The 3 Best Time Management Tools for Professional Service Providers (and Their Teams)
⏰ This article is part of a series on time management for professional service providers during February's National Time Management Month, established by the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO).
Effective time management is one of the most impactful ways to increase well-being and productivity in your business.
And like a mythical Selkie (half seal, half human), it’s also one of the slipperiest, most shape-shifty challenges for any solo service provider or team to address.
Maybe you’re a solopreneur or growing a team of coaches, consultants or trainers using different technology to service clients. Either way, managing our time can sometimes feel overwhelming. And the beauty of time management is that YOU HAVE CONTROL OVER IT.
How? Because while it may not feel like it at this moment, you have absolute control over two things in your business:
- the tools you choose to use, and
- your mindset.
In fact, a recent benchmark study we did with 40 top business coaches and their teams revealed just how not alone you are in your struggle with effectively managing time. More than 85% of professional service providers surveyed spent less than half their time delivering paid coaching services!
More than 85% of professional service providers surveyed spent less than half their time delivering paid coaching services!
(For a quick summary on this, see our infographic of findings paired with three key insights the study revealed.)
And you’re not alone in your daily struggle to overcome 21st-century distractions. It can take us up to two hours to ‘recover’ from distractions every single day! Distractions like not paying attention and having to re-review notes or checking our Slacks, emails and social media.
So if you have some semblance of control over the tools you choose and the mindset you approach your work and daily tasks with, where to get started?
Good thing you asked.
We’ve rounded up the three best time management tools for service professionals like yourself (and your team).
So, let’s make like a legendary Selkie and dive in!
3 Best Time Management Tools for Coaches, Consultants, Trainers and Teams
One of the quickest ways to find more time in a day is by offloading some effort to the right technology.
Time management and tracking tools can offer validation of the struggle we’re experiencing and a perspective on where the bottlenecks exist in our service workflow. But even more than that, they can prepare us with empirical data. And with data-informed insights, we can intentionally reshape where our hours are going in a day.
Reshape your daily schedule with the insights these time management tools for coaches, consultants, trainers and teams provide and get yourself and your team rowing in the same direction.
Easiest for solopreneurs and small teams: Clockwise browser plugin
When you’re dealing with reducing the overwhelm, starting simple is best.
Clockwise is an AI-driven intelligent calendar assistant that “optimizes your team's calendars to create more time in everyone's day.” Helping you “set boundaries and bring flexibility to your schedule.”
The Clockwise browser plugin is free to download and use within certain limits. But, after a few simple settings adjustments using their intuitive setup wizard, the insight this tool gives you into why you might be feeling the time crunch is well worth the minutes of configuration.
Clockwise plugin integrates with your Google calendar and Slack to show your meeting time and focus time chunks. It automatically reshuffles with your permission to find you more uninterrupted time to get into your work ‘flow’ or focus on your clients.
What our Marketing team at Profi ♥️ loves: Clockwise gives an average estimate of the focus time you have in a week, so you can make informed adjustments. Automate setting time boundaries and communicating them (via Google and Slack), so you know which meetings or interruptions fragment your calendar and focus.
Most affordable for solopreneurs and growing teams: Harvest + Forecast web application, desktop widget and mobile app
Need an affordable way to handle where your coaching, consulting or training time is going? Growing a service team and want to understand actuals and set baselines across the team?
Starting at $12/month for Harvest and $5/month per user for Forecast, this intuitively designed time management and tracking/resource forecasting combo “optimizes your team's calendars to create more time in everyone's day,” helping you “set boundaries and bring flexibility to your schedule.”
“We really focus on work-life balance in remote work… Time tracking reveals if somebody is overburdened and that becomes an immediate conversation.” — Zehner Digital Marketing
While Harvest and Forecast make an incredible team by seamlessly integrating, they’re billed separately. And Harvest was one of the first time-tracking tools to get their interface right, taking the significant pain out of the market of dinosaur time trackers. At the same time, they were the first to help managers automate awkward team time entry followups.
What our Marketing team at Profi ♥️ loves: Way back in 2014 before the term ‘work nomad’ existed, Harvest was the first time tracking tool some of us discovered as consultants breaking out on our own to travel the world while managing our clients. And Harvest delivers on its promise, making time entry a source of ease and actual enjoyment rather than a burden we brushed off week after week.
Most flexible time tracking automation for scaling teams: Toggl track web and mobile applications
In the time paradigm, automation is the holy grail. Toggl track stands out for the best automation features to reduce the mental load that comes with tracking time across all the technology we use in our service businesses.
Time keeps on slippin', slippin’, slippin’ into the future! — Steve Miller Band
Toggl’s background tracker and desktop autotracker triggers are two standout time management automation features. Background tracker works as it sounds by auto-tracking any application or website you use for more than 10 seconds and making magical time entries. Desktop autotracker triggers are for the most forgetful among us. Set up Toggl Track to trigger time entry suggestions based on the software you're currently using.
What our Marketing team at Profi ♥️ loves: Even though Toggl is one of the newer kids on the time tracking and management block, their comprehensive set of integrations with tools we love and their automations let you hand the work over to the bot and get back to doing what you’re here to do — help more people.
The Bottom Line
Time tracking tools help us make friends with the ‘enemy’ of time. They’re a tactic we can use to bring awareness to our unconscious human habits. And this awareness allows us to rewrite our daily script with the insight that data brings. Fragmented blocks of time on our calendars, the impacts of unintended interruptions, not knowing where all our time goes and forgetfulness can finally be put in perspective with the right tools to automate the time management process.
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