Three unique tools to take back your time

Are all the hours you’re spending on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Google Plus and Buzzfeed really just to do your job better?

In general, the internet takes more of your time than you care to admit. And, to make matters even more complicated, as writers and communicators, we tend to spend more time online than those in other professions.

Time is a hot commodity, and to put it bluntly, time is money. We are all guilty of allocating time to things that should not be a priority, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

Here are three tools to help you reclaim your days, get out of schedule debt and be guilt-free to surf the interwebs in peace (after you hit those deadlines, of course!)

1. ManicTime

Every company goes through a period during the year where they take a close look at their books, evaluate what’s working, see where they can be more profitable, and decide what needs to stop: an audit. As a writer, auditing my time has been crucial to revealing the difference between when I work best and when I am just fooling myself. ManicTime is perfect for helping you figure out just that. This tool runs completely in the background of your computer, itemizes exactly what you are doing, down to the websites you open and the computer applications you use. The result is a seamless reporting system to help you easily and efficiently manage your time.

Cost: Free for “Standard” version and $67/year for “Professional” version

2. RescueTime

RescueTime runs in the background of your browser and details how and where you spend the most time. At the end of each week, it sends an email update, detailing how much time was “productive” and how much time was not. It is focused on helping you reclaim your workday and not break a sweat doing it. The best part is that it takes less than two minutes to start tracking and analyzing your time online.

Cost: Free for “RescueTime Lite” and $6/month for “RescueTime Pro”

3. Tictrac

Tictrac takes time tracking to levels unseen. This tool is the next iteration in lifestyle design, allowing you to seamlessly track and link with the apps you already use during the day, to get a better picture of where your time is going and how well you use it. Tictrac allows you to create projects, like a health goal or a freelance assignment, then track your progress through visualizations and constant syncing with your favorite devices. You can really track almost anything. Trust me. Its fun, easy and definitely worth a look.

Cost: Free. This tool is currently in beta.

Time is resource that runs out daily, so learning how to master it is key. Hopefully these tools make keeping track of yours a little easier.

What other tools do you use to ensure you’re spending your time wisely? Share in the comments below!

Jonathan Jackson is a twenty-something who recently discovered he is a writer with a love for marketing and strategy. He blogs about growing up and other things. You can find him on Twitter. He’s a nice guy.

Photo credit: Image courtesy of Graeme Weatherston at

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