Time, time time. However much you have, it never seems to be enough. There are two ways to get over this problem. Do less, and manage the things you do better. Time management is a little bit art, a little bit science, and your smartphone can help you with both. We show you some great apps to help you make the most of the hours in a day.
APP OF THE MONTH: Astrid
If you’re used to writing straightforward to-do lists on a sheet of paper and then ticking your way through them, Astrid could be ideal for you. It’s a list-based task manager, but it also has a lot more to offer. You can give tasks deadlines, add notes to them, and set reminders.
Tasks can be given tags, so that you can group similar tasks together, and Astrid can synchornise with Gmail’s tasks too. And, to save you having to look at huge long lists of tasks, you can set up individual tasks then hide them till a future date.
Evernote isn’t, strictly speaking, a time management application. But use it properly and it will save you time. How so? Well, Evernote lets you capture data and carry it around with you.
You can type straight into Evernote, or use a captured photo or voice clip as part of a note. Notes can be grouped into notebooks and tagged so you can cut across the material you gather and find stuff really easily.
Possibly the thing that makes Evernote a no-brainer, though, is the fact that it isn’t just an Android application. There’s a web-based tool too – and any data you capture in one is synchronised to, and accessible from, either location. There are also BlackBerry, iPhone and iPad versions of Evernote and the web tool is accessible from PC or Mac. One account feeds all. Try the free version, and move on to the paid option if you need it.
Sometimes all you really need is a little reminder to do something sitting on your screen. Color Note could be ideal for this task. It’s a very simple note-taking tool which lets you keep single items or lists together in one place.
What’s nice about Color Note is that you can make your notes different colours, so you can colour code things – one colour for shopping, one colour for notes relating to a DIY project, one colour for holiday-related stuff, and so on. Or you could just use the colours you like the look of at the time!
Notes can be password protected, or, if you prefer, you can put notes on to a home screen where they stare you in the face. You can set alarms and reminders too and even share notes by SMS, email or twitter.
Out Of Milk
If you find you spend a lot of time on big supermarket shopping trips and would rather spread the load, use local shops more, and make the most of your time when you’re out already rather than making special shopping trips, then maybe a specialist app for managing shopping is up your street.
Out Of Milk is one of the best. You can maintain your pantry list as well as a shopping list so you always know the stocks you have in. The main app is free, but for $4.99 you can have web synching and list sharing with other smartphones too, so more than one person can ensure the food cupboards are never bare and you can all maximise your use of time, minimise time spent shopping.
Shuffle is a time management application based around the popular Getting Things Done approach. This is based on capturing ideas and then organising them and doing them. Tasks are organised as ‘next steps’ which are achievable actions, so that you don’t end up with long lists of big, complex unachievable activities.
To make the most of Shuffle it’s a good idea to understand the Getting Things Done system, though it can be used well without that understanding. Projects break down into Tasks which can be grouped so that you know which ones are able to be done at home, at work, and in other locations. You could group online tasks, tasks that need you to be in a particular locations, tasks relating to a particular big project and so on.
If you want an Android time management application with a web-based system too, then Due Today might be worth a look. It synchronises with web based application Toodledo, though it can be used standalone too.
Due Today relies on the Getting Things Done method of organising tasks, and this lets you base achievable tasks around projects and sub-projects. It’s fully compatible with Android Honeycomb, so you can use it on the latest Android tablets.
All apps available from the Google Android Market.