Hate it or love it, everything is on your phone nowadays. As someone who is very organized, it is nice to have everything that I need in one place. I have three main time management-type apps that I have found work best for me. I think that having too may defeats the purpose of a simplified method to ensure you are best using your time and taking time out of yourself. Each of these apps does something different, so (to me) it is useful to use all of them.
My Big Three:
Quiet for Gmail
I love this app! With this app, you can set on and off times for your Gmail account. Yes, I know you can go in and manually turn off your sync, but that would mean turning it off and on every single day. Why not just have a time set and it be done on its own? I use it for both my personal and work email (as work uses Gmail to host their email).
Seriously, look how easy it is! You sync your email addresses to the app then just click the times and days of the week you want to receive emails. You can go in and adjust at any time, so if you are expecting something important or your work days change, you can change it accordingly. The big benefit is no more disturbances during your off time.
On the work end, it is so easy for us to say “Oh, I will just answer this email now because it will only take a minute”. But that occurs over and over again, and that can mean a lot of “only take a minute”s that you should be getting paid for!
On the personal end, it is so satisfying to turn off your email for the weekend or evening. This really helps when I am working under a contract in my consulting business as it forces me to stop checking for emails from my clients, and set actual business hours when I am available and working. I also use the “Do Not Disturb” option on my phone so they can’t reach me by phone after 7pm or before 8am.
This app helps me manage my time so much because I am not constantly checking my email when the notifications pop up. How annoying is that little icon at the top of your screen? We all want to click on it to get rid of it, and then we are down an email wormhole.
Quality Time for Android users (I believe a similar app is called Moment for iPhone users) is amazing! It tracks your app usage on your phone, both minutes spent and number of times the apps are opened. You can view daily trends and weekly trends. It is VERY eyeopening. There are two particular features that I love about this app.
1.You can schedule and take breaks. You know how you are watching a movie sometimes and then all of a sudden you are also browsing Instagram? This app is a great way to stop doing that. You can call out and set up other apps that are exception (such as texting). Just in case you want to keep off social media, but still want to be able to connect with someone or view a particular app (like your calendar or camera). It is a great way to hunker down and work without drifting off course. If it makes you feel better, you are able to exit the break early if you absolutely need to access something.
2. You can customize the apps you track. For example, I don’t consider my reading, exercise, meditation, and language apps as bad use of my time, so I exclude them from being counted towards my usage. It is an easy adjustment to make under your settings.
I know that I always mention Google Calendar in my posts, but it has legit been a game changer. Below is an example of the beginning of my work as of right now. You can see that I already have my work, workout, Spanish, and meditation/journaling times scheduled. The purple appointments are from my personal calendar and the pink are from my work calendar. I believe that connecting both your work and personal calendar is essential if you are wanting to really see how your time will be spent.
Now, throughout the week as things come up, I will fill them in the blanks. I know that I will probably need to make some food on Tuesday, so I will schedule that after I am done with work. I always make calendar appointments for my chores, so I know exactly where my day stands. I do delete those appointments afterwards though, so I still get that satisfying feeling of checking something off my to-do list.
Life gets busy. I am fortunate because I have no kiddos right now so run around like crazy. But even if you do, you can still carve out time for things for yourself or things that need to be done by being adamant about organization and keeping a detailed calendar. I am glad that I am establishing these habits now so in the future, I will already have a routine to follow.
What time management apps or routines have worked best for you?