Performance & Productivity

Best Time Management Apps for Personal Use in 2024 (+Tips & Techniques)

Everyone has the same 24 hours a day. Find these personal time management apps and techniques to make the most of your time in 2024. Unbiased review.

Featured in this article

Clockify

Clockify

For simple and straightforward time tracking

RescueTime

RescueTime

Understanding your digital habits and improving productivity.

My Hours

My Hours

For freelancers and contractors who need to send time logs and invoices to clients.

Reclaim

Reclaim

For anyone with hectic schedules looking to balance work and life

Clockwise

Clockwise

Streamlining and automating your calendar with its meeting scheduling tool.

Llama Life

Llama Life

For those who struggle to concentrate

Bento

Bento

For a playful approach to managing your time

Google Calendar

Google Calendar

Easier Time Management, Appointments & Scheduling.

Forest

Forest

For using gamifications to maintain focus over extended periods

Time is the great equalizer for all.

This is why mastering time management is one of the critical human skills. It is the key to achieving meaningful results in our personal and professional lives.

A 2022 survey by Timewatch highlights the significant benefits of time management in the workplace, including reduced stress, enhanced productivity, improved focus, and more.

Reflect on the last time you felt swamped, trying to balance high workloads with your personal life. I used to be in your shoes!

When many things were on my shoulders, I experienced the struggle of managing my time effectively.

That’s when I started exploring more tools to help me apply all the best time management techniques and take control of our workday.

9 Best Time Management Apps to Take More Control of Your Time

Clockify

Clockify

For simple and straightforward time tracking

Clockify is among the world’s most popular time-tracking tools. It has millions of users, including those from famous companies like Google, Netflix, and Microsoft.

The best things about Clockify are that it’s free and extremely straightforward. You go to their website, enter your task name, and start the timer!

Best for: Simple and straightforward time tracking

Device: Web | Desktop | Mobile | Kiosk

Salient features:

  • Time tracker: As you can start tracking time in the web version, it’s easy to start, but note that you need to start and stop the timer yourself. You can download their desktop app if you want an auto time tracker.
  • Pomodoro timer: This feature is only available for Windows users, helping you maintain your focus on the Pomodoro technique.
  • Dashboard and Reports: Simple and not overwhelming, give you an overview of your work hours and project profitability at a glance.
  • Forecasting: Clockify also offers a forecasting feature that predicts your project performance going over or under based on past data.

Limitations:

  • Limited integrations: Clockify only connects with web apps. For example, if you want to use Clockify to track time on Monday.com, you will need to open Monday.com in your browser and not the desktop app.

Pricing:

  • Free plan: Generous features, unlimited number of users, tracking and projects
  • Paid plans: Starting from $3.99 user/month (billed annually)
RescueTime

RescueTime

Understanding your digital habits and improving productivity.

RescueTime prizes itself as being “The only app in the world that can truly measure your focus." To what extent this statement is accurate is up to debate, but we have to say their analysis of users’ time spent is pretty legitimate.

Best for: Understanding your digital habits and improving productivity

Device: Desktop | Mobile

Salient features:

  • Automatic time tracker‍: RescueTime automatically tracks your activities throughout the day without the need for toggle on/off switches.
  • Daily Patterns: Tell you when in the day or week you were most productive so that you better understand your work preferences.
  • Focus Sessions: Allow you to block distracting websites in a certain amount of time to get your work done!
  • Timesheet AI: This smart feature makes it easy to track your projects when working with different stakeholders, knowing how much time you spend on each project.

Limitations:

  • Have to install the app: can be on your desktop or mobile devices
  • Best features are only available with paid plans

Pricing:

  • Free plan: RescueTime Lite, including: Automatic time-tracking, Weekly reports through emails
  • Paid plan: RescueTime, starting from $$12 user/month with a 2-week free trial
My Hours

My Hours

For freelancers and contractors who need to send time logs and invoices to clients.

My Hours is the perfect tool for freelancers and contractors who want to charge clients accurately and increase profits. Most users have described My Hours as “easy to use” since 2002, so you won’t have any problems onboarding yourself to the app.

Best for: Freelancers and contractors who need to send time logs and invoices to clients

Device: Browser extension | Mobile

Salient features:

  • Detailed time log: Unlike most time-tracking apps that do not focus on the description of each time log, My Hours gives you a lot of space to note down more details about what you have been working on. This will be useful when you need to explain to your clients or managers later why it takes you a certain amount of time to complete a certain number of tasks.
  • Easy invoicing: You can choose different settings, charge per project, hour, period, etc.
  • AI Timesheet Chatbot: The new timesheet chatbot called Andrew can transform your prompts into a specific format or structure timesheet.

Limitations:

  • No auto time-tracking

Pricing:

  • Free plan available with: Unlimited team members & projects, Setting billable rates, Generating detailed reports
  • Paid plan: The Pro version costs $8 per user/month (billed annually) and comes with a 14-day trial
Reclaim

Reclaim

For anyone with hectic schedules looking to balance work and life

Reclaim is among the best time management apps designed to help you increase productivity in flexible work.

In the early stages of developing Reclaim, the founding team identified common problems with traditional time-blocking methods:

“They don’t provide the right balance between collaboration and solo focus time. You end up spending too much effort wrangling schedules.”

If you find yourself having too many meetings and your calendar is constantly changing, Reclaim can be an excellent tool to help you manage and optimize your time automatically.

It takes into account your priorities, urgency, and importance during the workweek, and enables smart scheduling to your calendar.

Plus, because it requires your work email for signing up, the tool can suggest optimal meeting times that work well with everyone's schedule.

Best for: Anyone with hectic schedules looking to balance work and life

Device: Web | Google Calendar

Salient features:

  • AI Auto-scheduling with tasks and habits: You can set priority levels for your habits and tasks, and Reclaim's AI will automatically place them on your calendar.
  • Smart 1-1s: Reclaim automatically schedules and reschedules one-on-one meetings based on both participants' availability, ensuring efficient and timely collaboration.
  • Prioritize schedule with planning: This feature helps you focus on doing the most important and urgent things first, using principles from productivity methodologies like the Eisenhower Matrix.
  • Analytics for personal productivity: The analytic charts show where you spend your time and identify trends such as time drains or peak productivity periods for individuals and teams.

Limitations:

  • Like Clockwise, Reclaim is primarily designed to work with Google Calendar and sign up with your business email address.
  • Automation limitations: Reclaim automates your schedule, but it might not always match your changing needs or unexpected events. Sometimes, you still need to adjust your schedule yourself.

Pricing:

  • Free plan for 1 user with the ability to block time 3 weeks in advance
  • Paid plan: From $8 per user/month (billed annually) for more advanced needs
Clockwise

Clockwise

Streamlining and automating your calendar with its meeting scheduling tool.

Believe us, you will fall in love with Clockwise if you give it a try. Too many of us know too well the pain of being caught up in meetings during the workday and can’t concentrate on completing whatever tasks are at hand. Being powered by AI, Clockwise will automatically reschedule meetings for you so that you have big blocks of focus time to work on things that matter.

Best for: Streamlining and automating your calendar

Device: Works on Google Calendar | Microsoft 365 coming soon

Salient features:

  • Focus Time: Tell Clockwise how many hours of focus time you need in a week, and it will make them come true!
  • Flexible Meetings: To create blocks of focus time, Clockwise will reschedule some of the meetings you mark as Flexible. So there’s no risk that it will automatically change your meeting with the CEO!
  • Gather insights: Besides the detailed analytics, Clockwise’s home tab provides a quick summary of how much meetings and focus time you spent last week.

Limitations:

  • Only allow signups from work emails: If you have a small team and haven’t got your work domain yet, Clockwise is not the best choice.

Pricing:

  • Free plan: You will get the auto schedule and all integrations in Slack, Zoom and Asana
  • Paid plan: From $6.75 user/month (billed annually)
Llama Life

Llama Life

For those who struggle to concentrate

Llama Life has an interesting backstory. Marie - the founder created Llama Life after she was diagnosed with ADHD. She wanted to build a time tracking app that could truly help users work through their to-do list with “a feeling of calmness and control.” We think she did it. This is a time management app that speaks to your soul.

Best for: Individuals who struggle to concentrate for an extended amount of time

Device: Desktop web

Salient features:

  • Task Timers & End Time: With Llama Life, you start by entering the amount of time you aim to use to complete your task. The app will notify you when you exceed the expected End Time. This will give you a bit more pressure to focus.
  • Random Task: When you're overwhelmed and don't know where to start, you can ask Llama Life to give you a random task.
  • Tasks Breakdown: You can easily turn your big scary task into smaller and manageable tasks with just one click.

Limitations:

  • For individual use only
  • Limited integrations (only Notion and Todoist)

Pricing:

  • Free plan: Not include Random Task and integrations
  • Paid plan: $6/month if billed monthly or $39/year if billed annually
Bento

Bento

For a playful approach to managing your time

“If it's your job to eat a frog, it's best to do it first thing in the morning. And If it's your job to eat two frogs, it's best to eat the biggest one first.” – Mark Twain

Basically, if you have a list of things to do, do the hardest thing first. This way, you will save time procrastinating to get started just because there’s one big difficult, ugly task on the list. This tip has been widely shared (and approved) through the 3 million sold copies of the book Eat That Frog! by Brian Tracy. And Bento is the optimal app if you want to practice this method.

Best for: A playful approach to manage your time

Device: Mobile

Salient features:

  • The Bento Method: Every day, Bento will ask you three tasks you want to get done that day. One big, one medium, and one small task. To “eat the frog”, start with the big task.
  • One-task Mode: With this concentrate mode, you can engage a countdown clock and dedicate your full attention to only one task.

Limitations:

  • For simple to-do list creation only

Pricing:

  • App Store: $3.99 user/month
Google Calendar

Google Calendar

Easier Time Management, Appointments & Scheduling.

Although Google Calendar is not really a time management app, you can still utilize it to practice effective time management techniques, among which, the most popular must be time boxing.

Best for: Practicing time boxing method to be more productive

To timebox means allocating a fixed amount of time to the tasks you want to get done. It helps you to stay focused, one thing at a time, and gives you the time pressure to complete within the “time box.” People using this method include Jared Spataro - the Corporate Vice President of Microsoft.

“Sometimes people ask why I bother with such a detailed level of planning. My answer is simple: it generates a massive amount of productivity. A 40-hour time-blocked work week, I estimate, produces the same amount of output as a 60+ hour work week pursued without structure.” – Cal Newport, author of Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World, is a big proponent of time blocking.

Forest

Forest

For using gamifications to maintain focus over extended periods

Forest is one of the interesting personal time management apps for those who need a nudge in self-control and have a soft spot for greenery.

Its temptation lay on the psychology behind “If you leave the app before the timer expires, your tree dies.”

I love its gamification to help us stay focused and away from digital distractions. As you focus on your tasks, you plant virtual trees in this app. The more you stay on track, the lusher your digital forest grows!

Forest not only visually represents your focused time with a growing forest, but it also provides detailed reports on your focus time distribution and trends. These reports help you understand and improve your focus ability over time.

Best for: Using gamification to maintain focus over extended periods

Device: Mobile | Chrome Extension

Salient features:

  • Timer flexibility: Forest allows you to tailor your focus period to your specific needs. You can set a timer from 10 minutes to 2 hours, which can be expanded up to 3 hours.
  • Deep focus mode: By keeping you stay on the app during the focus time, it helps prevent you from distractions and access to the other apps of your phone such as TikTok, Instagram, or Linkedin.
  • Real tree planting: Forest takes the green initiatives seriously! It partners with Trees for the Future and turns your virtual trees into real-world impacts.

Limitations:

  • It requires an upfront purchase on iOS with no free trial option.
  • Forest is mainly designed for mobile apps, in conjunction with Chrome extensions, so it may not fit those who are looking for desktop or web app productivity tools.

Pricing:

  • Free for Android and Chrome extension
  • IOS - $3.99 once time purchase

How to Choose Your Best Personal Time Management Apps

Pinpointing problems will guide you to solutions! Take a moment to reflect on your time management problems and personal needs.

Understanding Your Needs

What's the biggest hurdle in your day? Is it keeping track of time, prioritizing tasks, or maintaining focus amid distractions?

For example, when I struggled to stay on top of my tasks and found my focus wavering, focus timer apps like Forest and Llama Life were lifesavers. They helped streamline my day and brought back my concentration.

Criteria for Choosing the Right App

To help you navigate your choices and find the best time management apps, I list down some common criteria that align an app with your unique time management needs as follows:

  • Tracking Your Time: If you need to keep a close eye on how you spend your hours, apps like Clockify and RescueTime are your go-to choices. They offer time tracking to help you understand where your time goes.
  • Time Blocking: For those who need to sort out a hectic schedule, consider My Hours, Google Calendar, Reclaim or Clockwise. These apps help you allocate specific time slots for tasks and rearrange your schedule for maximum productivity.
  • Focus Mode: To combat distractions, Llama Life and Forest can be your ally. It is a focus timer that ensures you stay focused on getting something done at your best.
  • Task Prioritization: Keep track of your daily to-do with an added focus feature, choose an app like Bento.

Your chosen time management app should be a partner in your professional journey, not just a temporary fix. Most apps offer trial periods, so take advantage of this. I recommend reading reviews and testing a few apps to see which aligns best with your identified needs. Consider other factors like ease of use, design, features, platform compatibility, and budget.

>> Want a solution for your team and business uses? Check out our review of the best Time Management Tools in 2024.

The Bottom Line

Through my journey with various self-help apps, I learned that consistency is the cornerstone. Indeed, it’s not something you do for days or weeks at a time when motivation strikes and ends up by the wayside as other priorities take over.

Effective time management should be a continuous lifestyle enabling you to control your hours and attention.

I hope this guide helps you find your favorite time management apps and maximize your valuable time.

As my favorite quote says: "There is never enough time to do everything, but there is always enough time to do the most important thing.”

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are the benefits of time management?

Knowing how to manage your time offers numerous benefits, including stress reduction, increased productivity, and improved focus.

Effectively managing time can transform work lives, making tasks more manageable and goals more achievable​​.

2. What are the key features to look for in a time management app?

When selecting a time management app, look for features that match your needs.

They could be automated time tracking, time blocking, focus modes, task prioritization, and more.

Each feature caters to different aspects of time management, from keeping a close eye on how you spend your hours to helping you stay focused and organized​​.

3. How do I choose the right time management app for my needs?

I would say the right time management app is the one that can solve your time management problems. And that will be different for each of us.

First, understand your biggest hurdles, whether tracking time, prioritizing tasks, or staying focused amidst distractions.

Most apps offer trial periods, so take advantage of these to test a few apps.

Assess each app based on ease of use, design features, platform compatibility, and your budget​​​​.

4. What are other techniques and principles of time management I should know?

There are some well-known techniques and principles when it comes to managing time effectively.

Interestingly, on my list, these time management apps are designed around these principles already, for instance:

  • Time Blocking and Batching: Apps like Google Calendar, My Hours, Reclaim and Clockwise can help you apply this technique.
  • Eat That Frog Method: Based on Brian Tracy’s concept, this principle is applied by time management apps like Bento.
  • One thing focus: Llama Life, Forest and RescueTime employ this approach by blocking your time to concentrate on completing one task at a time.

Additionally, there are other time management techniques you can learn and apply to your life, such as the Eisenhower Matrix and the 80/20 rule (Pareto principle).

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