Seneca, the Greek philosopher, once wrote, “It’s not that we have little time, but more that we waste a good deal of it.” What was true 2000 years ago is still true today. We need to take good care of our time. So how do we ensure we’re using our time effectively and not wasting so much of our most precious resource?
In this article, we’ll look at how a day planner app can help us manage our time, how to choose the best app for our needs, and which ones might suit us best.
What is a day planner app?
A recent study showed good time management has several positive benefits, such as better job performance and academic achievement. Interestingly, the study also showed that better well-being is the strongest association with time management, arguably the most compelling.
So with all these amazing potential benefits, why aren’t we managing our time more effectively?
Perhaps it’s because we haven’t yet found the right tools. And that’s where day planner apps can help. A day planner, in any form, is one of the best tools available to help you organize your day and manage your daily tasks more efficiently. What’s more, the day planner apps available today offer many different features and capabilities, so there’ll always be something to fit your needs.
Here are a few of the capabilities of a good day planner app:
- Organizes and streamlines your daily tasks
- Syncs with your existing calendars
- Organizes your tasks and to-do lists
- Sends notifications and reminders for upcoming tasks
- Lets you attach documents and notes to tasks and events
- Allows you to share tasks, schedules, and notes
- Provides customizable settings
- Provides data backup and secure encryption
To sum up, a day planner app provides a convenient and centralized way to organize and manage your daily activities, helping you stay productive and in control.
Why use a day planner app?
Organization and time management
Organization and time management is the primary function of a day planner app, and they excel in helping you manage daily tasks, events, and meetings.
Time spent in meetings takes up a significant portion of many professionals' working days. And the number of meetings professionals are required to attend is increasing. A recent study showed that the average number of meetings rose from 15.1 per week in 2020 to 25.6 per week in 2021. That’s an increase of 70%. Clearly, scheduling and attending meetings is a high priority in the modern workplace, and some system of organization is important.
A day planner app is an ideal tool for scheduling meetings. It allows you to view your availability, set up meeting times, send invites, and manage responses all in one place. You can also set up notifications and reminders so that you don’t forget or miss any of your meetings. Additionally, AI-assisted day planners can automate many of these scheduling and rescheduling tasks.
Most day planners are cloud-based and can be used on various devices so that your schedule and tasks are always available. Additionally, many apps have adjustable settings for visual and auditory preferences, making them accessible to anyone with differing needs.
Some day planner apps allow you to collaborate with others in real-time, share schedules, delegate tasks, and synchronize updates with team members. This capability streamlines the coordination of your team and helps boost productivity when used in a work setting.
A day planner app with data backup capabilities will automatically save your entries, schedules, and notes to the cloud. This guarantees you’ll never lose important information due to unexpected device issues or loss.
Insights and analytics
A daily planner app can provide insights and analytics by tracking your task completion and time usage patterns. This can help you understand your productivity trends and identify any areas for improvement.
What are the different types of planners?
Basic planner apps
A basic planner app can provide core functions such as the ability to schedule appointments, set reminders, and view your events in a daily, weekly, or monthly format. If you need a simple solution for your personal daily life, a basic planner app could be the way to go.
AI-assisted planner apps
AI-assisted planner apps are a step up in functionality from non-automated apps. They use artificial intelligence to learn from your habits and preferences over time, then use this data to suggest the best times for tasks, events, and meetings. They can also set reminders, prioritize your tasks, and even rearrange your schedule based on unforeseen changes.
AI-assisted tools are used increasingly in business, as their ability to automate many tasks saves considerable time and reduces error. And people who use these tools extensively in their workplace say that they boost productivity.
So if you’re looking for a more powerful solution to boost your workflow, an AI-assisted daily planner app could be the best choice.
Task management apps
Some day planner apps are focused on task management. They're designed to organize your workflow and allow you to create, assign, and prioritize your tasks and to-do lists. They’ll allow you to set deadlines, notifications, and reminders and provide an overview of all your tasks in one place. Some will enable you to collaborate with other team members, and others are focused solely on personal task management.
Time-blocking day planner apps are designed to help you allocate specific time slots for tasks or activities throughout the day. They promote focused work and prevent multitasking by dividing your day into clearly defined sections of work, rest, and other activities.
Day planner apps can come as part of a larger productivity suite that combines multiple features such as calendars, task management, project management, note-taking, and collaboration tools. Productivity suites integrate these features on one platform, which streamlines the workflow between all the various tools.
Specialized planner apps
Some planner apps are designed for specific purposes, such as fitness tracking, financial planning, meal planning, or habit tracking. These apps help you organize your daily schedule around specific goals. They may provide additional functionalities like tracking progress, insights, and, sometimes, personalized recommendations to boost progress.
How do I choose a day planner app?
- Ease of use: A day planner app should be intuitive and user-friendly. Choose an app that you can navigate easily, has a simple interface, and makes daily planning and organizing tasks straightforward.
- Personal use or team collaboration: If you're using the app for personal time management, you’ll want different features than if you're planning on using it for team collaboration. In the latter case, features like shared calendars, task assignments, and project management tools could be useful.
- Productivity Features: Look for productivity-boosting features that fit your needs, like time tracking, task lists, reminders, or goal-setting tools.
- AI: Some modern-day planner apps leverage AI to help prioritize tasks, suggest scheduling options, or analyze productivity patterns. This could be a valuable capability if you're looking to automate part of your planning process.
- Platform (Android, iOS/macOS, or both): Make sure the app is compatible with all your devices. Some apps are platform-specific, while others can work across multiple operating systems.
- Integrations and compatibility with other tools: If you're already using certain tools or applications, choose a day planner app that can integrate with them. This can range from email platforms to project management tools and even digital assistants like Alexa or Siri.
- Cost: Planner apps can range from free to subscription-based pricing. Consider how much you're willing to pay and whether the app offers good value for money.
- User reviews: Finally, user reviews can provide real-world insights into the benefits and drawbacks of each app. What do people like about the app, and what are their complaints?
5 of the best day planner apps
Motion is a day planner app that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to automate some of its functions. It's ideal for individuals and small businesses seeking a more comprehensive solution.
- Prioritize tasks and assign hard or soft deadlines, making sure all your deadlines are met
- Available as a web app, mobile app, and Chrome extension
- Tasks and events can be color-coded
- Provides powerful AI-assisted automatic scheduling
- Users can drag and drop tasks to change their time frame
- Allows you to create booking pages and automatically add bookings to your Motion calendar
- Lets you block time you want to keep free for meetings
- Helps you find shared free time to book a meeting, even when the other participant is in another time zone
- The anti-distraction feature keeps you focused and productive
- Integration with Zapier allows for further integration with thousands of apps
Motion offers an individual plan and a team plan.
- The individual plan is $19 per month, billed annually, and $34 billed monthly.
- The team plan is $12 per user/month, billed annually, and $20 per user billed monthly.
- There’s a free 7-day trial.
Any.do is best for individuals and small teams looking for a simple to-do list and task management tool.
- Available for web, Windows, or Mac
- Simple list-based to-do app
- There are versions for personal use or for collaboration within teams
- You can also see your task and lists in calendar view
- Uses AI to break tasks into smaller subtasks
- The “Moment” feature allows you to review each of the day’s tasks one by one, and decide whether to reschedule, mark as done, or delete
- Sends a reminder when your assigned tasks are due
- Allows you to create recurring reminders for daily, weekly, or monthly commitment
Any.do offers a personal version, a premium plan, and a team plan.
- The premium plan is $3 per month, billed annually.
- The team plan is $5 per user/month, billed annually.
- The personal version is free.
Best planner apps for iOS and macOS
Serene is a simple app, best for individual macOS users who want to achieve better focus while they work.
- Serene is currently only available for macOS
- Lets you lock all apps and websites while you’re working so you can achieve deep focus
- You can establish a goal for the day and break it down into sessions
- Allows you to schedule breaks for yourself
- Can also silence your phone
- Provides a playlist designed for increased focus
- You can use Serene to collaborate within teams
- Serene offers one plan, which is $4/month billed annually.
- There’s also a free trial for ten deep work hours.
Things 3 is best for individuals looking for a simple to-do app for Apple products.
- It’s a simple list-based to-do app
- You can create multiple calendars, such as personal, family, and work
- Use “headings” to break large projects down into smaller tasks
- Provides the ability to tag ‘to-dos’ for different categories
- Create checklists to break a ‘to-do’ into smaller parts
- The “Quick Find” facility makes it easy to find your projects, tags, and to-dos
- Set reminders for to-dos you don’t want to forget
- Add due dates to your to-dos
- The drag-and-drop feature makes it easy to reschedule your plans
- It’s a daily planner app for personal use only
Things 3 is sold separately for Mac, iPad, and iPhone.
- The macOS version is $49.99 (one-off payment).
- The iPhone & Watch version is $9.99.
- The iPad version is $19.99.
- There’s a free 15-day trial of the macOS version.
Best free planner app
The free version of Google Calendar is best for individuals and small groups, but larger teams and organizations may find more value in the paid version offered through Google Workspace. Google Calendar also integrates with Motion.
- Create a calendar, then schedule meetings and events
- Allows you to create multiple calendars
- Set alerts and reminders for upcoming events
- Receive notifications on your phone, computer, or by email
- Allows you to view in day, week, month, and year views
- Advanced search capabilities
- Set different access permissions for each of the calendars you create
- Share your schedule with other team members
- World clock helps collaborate with people in other time zones
Google Calendar is free with a Google account.
Choose the right planner, and watch your productivity soar
A day planner app can help us better use our time in both our work and personal lives. With the right app, we can organize daily tasks, appointments, and goals and boost our productivity. What’s more, a day planner app allows us to keep all this information in one easily accessible place. And as we’ve seen, there are a multitude of apps with different functionalities to choose from. Whether you want to organize your personal life or collaborate with teams at work, there’s something out there to meet your needs.
Motion is one of the most adaptable day planner apps available, suitable for teamwork or for personal use. Moreover, its AI functionality automates many scheduling tasks for you, saving time and maximizing productivity.
So if you want to find out what an excellent day planner app can do for you, try a free trial of Motion today.