Time is money – but most of us are terrible when it comes to penny-pinching.
By giving in to all those little distractions throughout the day, whether it’s Facebook updates, clickbait headlines, or pointless emails, we’re letting our most precious commodity slip through our fingers.
So, what can you do to tighten your belt and curb your expensive timewasting habits?
We’ve searched far and wide for the very best time management tools that can seriously transform your time management, freeing up hours in your day and (hopefully) putting money in your wallet.
Here are our absolute favorites, THE top three:
We’ve all been there: in the rush to please a new client, we’re woefully optimistic about how long a job will take, or we fail to factor in the inevitable rounds of changes they’ll request. At other times, we quote based on how long a job will take us if we were working at 100% productivity – and then plod along and do it in half the time, turning a well-paid job into a mediocre one.
Toggl is a superb time tracking tool that addresses both of these problems. All you have to do is add a new project to the system under your client’s name, say which bit you’re working on and how much you charge for that activity, then launch the timer and remember to stop it as soon as you take your next break.
The benefits are fivefold. First, you have an accurate, accountable way of calculating how much to bill clients that you charge by the hour. Second, you have a realistic picture of how much time you actually spend working on client projects, which can be used to guide future estimates.
Plus, knowing that you have to clock in breaks makes you more conscious of them and more likely to focus. It also gives you a visual reminder that helps you keep track of deadlines and budgets – and calculates all of this automatically, saving you admin time.
Lastly – perhaps most importantly – by helping you to break down how long things really take and how much you charge for individual tasks, you can figure out which jobs are most lucrative, and how much you really need to charge to turn a profit.
The much-loved Evernote website and accompanying app have been around for a while now – and their enduring popularity is well-deserved.
If you’re someone that wastes hours searching for (or deciphering) that very important piece of information that you’re certain you scribbled in a notebook, on a post-it or the back of a receipt, before storing it in a “safe place” such as the bottom of your bag or under your bed, then this is the tool for you.
Evernote allows you to collect and store all of these pieces of information as you go. You can quickly save articles, contact information and business cards, web addresses or other details as you go, as well as adding photos and writing / drawing notes. Not only does it keep your analogue mess of possibly useful stuff safe, it comes with a powerful search function that lets you dig out the important bits quickly and easily when you need them.
Ever find yourself reading just the one BuzzFeed article or watching just the one YouTube video, only to find that it’s now 3am and you’ve trawled through 4000 Harry Potter GIFs and are inexplicably a world expert on moon landing conspiracy theories?
Even if you have more than a modicum of self-control, most people seriously underestimate the amount of time they spend online.
Enter RescueTime: a desktop/mobile app combo that tracks everything you do and then sends you weekly reports to tell you where your time really went.
A detailed dashboard breaks down hour-by-hour how much time you spent doing things like checking email, reading news, attending meetings or actually getting work done, including logging your “accomplishment highlights” to keep you motivated for tomorrow.
Plus, the paid version allows you to identify and then periodically block websites that steal too much of your time, and can send alerts whenever you fall off the work wagon.