10 Extremely Useful Time Management Tools

Web designers, especially freelancers, face the challenge of effectively managing their time while juggling a lot of different responsibilities. There are a number of online apps and tools that can help you to take control and make the most of your time. In this post we’ll look at 10 that may be able to help you. This includes calendars, to-do lists, time tracking, and project management tools. If you have a favorite please feel free to share in the comments.

1. Remember the Milk

Remember the Milk is a free to-do list manager. You can add tasks that you need to get done, prioritize them, and check them off when they are done. Remember the Milk apps are available for the iPhone and for Android.

Remember the Milk

2. Ta-da Lists

Ta-da Lists is a very simple to-do list manager. It’s free and you can get your own to-do list up and running in no time.

2. Ta-da Lists

3. Google Calendar

A calendar is a must-have. Google Calendar is free and can help you to keep your appointments and priorities organized. Best of all, you can access your calendar from anywhere with your computer or phone.

Google Calendar

4. Rescue Time

Rescue Time will help you to track your time and to identify areas for improved time management. It claims to recover an average of just under 4 hours worth of productive time per week per person.

Rescue Time

5. Thymer

Thymer is “project management and task planning for people who hate project management and task planning.” I think most designers and freelancers fall into that category. You can organize your projects, track time and cost, work with teams, run reports, get reminders, and more. Plans range from free to $50 per month.


6. Ronin

Ronin is a time tracking and invoicing app. There are a lot of options out there for invoicing, but Ronin’s sleek interface is very intuitive and easy to use. Vandelay Premier members can currently get a 20% discount on Ronin’s team plan through the Vandelay Premier Marketplace.


7. Toggl

Toggl is an online time tracking app. You can easily switch from one task to another, use it from any device, and run reports. Plans range from free to $40 per month.


8. Verb

Verb is an online app for task management. You create tasks with priorities, due dates,  and tags. You can also share your tasks with team members. Verb is a free app.


9. Project Bubble

Project Bubble helps you to manage projects, track time, and create invoices. It also  includes a CRM where you can manage your clients. Prices range from free to $7 per month.

Project Bubble

10. Subernova

Subernova is a project management app that includes time tracking and invoicing. You can view all of your project statuses at a glance, set up and track milestones, schedule follow up emails with clients, and more. The cost is $14.99 per month or $149.99 per year.


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61 Responses

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  • Laura, June 28, 2013

    I advice you another tool for time tracking: Timeneye (http://www.timeneye.com).
    I recommend it because it integrates with Basecamp and lets track time commenting on completed to-dos.
    You can also track time on the go with the mobile companion app.

  • Aaron Stewart, June 4, 2013

    This is really enjoying while reading your blog. It very informative. I had such a great time reading your article. I enjoy each & every bit of it. It was really informative. I feel strongly about it and got knowledge more on this subject.

  • evie.johansson, May 17, 2013

    Team Task Manager is an excellent project management software, and ProjectDesk is for web based project management – and it is free for up to 4 users.

  • Carla, May 16, 2013

    Hey, you should also check out UpYourTime. It’s a really awesome time management tool because it has all the features you need if you’re a freelancer or an agency. And it’s really easy to use and customize and it’s also sort of fun to play around with.

    Give it a look on http://www.upyourtime.com.

  • Maranda, February 4, 2013

    Great list of tools!

    I’ve been experimenting a lot with time management tools and would like to suggest a new offering – http://www.apio.com > We’re a new company and it’s a BETA product, but we stack up against the larger competition and are easy to manage all sizes of projects.

  • Matt Stone, September 4, 2012

    We use in our company Comindware task management software and tracker. And it’s great! You don’t need to use any small tools bacause this software which has an integration with Outlook shows excellent results.

  • Jake, August 29, 2012

    Great list of tools!
    One to add might be Checkvist. I use it to manage all my tasks. Super simple interface and lots of key stroke shortcuts make it really fast and effective. I also make separate to-do lists and share them with my remote employees so we can plan and track their action items for the week.

  • George, August 9, 2012

    I’m using an awesome time tracker, which is “Time Doctor”. What I really like about it, is its simplicity and user-friendliness, as well as the fact that they are still improving it – you may check it on their blog at http://blog.timedoctor.com/

  • Hello,

    I have used Basecamp in the past but I was looking for something more simple today in-terms or reoccurring task management.

    I am going to take a look at all of them and the other suggestions in the comments are also useful (thank you).

    I have had Google Calendar recommended to me by a web company so i may have to go with that one.

  • Rick Baron, February 15, 2012

    Great list of time management tools. In addition to the list is this tool ( http://www.timedoctor.com/blog/2010/07/25/how-is-time-doctor-different-than-rescue-time ) which tracks time accurately when working on different tasks. Time management is essential for freelancers which allow freelancers to do work for different clients. It can also help freelancers finish tasks on time and meet deadlines.

  • Nicholas Hughes, November 2, 2011

    TABB is another similar one-Online to do list and time management software-Project Schedule Tool, but it is more suitable for the team work. Below are its features:

    1)Schedule the job with the calender
    2)Discuss online with your team worker or clients.
    3)Upload or download the project files
    4)colors system allows you to know the status of all of your tasks at a quick glance.

  • Toronto Web Developer, June 10, 2011

    So critical. I wish my husband would learn these lessons!
    Thanks for the list.

  • Rosie, May 7, 2011

    Nice list! I use an offline to-do list that is actually a plug-in for my text editor, PSPad, called Mike’s Todos. It’s a free and handy little script that keeps a log of items completed. It’s configurable, and also has a cool little feature to rotate tomorrow’s items to the “today” section, and at the end of the week you can rotate next week’s items to the “this week” section. It’s made a huge difference in how I work.

  • Website Design Merseyside, April 28, 2011

    Great set of tools, I am sure they will be useful to me in the future

  • Daniel Watson, April 26, 2011

    I recently stumbled upon http://manymoon.com an excellent and free (to a certain level) project management tool which is very easy to use and operate in conjunction with your team. I also use http://www.teuxdeux.com for as to do list and support the comments by Sachin on 12/11/2010. I will have a look at rescue time as this looks like a good idea. Thanks for sharing the list.

  • Valerie Redmond, April 21, 2011

    I have a new one for you, and I am co-founder of it. It is http://www.rworks.com. We go a step further than the applications named in this article, as we users can create a To Do List ( or a manager can create it for them. Then RWorks tracks your activities and auto-matches what you are doing with what is on your list. So it tracks time against tasks in real time. Great fo freelancers, and great for teams, especially dispersed ones like teleworking teams. Thanks for allowing me mention it.!

  • Essex website designers, March 28, 2011

    I swear by the Google calendar. I dont know how I coped before. I an so much more on top of things now and my clients are happy that I always keep to my word and call when I say or get the little things done which helps to put you head and shoulders above. Especially at the moment when times are hard its nice to know that you are offering a great service and by keeping on top of things with the Google calendar helps to make that difference.
    Im also going to try the Rescue Time software as anything which claims to save 4 hours per week has got to be worth a look.
    Great list. Thank you.

  • Caitlin, January 28, 2011

    Another fun tool for project/time management is AgileZen (http://agilezen.com). It follows the kanban approach, but is still simple and really easy to use!

  • Faraz, November 24, 2010

    We certainly require these tools in our part of world where people don’t take care of importance of time.

  • Melissa, November 18, 2010


    Just wondering what your thoughts are of GridIron Flow? I didn’t see it mentioned on the list and was wondering why?



  • Carlos, November 12, 2010

    That is a good list. But no matter which tool you end up using, you first have to know how you want to work and design your processes. And then you can choose the tool that matches your needs.
    If you are not organized, using a tool will not magically solve the problem: http://projectmanagementthoughts.com/2010/11/does-technology-help-productivity/

  • Sachin, November 12, 2010

    I use this simply awesome to-do list:

  • Jasmine, November 8, 2010

    You missed http://kanbantool.com – free time and project management tool.

  • Royal Tutor, October 20, 2010

    A very nice and valuable list. I will definitely use some of them :)

  • Jeff Williams, October 7, 2010

    Good list! We work with doolphy.com to plan and collect the time spent in each task. Greetings!

  • Erika, October 5, 2010

    Hey, read the whole post, great….using the ta-da list already, really easy and like alot.

    Mucho gracias, e

  • Juegos, October 5, 2010

    I haven’t tested any of these yet as I just found them but for Ubuntu, Hamster it’s a pretty nice time management app. I will test these as soon as I can, thanks.

  • Erika, October 4, 2010

    Great thanks, just finding time to read this inbetween sending monday morning business emails, a pile of dishes and art calling out amongst other things

    Its pouring rain in Steveston now, grey and overcast yet this is likely to change…

    Honest will read the whole thing not just scan the headlines and subtitles


  • The Tire, September 30, 2010

    i use google calendar or sunbird. One of them is browser based and dependes on the net, and one is offline :). This is usefull because here in romania you often have to face downtimes of internet speed.

  • alpaproductions, September 29, 2010

    I use Google Calendar for my day to day tasks and just recently started using Ora Time and Expense to track my work hours and times.
    Good list!

  • Maggie, September 29, 2010

    I did not know about all of these tools. I only knew about a few of them. I can not wait to check them out. I knew that I would find something useful and helpful on the computer today.

  • essex website designers, September 27, 2010

    I have heard many many good things about Toggl, although my timeline is really easy to keep track on, I don’t really have use of the services but it’s still a really useful tool and I have suggested such sites to my friends who have busy lifestyles.

    thanks for the article, it was a good insight into some other sites! I instantly saw the cow and was clicking on that:)

  • Developers in DC, September 27, 2010

    I am graduate Student so i really need this application for my time Management.Evey Body time is so important now a days.

  • Yellow Ed, September 27, 2010

    Going to try Thymer and Ronin. Do you know if they work with quickbooks or any other type of account tools. Time project billing is killing me…

    • Vandelay Website Design, September 27, 2010

      Yellow Ed,
      I’m not sure, I don’t use Quickbooks. You can check the feature lists and/or contact them to see if there is any integration.

  • Frustrated, September 26, 2010

    I will try to use “Thymer” as my time management tool..

    Not bad for 50 bucks !!

  • Drew, September 25, 2010

    http://nirvanahq.com is a great tool for tracking task – much better (IMHO) that Google

  • Paromita, September 25, 2010

    Very useful tools.Thank you.

  • Alice, September 25, 2010

    These are some great tools that I will have to get. I love everything that you have to show. I would like to know how you come up with all of these good ideas. I will have to keep reading to find out.

  • I am used spreadsheets and they work fine. I recently just purchased Busy Bee Invoicing http://bee-software.net/invoice-software/downloads/ for a one time fee of $25. It runs on Linux too so that is pretty cool since I use Linux and Windows both. It is just a simple invoicing program but I like it.

    A few years ago I decided to create my own invoicing website. It was pretty easy to create in PHP but I would always forget to click on the start timer button so it proved to be pretty useless for me. Maybe when I get around to it I’ll post the code so someone else can use it.

    Google Calendar is good and works on a lot of devices and integrates with Outlook. I use the tasks list in my email program that is helpful because you get little pop-up reminders to do things. I also resort to pen and paper. There is still nothing better than a list on paper. When it gets old you can start over with a new list of things to do.

  • Gina, September 24, 2010

    hello. A very nice and useful list. thanks for sharing.

  • Web Templates, September 23, 2010

    I’ve never really understood how time management applications work. Do they track your time or do they help you actuall manage your time more efficiently?

  • Craig, September 23, 2010

    If you want to track time on projects, look at the radically simple yet powerful Freckle. I use it, I pay for it, I like it. http://letsfreckle.com/

  • Paul, September 23, 2010

    RTM has become an invaluable tool for me. It really helps me focus on the tasks at hand rather than aimlessly tackling unimportant ones. I would also check out 1DayLater time and expense tracking for freelancers a simple web-based tracking and visualising tool.

  • Matthias, September 23, 2010

    It`s not an online tool, but for me the combination of TimeLog / GrandTotal works perfect! Timetracking and Billing which works perfect together and integrated into mac osx aplications. It has an iPhone version, so its useable anywhere.

  • Priyesh, September 23, 2010

    Great tools! Time management is a key area when it comes to developing a website and meeting deadlines. Without effective time management a project can get out of control due to either the lack of time allocated or not managing the work efficiently.

  • Rainer Bendig, September 23, 2010

    Great article, but the second screenshot seems to be wrong ;)

  • Diogo Costa, September 23, 2010

    Ow, great list! But, RTM is the best ever!

  • Allen, September 22, 2010

    Great list of time management tools! There are some pretty cools apps you could use in the same nature and more with Google Apps.

  • SEO Translator, September 22, 2010

    For the ToDo, I’ve always used the ToDo List from AbstractSpoon (abstractspoon -dot- com). Apart that it does not require installation & I can take it around with me on a USB stick, it has the possibility to assign tasks, share it with a team, have several lists and link them also with each other, and in particular create a hierarchy of tasks.

  • Stu, September 22, 2010

    Thanks for the mention (again!), by the way you can get Project Bubble free if you’re a student, and there is a special offer for designers. More info on the blog. Thanks again Vandelay.

  • Mariusz, September 22, 2010

    If you’re into organizing your day kanban style, you could also try Kanbanery – http://kanbanery.com. It’s free, but they are planning to get some paid plans aswell as soon as they come out of beta.

  • OfficeCavalry, September 22, 2010

    Thanks, this article is really handy. I will definitely use some of them.

  • Giacomo Colddesign, September 22, 2010

    Great! I need them..!!

  • micha, September 22, 2010

    Thanks for this list!

    btw: the screenshot for Ta-da Lists looks like Google Calendar ;-)