It seems like everywhere you turn, there is a system, app, or software promising to help you get more done every day. Some of those tools promise to help your team work more effectively together.
When you search on Google for the term “what is time management software,” you’ll find about 1,150,000,000 results.
That’s over a BILLION web pages that offer an answer to the question, what is time management software. No wonder small business owners and teams are confused, overwhelmed, and not as effective as they could be.
The answer to the question, what is time management software is easy to define, but harder to implement
According to Wikipedia, time management is defined as the process of planning and exercising conscious control of time spent on specific activities, especially to increase effectiveness,
efficiency, and productivity.
Wikipedia goes on to explain, it [time management] involves a juggling act of various demands upon a person relating to work, social life, family, hobbies, personal interests and commitments with the finiteness of time.
A keyword that stands out to me in this definition is conscious control of time.
I know that I want to choose to control my time consciously. I want to be more effective, efficient, and productive. How about you?
A pivotal point to reflect on is, time is finite; it has limitations and conditions.
I was impacted years ago by the words of a great creative thinker, the Father of Guerrilla Marketing, Jay Conrad Levinson.
Jay once said that the phrase time is money is a lie. He said that time is much more important than money because you can never make more. Once you spend it, that time is gone forever.
It stands to reason then that time management software is a tool to assist in controlling time spent on both professional and personal activities to increase effectiveness, efficiency, and productivity in work, life, relationships, hobbies, and more.
A key to understand is control.
We don’t actually ‘manage’ time. Every time we try, we manage to run out of time.
To be effective, we control time instead. Every day, we make conscious decisions on how we will spend our time.
Even if you never plan anything and react to whatever happens, you decided to let time float over you, come what may. In essence, you have consciously chosen to allow time to pass and see what happens.
Controlling time, rather than managing it is a crucial distinction to keep in mind as we look closer at time management software.
At its best, time management software is a tool to use that is designed to support your ability to make decisions, then act on those decisions at the appropriate moment.
The goal of that action to accomplish tasks, to-do’s, activities, commitments, even hobbies that make life meaningful, productive, successful, and enjoyable.
Ideally, time management software will be a tool that helps you to remember everything in your work and life and prompt you to act at the appropriate time.
Time management software should be a convenient place to track tasks and locate information. You’ll get notified of when it’s time to attend events and appointments.
Time management software will give you a convenient place to store to-do’s, research material, essential information on clients, work activities, family, friends, hobbies, and even vacation.
Time management software is a convenient, single location you use throughout every day to make your personal and professional life comfortable, productive, and more enjoyable.
Time management software will allow you to search and find information quickly and easily on every device you use, including your computer, phone, or tablet.
It should also be able to get set up the way you think. If you’re someone who likes to file everything in a folder, then a hierarchy of individual files would be helpful to you.
On the other hand, if you like to have everything in just a few places, by major topics and break the information down by subsets in those few folders, the program should be flexible enough to accommodate that too.
With all that said, we can define time management software as the tool that keeps track of everything going on in your life, so you don’t have to remember all these details with your brain.
How time management software helps you enjoy both work and life
I’m betting that at this point, you never thought of time management software as a tool to help you enjoy your life more. Most people don’t. We’re taught to think of it as something we MUST use for work. That makes it sound both tedious and perhaps aggravating.
Let’s expand your thinking on time management software so you can understand the power of the tool and the peace of mind this tool can provide.
First, how about using time management software to sleep better at night?
Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night panicked that you forgot to:
- Do something necessary for your business
- Pay a bill or send critical paperwork
- Keep a commitment to your spouse or family
- Reconnect with a client or prospect on an important matter
- Call the vacation planner about an upcoming romantic adventure
If you’re using time management software effectively, you’ll handle those types of issues before they become a problem. The reason is, you’re focused on controlling time.
Workwise you’ll be more productive. You won’t forget important deadlines. You’ll become a project/task management wizard. Your clients will be amazed at how well you remember them and attend appointments precisely on time.
Life-wise you’ll have one place for all your errands. You won’t have information scattered in 100 different locations on your hobbies and interests. Vacation planning becomes effortless.
That piece of information you stored away last year and need today is searchable, so you don’t lose and forget things that are important to you, your spouse, or your family.
Time management software can seem like a secret power.
It helps you remember everything and be more productive because everything you enter in time management software is always at your fingertips and searchable.
The secret to using time management software
The #1 secret to using time management software is to write everything down as it occurs to you and stop using your brain to store information. It’s simply not the proper tool to get the job done.
Think of your brain as RAM rather than a hard drive.
Random access memory (RAM) is your system’s short-term data storage; it stores the information your computer is actively using so that it can be accessed quickly. That’s exactly what your brain does.
A hard drive is designed to store information long-term. I have materials I saved on a hard drive 10 or more years ago. If you think about it, what do you remember from 10 years ago? Snippets of events most likely.
What that means, if there is information you want to remember is you must write it down to remember it tomorrow, next week, and beyond. Your brain won’t be able to do that effectively.
The next thing to consider is your lifestyle needs.
Do you work at a desk all day or are you on the road with your mobile phone?
Is it common for you to get information on the fly that you need to write down, or do you research everything in-depth primarily?
Are you a notebook person who loves to doodle, jot down quick snippets of ideas, take hand notes, or journal on paper?
All of these will be important considerations when your implementing time management software. You’ll want to be sure to choose a software the fits your work habits and lifestyle needs.
Don’t change how you work. Find software that already fits your work/lifestyle and then use it daily.
I recommend choosing a time management software program that conveniently works with any device you use.
Make sure that you choose a time management program that simultaneously works with your computer, phone, tablet, or hand notebooks (if you use them).
Using time management software to grow your small business
When it comes to building your small business, you’re working with one hand tied behind your back unless you’re using time management software.
Using a digital calendar, like iCal, Outlook, or Google Calendar, for example, is a great place to track appointments and set reminders. However, they are not designed to work as time management software. They are only half the equation.
When you set up your time management tool correctly, you’ll have a place to write down notes, commitments, details of meetings, errands you need to run, or plans you want to make.
Sunday through Saturday, your time management software program will be the one place to remember everything in both your work and life.
Think about any uber-successful person you may know or have heard about. The one thing that sets them apart from less successful people is that they remember details that less successful people forget.
That’s how time management software helps you grow your small business.
You’re able to remember everything and search every detail that you track in the software effectively and efficiently.
Time management software is the key to living your life with peace of mind
As you read at the beginning of this article — there are a billion web pages that talk about what time management software is. Yes, the choices are overwhelming and confusing.
However, when you write down everything you need to recall instead of trying to remember it, you’ll sleep better at night. You won’t worry as much as you do now, trying to use your brain as a hard drive.
Controlling time rather than being its slave puts you in control of your professional AND personal life.
Yes, controlling time takes practice and commitment.
For sure, you’ll get frustrated at first and want to give up the first week. Haven’t you seen that happen with many areas of your life where you went from novice to expert?
The fact is, mastering time management software puts you in control. You become the master of your destiny rather than living like a leaf blowing in the wind — reacting to your life every day.
The reward is greater peace of mind.
What is the best time management software?
Your best option is to choose whichever tool fits your lifestyle and work/living habits.
For me, since 2011, Evernote had been my secret weapon for making my brain searchable, remembering everything, and getting work (and life) done.
You might want to give it a try and compare it to what you’re using now.
I’m happy to answer your questions about time management software and point you to the best track for your personal needs. Leave a comment, and I’ll be glad to reply.