10 Best Time Management Tools for Small BusinessesStarr Campbell
Running a small business is like a dance with a lot of steps; and the routine includes project planning, time management, financial accounting, to name a few. If you miss a step, the entire dance is thrown off and you’re at risk of chaos ensuing. Time management is one of the most important steps and requires balance and coordination.
As a business owner, it’s not just your time that you’re responsible for managing properly. Employees, clients, and vendors all count on you to keep a tight schedule with little room for mistakes. It may sound daunting, but technology has simplified what used to be complex.
What is Time Management?
Time management is more than keeping a detailed calendar and to-do list. The official definition of time management is “the ability to use one time’s effectively and productively, especially at work.” Effective time management categorizes and divides your time between pre-planned actionable tasks.
A common misconception about managing time is that planning every minute or micromanaging your employees will help save time, and maybe even money. In reality, you’ll burn out from overscheduling and frustrate your staff. To make sure you don’t fall into the usual traps of scheduling and planning, use software that can automate processes for you.
Why should I improve my time management?
Even if you feel you’re already productive enough, looking at how you manage time and where you can do better can only help you in the long run. If you’re worried about taking valuable time out of your day to learn new software, keep in mind that support teams are on call to help you get acclimated.
Time management comes with many benefits, including:
- Increased productivity
- Less stress
- Better employee retention
- Better client experience
- A good reputation
Time management for small business owners can be broken down into three parts, all of which have tools that can help you remain the boss that everyone loves. Project management, time tracking, and scheduling may have overwhelmed you in the past, but these ten tools will help you exceed in no time.
Project Management tools
One of the frontrunners from the start of the remote work explosion, Asana is known for easy team collaboration. From big projects to individual tasks, you can track and manage every step of your work until the deadline. Assign projects and use the calendar sync feature to make sure everyone’s on the same page.
Asana integrates easily with other tools which makes automating key business functions easy. You can integrate Asana with over 1000 different software for a seamless workflow, including Microsoft Teams, Slack, and Google Workspace.
- Team boards
- Ticket system
- Multiple dashboards
- Activity tracking
- Campaign planning
Price: Free, $10.99 premium plan, $24.99 business plan
Pro tip: Use Asana’s chrome extension to save things from the web and create new tasks immediately.
If you’ve been a remote worker, you should be familiar with Trello. Businesses of all sizes (and soloprenuers) simplify their daily workflow and planning with Trello’s drag and drop Kanban boards. These boards come with labels, tags, comments, the ability to attach files and deadlines, plus much more.
One of the best things about Trello is how easy it is to use. After a quick tour of the interface, Trello encourages you to create a board immediately. If you aren’t sure where to get started, try using Trello as a detailed to-do list. Tag your team members, create a checklist to track their progress, and set a date for the project deadline.
- Interactive drag and drop Kanban boards
- Tagging and comment system
- Color coded labels
- Template gallery
- No-code automations
- ‘Power-up’ integrations
Price: Free, $5 standard plan, $10 premium plan, $17.50 enterprise plan
Pro tip: Turn emails into Trello cards! Navigate to your board’s settings and copy its email address. Next time a client emails you a proposal, forward it straight to your Trello board.
Business owners who appreciate complete control over their project management software prefer Notion. Known for its customizable templates, task prioritization features, and multi-view databases, small teams are able to work closely with the help of Notion’s vast (and growing) feature list.
At first glance, Notion can seem overwhelming. Luckily for new users the Notion community has created endless tutorials and guides to make getting started easy.
- Web, desktop, mobile apps
- Comment and collaboration system
- Tables & Databases
- Web clipper add on
- Customizable interface including drag and drop
- Text editor
Pro tip: Search YouTube for step-by-step guides on how to create a CMS, project calendars, or a file system.
Time tracking tools
For small businesses that run off a tech stack, EverHour is a great choice for time tracking employees or freelancers. They recommend you integrate with another tool that your business uses regularly (like Canva or Google Docs) for the best experience.
In addition to its time tracking capabilities, EverHour gives you the ability to track expenses and invoices. You can also use their billing system to budget and plan projects.
- Track time with auto-stop timer or by manual entry
- Time log
- Chrome extension
- Calendar for employee scheduling
- Custom reports
Price: Free, $5 lite plan, $8 Team plan
Pro tip: Use Zapier to integrate EverHour with thousands of apps, making it easier to track time across different software.
If your small business recently used timecards or another old-fashioned way to keep track of employee hours, you’ll find Clockify is a little familiar. When workers get started, they choose their project and click the button to start tracking their time. Between the easy ‘clock in’ and time sheets feature, Clockify takes the processes you’re already used to and simplifies them.
Clockify’s dashboard gives you an overview of what your team is spending time on this week at a glance. Separated into four main categories (activities, charts, breakdowns, status) you’ll be able to quickly assess what your team is working on and where their time would be better spent.
- Desktop and mobile apps
- Kiosk functionality
- Time tracker
- Detailed reports
- Location activity for employees
Pro tip: Connect Clockify with Quickbooks to make payroll a breeze.
This tool provides business owners with more than time tracking and replacing handwritten timesheets. Toggl provides helpful features like favorites and timelines to save even more time while working. Its project dashboard gives you a clear view of time tracking and billing, with project alerts that help keep your team on track.
Like many other time management tools, Toggl boasts an impressive list of integrations to automate your everyday activities. What makes Toggl stand out a bit more is the customization you’re allowed when tracking time on another platform. You can even build your own Toggl dashboard on other time and team management platforms that are compatible with integration.
- Single click timer
- Schedule reports
- Offline tracking
- Time rounding
- Task management
- Set recurring projects
Price: Free, $9 starter plan, $18 premium plan, contact for Enterprise
Pro tip: Use Toggl’s pomodoro setting to approach tasks in a new way and make yourself more efficient.
Small service-based businesses looking for basic client management tend to use multiple tools to solve the same problem. TimeTap, a robust scheduling software, simplifies multiple areas of client and employee management. Whether you’re creating an online booking website, running automated recall campaigns, or scheduling staff for multiple locations, TimeTap makes it possible with a few simple steps.
TimeTap’s customization features give small businesses the opportunity to personalize vital components of client acquisition and retainment, from creating custom email messages to setting up client profiles with accessible notes from past visits. Though you can use TimeTap at any level, small businesses looking to grow quickly thrive with this tool.
- Custom booking forms
- Automated email/text messages
- Employee scheduling
- Online booking
- Easy to use CMS
- Course registration system
Price: $22.45 professional plan, $40.45 monthly business plan, custom pricing for enterprise plans
Pro tip: Create a custom booking website with TimeTap for direct scheduling or embed your scheduler on your official company website.
When new service-based businesses outgrow their original way of scheduling, they look for a simple way to handle more clients. SimplyBook offers personalized client apps for easy mobile booking, available for download by accessing your custom SimplyBook website. Easy set up makes this software a top contender for transitioning businesses.
- Custom client features (coupons, discounts)
- Payment processing
- Online booking
- Email/text notifications
- QR code maker
- Employee scheduling
Price: Free, $8.25 basic plan, $24.90 standard plan, $49.90 business plan, $82.50 premium plus plan
Pro tip: Use Simplybook’s mobile app and coupon feature to run campaigns that encourage customer loyalty.
Managing employee schedules for a small business with several shifts, like retail stores or restaurants, can get tricky. If you’re looking for a tool to automate shift swaps, recurring schedules, and performance monitoring, HotSchedules should be in your sights.
When you’re in charge of a lot of people, the last thing you want to do is be unreliable with their schedules. Using HotSchedules, you won’t have to worry about publishing the schedule late or keeping a handwritten record of your employees’ hours. HotSchedule does it all for you and includes a messaging system that makes it easy for you to communicate with your managers and for employees to communicate with each other.
- Scheduling templates
- Mobile alerts for overtime, breaks, etc.
- Sales and budget forecast
- Admin tools including approving shifts or requests for time off
- Payroll processing
- Mobile clock-in
Price: Free 14-day trial, contact for pricing.
Pro tip: Use HotSchedule’s messaging system to announce an open shift when an employee calls out or when you need extra help.
Bonus: tools to boost your focus
It’s easy to lose track of time when you have a million things on your to-do list. Sometimes an overwhelming schedule can make time management hard, especially if you’re rushing from one task to the next. In order to get your personal schedule under control, you must understand where your time is going and how to utilize it better.
Increasing your productivity can benefit your home and work life dramatically. RescueTime helps you block distractions, reflect on what (or where) you spent your time, and direct your attention to what matters.
RescueTime implements goal setting into your daily routine, refocusing your time and keeping your decisions on track with your priorities. RescueTime’s fun, interactive interface makes it easy to get hooked on tracking your time with a dashboard full of charts of your monitored activity, focus, attention, and more.
- Time tracking
- Focus sessions
- Smart coaching
- Workflow analysis
- Activity tracking
Price: Free 30-day trial for teams, contact for pricing
Pro tip: Use RescueTime with another time management software to help you better analyze where you spend your time, showing which areas you may unknowingly focus too much attention.
Taking control of your time and managing a business can seem impossible, but technology makes it easier than ever. Improve your relationships with customers and employees with better scheduling, advanced client management, and automated functionalities. Choosing the right software can depend on many factors, but whatever you choose, make sure it addresses your primary concerns.
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