Timeboxing is a time management technique intended to boost your productivity and project management skills. While it can’t add to the amount of time in your day, it can help you make the most of each hour by helping you track your time, organize your tasks, and boost your motivation. In software development, productivity can mean the difference between completing a sprint and finding yourself in an unplanned marathon.
With a number of choices when it comes to timeboxing apps, I’ve pulled together five of the best based on their features and how they fit with various work styles.
Any.Do is the timeboxing app for anyone continuing to straddle the line between analog and digital. Your calendar app may look gorgeously color-coded and organized. Your workspace, however, is littered with sticky notes and half-checked to-do lists. Any.Do turns the day planner digital. Hashtags replace sticky-notes-as-bookmarks. The interface keeps the day’s tasks front-and-center, helping you avoid feeling overwhelmed and priming you for deep work. You can sync Any.Do across devices and upgrade to a team version – spreading the features of project management throughout an organization. While there isn’t a free-trial version, there are discounts for year-long subscriptions.
When you want an app to think of things first, that’s TickTick. Its features aim to cover myriad user preferences, starting with task creation. It can add tasks from voice inputs, emails, and text entries. If you work better with an ever-present paper to-do list, the interface can keep finished tasks right in front of you for visualizing what you’ve done – and what’s next. This helps you focus on one task at a time. Sync your calendar to keep team meetings and appointments in view. Even pomodoro lovers are accounted for with a timer feature sectioning work sessions into 25 minutes. Start with a free version or upgrade. Versions exist across iOS, Android and even Apple Watch.
You might be new to the idea of blocking periods of time to boost productivity. The pomodoro technique might just remind you of a beloved pasta dish and ‘time blocking’ is what the WiFi utility does when making service appointments. This paid app on iOS and Android caters to beginners and aficionados alike with its simple framework of elements: timelines, routines (repetitive tasks), calendar integration, and statistics. TimeBloc rewards you for working on the task at hand with brightly colored bar graphs and a streak counter. You can use icons to quickly identify categories of tasks or the color-coded tags included in the app.
You love pomodoro, you’re highly motivated by statistics and you have multiple streams of work (hello, side hustle). FocusBooster caters to each of these factors in one desktop app that helps both freelancers and 9-5ers. With a today-specific list on display and a pomodoro count to show your real-time progress, you can not only track time you spend on tasks, but see your work amount to a finished list. Use labels for important tasks and larger projects. Dashboard reports give you a vision of where you’re spending time while tools to separate streams of work keep you organized. You can also track billable hours and export CSV files for clients in the premium version. Use it without WiFi when needed.
5. Focus Keeper
This app aims to help users enter a cycle of productive spurts with breaks taking place of the time frame of a day. Like other apps, you can track your progress over time with charts. With three main views in the app, you can easily toggle between your day and week, the time and the progress data. Use colors and special icons to note priority tasks. Ticking during deep work sessions and alarms provides an auditory element to focus time that helps break up each interval. Focus Keeper is only available through iOS and Android, helping keep your desktop clear and your phone dedicated to your work. Choose from a free version or upgrade with a 7-day trial of premium.
If you’re on the fence about which timeboxing app to try, consider your average day and your entry point to these apps. If you’re new to timeboxing or work on a team where you can’t choose your project management tool, consider a simple approach with TimeBloc or Focus Keeper. Both help you keep productivity sprints simple while helping you manage your granular tasks. Independent contractors and side hustle devotees can’t go wrong with FocusBooster and its easy-to-use client management features intertwined with the pomodoro technique. TickTick and Any.Do cover the productivity needs of individuals and teams ready for all the bells and whistles offered by timeboxing apps. Whatever you choose, don’t skip your breaks – and enjoy the rise to your own productivity peak.