthetic that I find really appealing.
But what’s particularly great about the app are the robust built-in features. Instead of having to pick the kind of page you want from the get-go, you can create and turn any page into a to-do list or outline. Or just use the plain text editor. You can also mix-and-match all the elements within one page and create a very complex set of instructions for any project/task.
One of my favorite SaaS businesses (Lemlist) uses Notion to keep track of all their high-level goals and processes.
Here’s a view from their Notion page:
- Appealing, minimalist aesthetic
- Robust and highly customizable to your needs
- Easy data importing from other apps
- Endless possibilities are confusing when just getting started
- Time-consuming to set up
- You may find yourself spending too much time on design, formatting, setting up templates, etc.
- Seems slightly disorganized/overwhelming for a productivity app
Pricing: Notion has a free plan with limited permissions for external collaborators and content blocks. The Personal plan starts at $5/month for one person. The Team plan costs $10/month.
Best for: Personal work-life productivity management, as well as teams that want a better way to manage processes, knowledge, projects, documents, and collaboration.
Pick Your Favorite Time Management Tools
Whether you’re a freelancer, agency, or startup looking to take your time or project management to the next level, the extensive list of tools covered in this post should have something for you.
All you have to do is pick your favorite one.
While you’re at it, be sure to check out all the AppSumo deals we have in store for you.