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Ah, the rollercoaster of productivity – some days you soar high, and on other days, you’re plunging downwards. If you’re looking to level out those peaks and valleys, timeboxing apps are the toolkit you didn’t know you needed.
Timeboxing is a technique that curbs your perfectionist tendencies by imposing time limits on your tasks. The apps make it super easy to put each task from your to-do list in a dedicated time box in your day and follow through.
Not only do you get more done, but you also gain the peace of mind knowing you didn’t waste time fussing over the details. So let’s look at the best apps for timeboxing out there!
What are the best timeboxing apps in 2023?
As a recovering perfectionist, I understand the struggle of wanting to get everything just right – and how it can sabotage your productivity.
I’ve tested a lot of productivity tools over the years, and these seven apps are the ones I found the most efficient for timeboxing tasks and making consistent daily progress.
Best timeboxing app for mindful planning
Sunsama is a calendar and task manager that integrates timeboxing into its interface seamlessly. This tool allows you to plan your day by allocating specific time blocks for each task, keeping you on track and stopping you from getting lost in perfectionism.
Sunsama has a smart autoscheduling feature that automatically puts the task into your calendar based on the time you estimated for it during the daily planning ritual.
What makes Sunsama stand out is its ability to integrate with other productivity tools like Asana, Trello, and Jira. You can just drag and drop the tasks from any tool into your daily plan or timebox them directly into the calendar. It also lets me pull the emails from my Gmail inbox as tasks!
It’s the perfect choice for individuals who juggle multiple projects and platforms and want to use timeboxing to make sure everything gets done on time.
Best Features of Sunsama
Sunsama offers a 14-day free trial that doesn’t require a credit card.
They are confident that with guided planning and timeboxing, you’ll see a real boost in productivity and will subscribe to Sunsama to keep the momentum going. (It worked with me!)
After the free trial, this timeboxing app will cost you $20 per month or $16 if you pay annually.
As a solopreneur managing multiple projects, Sunsama is my go-to app for daily planning. The guided rituals keep me focused, and automatic timeboxing gives me a clear picture of what I should do and when.
Best AI timeboxing app with autoscheduling
Motion is an AI-powered online planner that elevates the concept of timeboxing to a new level. This tool doesn’t just let you set up time blocks for tasks; it actively organizes your day for you, utilizing machine learning algorithms to intelligently plan your agenda based on priorities and deadlines.
The app aims to fine-tune your schedule down to the minute, ensuring that you stay on track and don’t let perfectionism derail your productivity. It even advertises itself as a solution for ADHD, helping users focus on tasks for longer periods.
What makes Motion a cut above the rest is its adaptability. If a task takes longer than expected or an emergency arises, Motion automatically reschedules the rest of your day. This feature is a game-changer for perfectionists who tend to get hung up on disruptions and unexpected challenges.
With Motion, you essentially have a personal AI assistant that handles the complex, often stressful task of scheduling. From planning your entire day to rescheduling tasks when needed, Motion has you fully covered.
Best Features of Motion
Motion has two plans: one for personal use and another for teams.
- Individual plan costs $34 per month, but it’s reduced to just $19 if you pay yearly.
- The Team plan costs $20 per month per user ($12 annually) and offers a bunch of additional features for team collaboration. For example, assigning a new task to someone automatically schedules it into an appropriate place in their calendar.
Motion offers a 7-day free trial so you can see if automatic timeboxing can help you become more focused and waste less time on planning.
I trialed Motion for 7 days and realized that I prefer more hands-on planning (thus choosing Sunsama). That said, I was impressed by the autoscheduling capabilities of this tool, and I think it can be a real game changer for many people, especially if you have a lot on your plate.
Best timeboxing app to block distractions
Freedom is an app known for its website blocking features, but it also offers timeboxing capabilities. Unlike other timeboxing apps that focus on planning your day, Freedom is more about eliminating distractions during your designated time boxes.
This app allows you to schedule blocks of time where you can’t access distracting apps or websites.
Essentially, it enables you to create a distraction-free environment for your timeboxed tasks, making it much easier to stick to your schedule.
For perfectionists who are often tempted to “just check one more thing,” Freedom’s timeboxing capabilities are a godsend. This app helps you stick to the time you’ve allocated for a task, physically preventing you from distracting yourself.
If your main challenge is sticking to your timeboxes because of digital distractions, Freedom could be your ideal productivity partner.
Best Features of Freedom
Freedom costs $8.99/month, but this is reduced to just $3.33/month if you pay annually (a no-brainer deal, if you ask me).
To test the timeboxing and distraction-blocking capabilities, Freedom lets you sign up and get 7 free sessions before committing to a subscription.
I have an annual subscription to Freedom, and I haven’t yet found an app that is better at keeping me focused. During every long time block, I find my mind wandering and semi-consciously opening my typical procrastination websites at least a couple of times – thankfully, there is a friendly green wall of Freedom there to keep me in check.
Best timeboxing app for work scheduling
Morgen is your one-stop solution for managing time effectively and overcoming the pitfalls of perfectionism. Designed to work across multiple platforms, this app combines all your calendars and tasks in one place, helps you schedule meetings, and allows you to timebox the work that truly matters.
The Morgen app syncs seamlessly with all types of calendars, ensuring your work and personal commitments coexist peacefully. This way, you no longer have to switch between multiple apps or windows, which is a huge time-saver and a mental load off.
In Morgen, you can either integrate your existing to-do list or create a new one right in the app.
Once your tasks are laid out, Morgen allows you to smoothly schedule dedicated time boxes in the calendar for each one, helping you prioritize and focus.
The app also simplifies the process of meeting scheduling, eliminating the need for tedious back-and-forths. With customizable booking pages and scheduling links, Morgen makes it easy for others to see your availability and book time with you.
Best Features of Morgen
Unlike most of the other timeboxing apps, Morgen offers a free plan with one calendar account and basic functionality – which may be enough for many people.
If you want to connect multiple calendars and take advantage of powerful integrations with other tools, the paid plans start at just $4 per month.
This is, I think, the most affordable out of the good-quality scheduling apps on the market now.
Best calendar app for timeboxing
Fantastical goes beyond being just a calendar app by offering dynamic timeboxing features. This app brings your tasks and meetings into one unified view, making it easier than ever to timebox your day effectively.
The interface is so user-friendly that it has even won design awards. And it’s not just about the looks.
Fantastical offers various viewing options ranging from a quick DayTicker overview to comprehensive full-screen views for your day, week, month, quarter, or year. You get to choose how much or how little detail you want, catering to different levels of need for control.
Fantastical stands out with its innovative templates. If you have recurring events or tasks, you can quickly create templates to speed up your scheduling process. This feature simplifies timeboxing your frequent tasks and events, making your life that much easier.
It’s a cross-platform calendar app made for Apple lovers, so it supports all types of devices (Mac, iPad, iPhone, Apple Watch) but is limited to the Apple infrastructure.
Best Features of Fantastical
You can use Fantastical for free with limited functionality. The premium plans start at $4.75 per month per user. There is also a family plan that can cover up to 5 people and costs $7.50 per month.
Fantastical offers a 14-day free trial to try out any plan before committing.
Best timeboxing app for task management
Akiflow is an up-and-coming timeboxing app that aims to streamline your workday with a straightforward, intuitive interface. It focuses on bringing all your tasks from various platforms into one central hub, ready to be time-boxed.
Once your tasks are imported, Akiflow allows you to set specific time slots for each, making it easier to dodge the trap of endless fine-tuning. Similar to Sunsama, the app has a focus mode, which brings your current timeboxed task front and center, reducing distractions.
If you’re on the lookout for a timeboxing app that can handle all your tasks while providing focus features, Akiflow should be on your radar. It’s basically a clone of Sunsama, so it’s a matter of personal preference which planner you like more.
Best Features of Akiflow
Akiflow costs $24.99 per month or just $14.99 per month (40% off) if you pay annually. There is a 7-day free trial to play around with this timeboxing app before committing.
7. Todoist + Trevor AI
Best simple timeboxing app combination
Todoist is well-known in the productivity community for its robust task management features offered in a minimalistic user interface.
When paired with Trevor AI, an intelligent automation tool, you get a powerhouse solution that takes timeboxing to the next level. This dynamic duo works together to optimize your task lists, schedules, and even your habits, freeing you from the clutches of perfectionism and keeping you accountable.
The Todoist interface is really clean and straightforward – honestly, the best I’ve ever used. With shortcuts and natural input, it makes it super easy to add tasks, set priorities and due dates, and even create reminders.
Trevor AI complements this by using machine learning algorithms to analyze your workflow and offer smart suggestions for task arrangement and time allocation.
The combined power of Todoist and Trevor AI ensures that you stay focused and accomplish what you set out to do without letting perfectionism slow you down.
Best Features of Todoist + Trevor
Todoist has a solid free plan that I myself used for several years. I now have the Pro plan – for just $4 a month, it allows you to create more than 5 projects and adds multiple other perks.
They also recently introduced a new business plan that costs $6 per user per month and offers a convenient collaboration toolkit.
Trevor also has both a free plan and a paid plan ($3,99/mo). The Pro plan lets you sync multiple calendar accounts, has better functionality to track progress, and adapts to your personal work habits over time for smarter predictions.
What is a timeboxing app?
A timeboxing app is a productivity tool that helps you allocate fixed time slots for specific tasks. Unlike general scheduling or time-blocking apps, timeboxing apps focus on limiting the amount of time you spend on any given activity.
Timeboxing technique ensures that you don’t get lost in the weeds, helping you overcome perfectionism and push forward with your to-dos.
The unique advantage of a timeboxing app is its role in combating the perfectionist tendencies that many of us have.
By placing hard time limits on tasks, these apps force you to focus on what truly moves the needle for your projects. This way, you make progress on multiple fronts instead of getting stuck fine-tuning a single task.
How can timeboxing apps benefit you
Timeboxing apps streamline your daily workflow and offer a concrete pathway to enhanced productivity. But the benefits don’t stop at task scheduling; there’s a lot more to gain. Here are some of the core advantages you can expect:
- Creates a sense of urgency: With time ticking away, you’re motivated to focus and complete tasks.
- Reduces perfectionism: Allocating time for each task helps you move on instead of getting stuck in the details.
- Prioritizes work: Scheduling high-priority tasks during your most productive hours makes sure you get important work done.
- Eliminates decision fatigue: No need to sit and think about what to do next; the app tells you exactly what you are supposed to be doing at any given minute.
- Encourages breaks: Timeboxing your day allows you to intentionally set aside time to rest and recharge, which is crucial for long-term productivity.
- Enhances work-life balance: By sticking to your time boxes, you create a better balance between work and leisure, such as don’t work overtime.
By using a timeboxing app, you’re essentially taking control of your time, which is the first step to seizing control of your life.
What makes a good timeboxing app?
After conducting extensive research and personally purchasing and testing multiple timeboxing apps, I’ve identified the key features that make for an effective tool.
These criteria will help you make an informed decision and align the app’s functionality with your planning needs. Here’s what I considered:
- User interface: A clean, intuitive design that’s easy to navigate.
- Flexibility: Ability to customize time blocks and adjust plans on the go.
- Integration: Compatibility with other tools you use, like calendars and to-do lists.
- Autoscheduling: A feature that automatically allocates time boxes based on task priorities and deadlines.
- Time limit alerts: Notifications or alarms to signify the end of a time box, encouraging you to move on to the next task.
- Reliability: Consistent functionality with minimal bugs or downtime.
These guidelines offer a comprehensive framework for evaluating any timeboxing app, ensuring that you select the one that’s right for you.
Frequently asked questions
Timeboxing is a productivity method where you allocate fixed time periods, known as “timeboxes,” to activities. You work on a task during its timebox and then move on to the next one, discouraging endless tinkering and promoting a balanced workflow.
Timeboxing is a simple yet incredibly effective technique, especially for those prone to perfectionism or procrastination. It brings structure to your workday, helps you prioritize tasks and meet deadlines, and encourages you to make progress rather than aiming for perfection.
Motion stands out as an excellent timeboxing app for teams. It efficiently organizes tasks and meetings based on priorities and deadlines, creating a cohesive and clear agenda for the entire team.
Additionally, Motion’s automatic adjustments and meeting scheduling features make it the best friend of any project manager.
Sunsama offers a desktop app for Mac users. It’s designed to integrate effortlessly with the macOS environment, providing you with a seamless timeboxing experience right on your laptop.
Managing your calendar on mobile is not very convenient: you can’t do things like drag and drop tasks from the to-do list into your calendar. That’s why most timeboxing apps are better in the web version. I recommend planning on the computer (for example, in Sunsama) and use the Android app just to view and reference your planned activities.
Sunsama is the best timeboxing app overall. It also has a desktop version available for Windows 10 or later, ensuring that Windows users can also benefit from its robust timeboxing capabilities.
Final thoughts on best timeboxing apps for 2023
The irony is not lost on me: you’ve just spent time reading about time management.
But think of it as an investment. These few minutes of reading and choosing the right tool will potentially save you hours every week and ensure you are the most productive version of yourself!
You’re not just choosing an app; you’re choosing a lifestyle change. These timeboxing apps will get you closer to the well-balanced, highly productive life you’re after.
Don’t just take my word for it – try at least one out and let the results speak for themselves!