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Free Tools To Effectively Manage Your Time

written by: Mary Rajotte•edited by: Tricia Goss•updated: 9/30/2010

Balancing your schedule can be a challenge in this technology-driven age. Get organized and work more efficiently with these tools for effective time management.

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    Organize Your Tasks

    taskportal Task Portal is a free online project management suite available in both free and dedicated versions. The service allows you to organize your tasks by:

    • adding projects & tasks
    • assigning due dates and status to projects
    • attaching documents to projects/tasks
    • sharing projects/tasks with other users
    • running reports to view the status, type and priority of entered tasks or projects

    Benefits:

    Task Portal combines the necessities of time management into one easy-to-use package. By using the website to plan, organize, prioritize and schedule your projects, your goal of creating an effective time management strategy can easily be achieved.

    For a step-by-step tutorial on how to set up your Task Portal account, read Manage your writing projects with Task Portal.

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    Prioritize with Google Calendar

    Google Calendar is more than a basic agenda. When combined with the Tasks feature, users can create a list of goals and implement a timframe in which to achieve them.

    Creating Tasks in Google Calendar

    • lay out tasks & subtasks you wish to achieve
    • re-ordering items is as easy is drag and drop

    Manage your Google Tasks Google Calendar reminders

    • create deadlines for your Tasks by clicking the > symbol to the right of the item
    • set up email and pop-up reminders of any Calendar item
    • select a due date and save your task

    Benefits:

    As part of Google's helpful set of email and productivity tools, Google Calendar and the Tasks feature are easy to implement and offer a one-stop-shop when it comes to keeping up with your to-do list.

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    Keep Track of Time Spent

    SlimTimer SlimTimer is a free web-based timeclock that keeps track of your projects. While it takes commitment in remembering to start & stop the timer, it is a useful tool that will help you track your productivity.

    SlimTimer allows you to:

    • create tasks
    • time your work
    • run reports
    • share projects with co-workers

    Benefits:

    The Reports feature is where SlimTImer shines. It gives you an instant snapshot of how you are spending your time, and in turn gives you the key to managing and improving how you spend your time.

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    Stay Productive By Blocking Time-Wasting Websites

    Leechblock The internet can be a wonderful resource in running your business, but it can also easily keep you from accomplishing your tasks.

    LeechBlock is a free Firefox add-on to block time-wasting websites by:

    • specifying up to six sets of sites to block
    • selecting different times and days for each set of blocked websites
    • allowing you to block sites within fixed time periods, after a time limit, or with a combination of the two

    Benefits:

    Determined internet users can unblock sites just as easily s they block them. But the benefit of using LeechBlock comes when you are face-to-face with the choice to actually turn the tool off. In that split second, you are reminded why you decided to use the tool in the first place.

    Often the guilt of knowing you are turning it off to spend time on websites that do not help you to achieve your entrepreneurial goals is enough to keep you on task and leave LeechBlock armed.

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    Final Thoughts

    While it may seem like an insurmountable task, you really can take charge of your daily schedule.

    With a few tools, some thoughtful planning, and the determination to work toward your goals, you can manage your time, build a successful business and still have time to enjoy your life out of the office.

    All photos: M. Rajotte