From Leonardo da Vinci's to-do lists to Ivy Lee's renowned task management system of the early 20th century, people have long devised ways to increase their productivity and achieve their goals.
But times have changed rapidly, and even newer technologies like email and spreadsheets fall short when applied to the modern, fast-paced world of work.
Nowadays, we need tools that'll help us organize and integrate multiple schedules, projects, and task assignments seamlessly and efficiently. And in a world where people may be working in different offices, cities, or even continents, the ability to collaborate from afar is key.
This is where online task management software plays its part, and most recently, the latest advanced features in AI and automation have ramped up the power of these tools even more.
This article will take a closer look at how task management software can meet these increasing demands.
What is task management software?
Task management software provides a centralized platform where users can create, assign, prioritize, and track task assignments, set deadlines, and collaborate with others in real-time. Different tools provide varying features, such as task lists, calendars, task reminders, progress tracking, task analytics, and reporting features.
Our modern workplaces have radically transformed over recent decades due to advancing technology and globalization. With the rise of remote work and virtual teams, task management and goal tracking have become more challenging than ever before.
Managing tasks within teams is more difficult with the additional challenges of communication barriers and time zone differences. Additionally, the constant influx of information and the frequent need to switch between complex tasks can make it difficult to stay focused and productive.
Thankfully, this is where modern task management tools can help. As a result, businesses are increasingly turning to these tools to help meet current workplace challenges.
Because most task manager tools are hosted in the cloud and are accessible from various devices and locations, they're ideal for remote teams. As a bonus, the most advanced task management tools now have integrated AI, giving additional advantages, such as more speed and reduced human error.
All these features can dramatically improve communication between team members, keeping everyone informed of exactly what's expected and when it's due. So it's fair to say that a task management tool can ease at least some factors workers blame for increased stress levels.
Why use task management software?
You've undoubtedly noticed that tasks often take up all the time you've allocated to complete them. If you have a week, your task will take all of that week, but amazingly, if you have five days, it'll take just five days. It's such a well-known phenomenon that there's a name for it. It's called Parkinson's Law and was first written about in the Economist in 1955.
Research shows there's a tendency for individuals to work harder as they get closer to achieving a goal. So as that deadline is approaching, you'll put in the extra effort needed to complete your work on time.
It stands to reason that harnessing the power of these phenomena will positively impact our ability to get things done.
So how can task management software help you make the most of these tendencies? With task management software, you can:
- Set specific deadlines for completing task assignments so that there's less of a tendency to allow work to expand to fit more time than is necessary.
- Improve communication, and allow collaboration to share information and workload.
- Break down task assignments into smaller, more manageable steps, reducing the tendency to overestimate the time required for each task.
- Provide reminders and alerts to help you stay on track.
- Prioritize tasks based on their importance and urgency. This allows you to focus on the most critical tasks and avoid getting distracted by less important tasks.
- Track how long is spent on each task and identify areas where you can improve time management.
- Understand your workload better to help you avoid over or under-committing.
All these benefits have knock-on effects on the overall efficiency of your team's workflow. By improving communication and collaboration, task management software helps you manage time more efficiently and provide better outcomes for you and your team.
What's more, by helping your team stay on top of their workloads and manage their time, task management software can help reduce stress and improve work-life balance, leading to a healthier and more sustainable work environment.
How to choose the best task management software
With such a wide variety of choices out there, how do you choose the one that's right for you and your business? All task management software offers slightly different tools and abilities, and picking the right one will depend on your unique circumstances and workflows. So it helps to have a good idea of what you want from your software before you buy. Here are some of the features that you might want to look out for when you're deciding which to use:
- A calendar feature allows you to schedule and manage appointments, meetings, and deadlines. Some task management software integrates with your existing calendars too.
- A project management tool makes it possible to plan and manage projects from start to finish. It can include tools to define the scope of your project, track progress, and manage resources.
- Task management is the basic function of a task management tool and can help you manage individual tasks, such as setting deadlines, assigning tasks to team members, and tracking progress.
- A meeting assistant can help you plan and manage meetings. It may include tools to schedule meetings, send out invitations, and provide meeting agendas and notes.
- Integration and compatibility with tools you already use is a valuable feature. This can include integrations with email clients, communication platforms, and other productivity tools. Also, the software may offer an API that'll allow developers to build custom integrations for you.
- Time-tracking features can help you and your team stay on top of your workload and manage time more effectively.
- Communication features such as chat, messaging, and file sharing, improve your ability to collaborate on tasks and projects.
- Reporting and analytics provide insights into individual and team performance. This includes tools to track progress, identify bottlenecks, and measure productivity.
- Customizable dashboards allow you to tailor the software to your specific needs.
- A mobile app gives you the freedom to manage tasks on the go.
- Kanban task management software uses visual boards and cards to represent tasks, allowing you to track the progress of tasks through different stages.
The best task management software for 2023
We've come up with a list of five excellent task management tools with a range of functions and abilities for you to choose from. They all offer a free trial or a free version, so there's no need to commit until you're sure.
Motion task management software uses AI technology for task scheduling based on priorities, workload, and time limitations. The interface automatically updates as you input new tasks and appointments. What's more, it'll automatically re-prioritize things for you when emergencies arise, or task assignments take longer than expected.
By automating your scheduling tasks, Motion minimizes distractions and streamlines workload while giving you a clear view of how you're spending your time.
Motion task management software is especially beneficial for teams collaborating on projects, working towards deadlines, and tracking progress in real-time. Motion's flexibility and powerful features make it a helpful tool for project managers and teams in many sectors. Some examples of businesses it would be ideally suited for are a design agency, construction business, real estate office, sports team, law firm, or consulting business.
Some key features of Motion are:
- It uses algorithmic AI to automatically reshuffle tasks on your calendar as new tasks and events arise.
- Motion will automatically place your tasks in optimal time slots using its task prioritization feature.
- Motion will alert you if it's impossible to complete all your tasks by the deadline.
- It creates task dependencies so that a task that requires the completion of another task is scheduled appropriately.
- It brings together and integrates multiple calendars, such as Google Calendar and Outlook, and can populate other team members' calendars too.
- Motion combines project and task management. By having both of these capabilities in one tool, you can easily track and manage all of the tasks and activities associated with a project from start to finish.
- Motion automates 90% of project planning.
- Kanban view gives you a clear visual representation of due dates and progress.
Todoist is a task management tool and to-do list app that you can use to manage task assignments and projects individually or as part of a team. It has an intuitive user interface and is more straightforward than some other task management tools, making it better for personal task management and lightweight teamwork.
Here are a few useful features of Todoist:
- Provides a daily productivity report.
- Integrates with a variety of other apps.
- User-friendly and straightforward to use.
- Enables sharing of files and information with others.
- Allows for task delegation to other team members.
- Automatically reschedules overdue tasks.
- Offers customizable reminders to keep you on track.
- Prioritizes tasks for improved efficiency.
- Automatically backs up data for added security.
- Provides the option to edit tasks using voice assist apps.
Trello is a Kanban-style task management tool that uses boards, lists, and cards to manage your workflow. It's a popular choice for smaller teams because of its simplicity, intuitive interface, and the fact that it's user-friendly and easy to learn. Some examples of how it can be used include project management, brainstorming, task management, an editorial calendar, and onboarding.
You can use Trello to:
- Assign tasks and set due dates.
- Share files with other team members by attaching files and documents to cards.
- Collaborate, track progress, and organize your work using boards, cards, and lists.
- Tailor your interface for different work scenarios using ready-made templates like project management, marketing, education, and design.
- Use 'Power-ups' to extend Trello's functionality, adding features like time-tracking, polls, and integration with other apps.
- Streamline repetitive tasks and improve workflow efficiency with Butler, Trello's automation bot.
- Make use of multiple view choices, including Kanban, calendar, and timeline.
- Gain access from any device through a desktop interface or a mobile app.
Any.do is a to-do list tool more suited to individual productivity, families, or small teams. It's lightweight and simple to set up and use. Its main strength is its multi-platform use and its ability to integrate with thousands of other apps.
Here are some of Any.do's best features:
- It allows you to create to-do lists, tasks, and subtasks to organize your work and projects.
- There are apps for various platforms, including desktop, mobile, and web.
- Set due dates and receive notifications for upcoming tasks.
- Any.do Moment is a handy feature that allows you to review all your tasks for the day and choose to either reschedule, mark them as done, or delete them.
- 'Focus Mode' is a fun way to minimize distractions and concentrate on the task at hand.
- Prioritize your tasks based on their importance or urgency using color tags.
- The daily planner gives you personalized suggestions of what to focus on for that day.
- The calendar view allows you to view events, tasks, and appointments in one central place.
- Any.do integrates with multiple other apps and services.
Chanty is quite different from the other task management software we've discussed. It's actually a messaging app focusing on tasks and work rather than chat. It'd be well suited for businesses that require fast communication, such as logistics companies, IT specialists, restaurants, and property managers.
Here are just a few of the things you can do with Chanty:
- Create and assign tasks to team members.
- Seamlessly integrate with other workflow apps like Google Drive, Onedrive, and Zapier.
- Conduct group or private audio calls.
- Use video conferencing for face-to-face virtual meetings and presentations.
- Share files for collaboration on important documents and resources.
- Share voice messages for fast communication.
- Tag other team members to bring their attention to specific messages or tasks.
- Snooze notifications with "Do not disturb" and silent modes so you can focus deeply and get more work done.
- Search, filter, and browse chat history to retrieve information and past discussions.
- Opt for a Kanban view for a visual overview of tasks and workflows.
- Set due dates to establish task deadlines.
The best task management software for a healthier workplace
Modern task management software is more than capable of meeting the organizational demands of the present-day work environment. Whether you want a multi-functional project management tool for large teams, a task management tool for a smaller team, or just something to organize your own daily tasks, there's something out there to fit your needs.
With the best task management software, every team member can know what's expected of them, and effective communication should be a breeze. And by enabling this, you can reduce workplace stress and create a healthier working environment for everyone. So take that first step towards a less stressed workplace and sign up for a free trial from Motion.