Steve Jobs famously said that time is “the most precious resource we all have.” However, it’s also a finite resource, and we cannot really manage time itself – only the ways in which we use it. There are dozens of apps (both desktop and mobile) made for this purpose, and they help us plan activities, remind us of important events and visualize our progress over a certain period. It’s already February (time flies so fast!) but it’s not too late to kickstart a productive and focused new year with these five Android apps.
1. Calendar: Digical
Digical is a calendar that might surprise you with the amount of options it offers. You can preview your schedule in six view types (day, week, week agenda, month, text month, agenda). Double-tapping on a day in Month view opens the Day view with a list of all tasks on the left. This looks especially good on tablets. It’s possible to manage multiple calendars, filter displayed events, and sync them with Google Calendar, Outlook.com and Exchange.
New events are easily added: just long-press on a selected day or tap the toolbar button. You can color-code events individually or based on the calendar they belong to. Event notifications integrate with Google Now, and there are also home screen and lock screen widgets to always keep you in the loop. You can even show weather information right in the calendar. The “Preferences” dialog lets you tweak all the details – from time format, first day of the week and default event duration to font sizes and layout appearance.
2. Billing: Timesheet
A potential life-saver for freelancers, Timesheet is based on a simple principle: you use it to track time spent on tasks or projects and bill clients accordingly. The main screen is an overview of all active projects, and here you can create new ones. Timesheet makes it easy to define expenses, set salary per hour, add notes and tags to each project. You can set up automatic breaks to remind yourself to get up from the desk.
Other interesting and useful features include detailed statistics of your work, ability to export tasks to Microsoft Excel-readable formats (CSV, XLS), and back up your projects to Dropbox.
3. Alarm: Morning Routine
If you’re a fan of Google’s Material Design, this beauty is a perfect alarm for you. Apart from basic alarm features like custom ringtones, custom snooze length, recurring alarms and sound fade-in, Morning Routine has a challenging (and a bit cruel) side. If you have trouble getting out of bed, there are two special alarm modes that can help you.
A Regular alarm is simple – you turn it off or press snooze indefinitely. However, a Scanning alarm will require you to scan a barcode on something in your house before you can turn it off. The Sequence alarm takes this a step further and makes it possible to set several alarms in a row, each with its own requirement, trigger an automated task (for example, opening email). There are also statistics about your responsiveness to alarms. With all this packed in a visually attractive interface, Morning Routine is an app that can make you look forward to the next day.
4. Task Planner: MyEffectiveness
MyEffectiveness is an app that combines features from Chrome productivity apps that we covered recently. You can use it as a digital assistant to your favorite productivity method, be it GTD (Getting Things Done), Pomodoro or the Eisenhower matrix. It can help you plan long-term goals, where you’ll think in broader terms, describing your Mission, Concerns and Life Roles, as well as setting Priorities.
If all this sounds too complex, don’t worry – you can just use it to plan weekly tasks and activities, or to manage your current projects in neat and colorful task lists. You can add notes and reminders to each activity and display upcoming events in a widget on your home screen. Precisely because it offers so many different approaches at once, MyEffectiveness leaves more freedom to users to choose exactly how they want to use it.
5. Tracking Progress: Raise the Bar
As a concept, time is invisible; we only see its effects. Raise the Bar is an app that visualizes the passing of time in the context of our progress. In other words, it lets you create progress bars for tasks and activities in your life, and then track how successfully you complete them. It’s a fun idea (although not particularly original), and the app looks appealing.
There are three types of progress bars: Level Up, Goal, and List. Raise the Bar favors a linear, straightforward approach where you’re quickly taken from one step to the other. You pick a name and type for your activity, set the desired amount of actions or sub-tasks, and an optional deadline. Then you can choose colors to customize activities, and start working on them. You can either manually increase your “level” and mark completed tasks on a list, or set a timer to track activities automatically (somewhat like a stopwatch). Activities can be tagged and all your data exported to CSV. Like other apps in this article, Raise the Bar has reminders and statistics to ensure you’ll stay on the right track.
Can you recommend any other time-management apps? Do you use similar apps, or is your grandfather’s pocket watch everything you need for this purpose? Leave a comment and let us know.