Manage Your Life with Free Online Time Management Tools

manage05   Manage Your Life with Free Online Time Management ToolsIn addition to offering a wealth of information, the internet also provides us with a ton of tools. Are you taking full advantage of them? For example, how well do you manage your life? Are you well organized, do you easily remember birthdays, deadlines and appointments?

Should you struggle with these tasks, don’t worry, most of us are. Fortunately, you are free to change things and make your life a little easier. Here is what you can do to organize your life and reduce the amount of things you have to remember:

Routine

The first and most difficult task is to adopt a couple of key habits. This is crucial since no tool will ever help you if you don’t communicate with it. Whether you’re using a file-o-fax or an online calendar system, none of these tools were built to read your mind.

1. Write everything down – immediately!
If you’re lucky, you already own a portable device that will synchronize with your computer. If not, get used to carrying pen and paper.

2. Integrate the tools into your daily routine.
Both checking and updating them needs to become a routine task. The good thing is you get to choose when and how often you’ll communicate with your tools! ;) And you don’t have to use them all at once. It all depends what works best for you. Just start – now!

3. Hang in there!
This is a pretty universal habit. In the context at hand it means the following:

  • give the tools time to work, invest some time and effort to make them work for you
  • resist your inner temptation to slack off
  • develop a genuine interest in the tools you are using, learn about them, improve your usage of them or find out about different tools that may work better for you

 

Tools

If you are able to get into the routine described above, you will soon have a lot of free time to fill. However, I have to warn you: relying on any of the following tools means you will depend on technology like never before.

1. Evernote

manage01   Manage Your Life with Free Online Time Management ToolsWith Evernote you can collect, sync, search, archive, and share information. The main interface is a website. The desktop client is available for Mac and Windows, further clients support the iPhone, the iPod Touch, Windows Mobile devices, and there is a bookmarklet for your browser.

One of the coolest features is Evernote’s ability to search for words inside of pictures. This makes it a very valuable tool for efficient archiving. On top of that it offers a free option and it’s independent of Google – so far.

Back in April Shankar wrote a thorough review of Evernote.

2. Stickies
manage03   Manage Your Life with Free Online Time Management ToolsIf you are the type of person who works best with visual reminders, I recommend Stickies. It works a little like Post-It® notes, but stickies sit on your PC desktop.

Stickies can be fully customized and they can adopt many functions other than holding notes. For example, they may be attached to a website or document, so they will only show in connection with these; network support allows for transfer of notes between machines, for example between computers within a TCP/IP network; and alarms may be set for each note.

I should mention that 3M, the creator of the original Post-It® notes, offers a similar desktop application, however the free version is very limited!

3. I Want Sandy
manage02   Manage Your Life with Free Online Time Management ToolsSandy is an assistant that you communicate with by eMail. No software, easy to access and easy to program. Sandy relies on keywords in your eMail to her. When you CC someone in your eMail to Sandy, she will get in touch with them for the specific tasks contained in that eMail. Sandy promises she will synchronize with your calendar. At this point she supports Google Calendar. If you like, you can also chat with Sandy through Twitter.

Earlier this year Mark wrote a review about I Want Sandy. For him she didn’t work with Google Calendar, but it looks like the plugin was updated and it worked fine for me.

4. Google Calendar
googlecalendarthunderbird04   Manage Your Life with Free Online Time Management ToolsI already mentioned it in connection with Sandy. As a calendar it does a great job, but I found that it works much better for me when I can access it from my desktop. If you’re already using Thunderbird, see how you can integrate Google Calendar into Thunderbird.

And with GooSync, which is listed in our directory, you can sync Google Calendar with your mobile phone, the Blackberry or the iPhone.

5. Google Mail
gmail logo   Manage Your Life with Free Online Time Management ToolsWhile we’re talking about Google, Google Mail can not be missed. Great tool to archive and search mail or documents. If you are actually using the web interface of GMail you should find out about all the plugins and tools that are available for it. If you’re using Firefox, you can integrate Google Calendar with GMail.

6. Remember The Milk
manage04   Manage Your Life with Free Online Time Management ToolsRemember The Milk is a very efficient task manager. First of all it is compatible with a wide range of applications and devices, including Google Calendar, GMail, Twitter, Blackberry and the iPhone or iPod touch. It can send reminders to your eMail, your mobile phone, and many different instant messengers. While for example I Want Sandy is very basic, Remember The Milk offers some great extra features. Create lists or task clouds; integrate maps to make tasks that require you to leave the house more efficient; publish your tasks and lists, share them with your contacts or send out reminders.

A worthy rival to Remember The Milk may be TODOIST, which was tested and reviewed by Daniel.

It goes without saying that there are only two essential tools you need: a calendar and a reminder tool in case the calendar’s reminders aren’t sufficient. I would also recommend a good archiving system.

My personal combination is Google Calendar with Thunderbird because I do not need to rely on mobile devices and usually have instant access to my laptop.

Which ones do you choose and how are you combining them? Tell us in the comments.

The comments were closed because the article is more than 180 days old.

If you have any questions related to what's mentioned in the article or need help with any computer issue, ask it on MakeUseOf Answers—We and our community will be more than happy to help.

8 Comments -

Jeff

You can try tablists.com, probably the simplist of the to-do list sites.

John B. Kendrick

Great points all. The advantages of an online system are 1) organization and simple reorganization, e.g. switching from a view of all tasks in a specific project, to looking at tasks in context (when and where you can get them done) to chronological order by due or other date, to a view of only the next tasks that need to be done to further each project. 2) easy to search, 3) and this is the most important to me, having your lists with you wherever you are, at work, at home and even on the go, and 4) sharing your lists with others is much easier done electronically.

I’ve written several posts about my experiences with time management on my blog at johnkendrick.wordpress.com/how-to-gtd/ John

John

For a more comprehensive task management tool, check out myintervals.com. Ideal for tackling tasks in the workplace.

Andrew

Another online time tracking tool – http://Life-log.com. Interesting approach based on chess clock principle. Nice site tour explains how in works. I’ve found it quite useful, as it enables to fix different pricing for different types of projects and activities, track not only time, but weight, blood pressure, thoughts etc. etc.

Alex

I Want Sandy is offline! Sad day. Wanted to mention the online project management tool that my office uses – SantexQ. It has free basic accounts so it can be used to easily manage tasks on a small scale

harry

You may also check out GoalsOnTrack.com, a very nicely built web app designed for tracking goals and todo lists, and has time tracking. It’s clear, focused, easy to navigate, worth a try.

Phyllis G

WOW there is a lot to choise from. I am just starting collage on line and was told to find a time management tool but there are so many to choise from I am not sure were to go. I like free if there is a great one. Could you help out?

elias

Hey! I´m searching for free online management of contacts, calendar, projects etc. I´m a student and my class want to join a social network with access to these tools. Someone who knows?