The finite nature of time means that every second in this life counts. There’s no way to live our lives and get things done without using this time, and there’s also no way to acquire more of this precious resource. Fortunately, there are several ways to save time and keep from wasting precious minutes that could otherwise be used more productively.

Technology is the answer to anyone who’s ever complained about never having enough hours in the day. Time management apps for almost every use and situation exist, and some of them have become so good that many employees who work on-site and remotely consider them utterly indispensable. Those who master them can take back control of their lives, stay organised, and have more time for the things they love.

If you work in an office, you’re probably already familiar with the software products included in this list. You may even already be using them as part of your usual workflow. To that end, we’ll include a few tips and tricks that can help you maximise your full potential. You may also want to consider taking training courses that can give you a deeper understanding of what these time management apps are capable of and how you can utilise them to work smarter.

Microsoft OneNote

OneNote is Microsoft’s premier note-taking program, though few people are aware of just how powerful and versatile it is. The application allows an unlimited number of concurrent users to share a single notebook where they can input text, pictures, tables, drawings, and even audio or video clips.

Unlike word processing programs such as Microsoft Word, OneNote functions as a virtually unbounded document window, and users can simply click anywhere on the canvas to contribute. The program also supports stylus input when used on a tablet or a touchscreen-enabled computer, enabling users to draw, sketch, and write notes longhand. To help you manage your time and track your tasks, you can create to-do lists, agendas, meeting minutes, quarterly planning documents, and more.

For people who value instant and real-time collaboration, OneNote can be invaluable. After setting up the notebook file, it can be accessed by everyone who needs it. By making sure that sharing is enabled, the program essentially works as an online whiteboard that can be used to exchange ideas or manage projects.

OneNote Pro-tip: OneNote works flawlessly with Microsoft Outlook, enabling users to manage deadlines and track the items on their to-do lists. Simply look for the Outlook tasks button on the top ribbon.

Microsoft Outlook

Most people know and use Microsoft Outlook as an email client, but its capabilities extend far beyond sending and receiving e-mail. Outlook is a personal information manager and includes functions to manage calendars, contacts, tasks, and to-do lists, in addition to note-taking, journal logging, and even web browsing.

Workers who use e-mail to perform the bulk of their tasks or ones who may be overwhelmed by the number of e-mails they receive every day will surely appreciate Outlook’s ability to sort, filter, and organise their messages. Sifting through unread messages and clearing the inbox can be simplified by setting up an easily navigable folder system, and the user can also categorise their incoming e-mail according to priority using rules. The application also enables users to recall or “un-send” e-mail, so long as the message has not yet been opened by the recipient.

Outlook Pro-tip: From Outlook 2010 and onwards, users can easily clean up their inbox with a single click using the Clean Up function. Using this tool deletes redundant messages and compiles all pertinent messages under a conversation into a single thread that can be more easily viewed. You can find the Clean Up tool by clicking on the Home tab from the top ribbon.

Microsoft Project

Microsoft Project is considered the gold standard when it comes to professional project management software. It is primarily used to assist a project manager in their day-to-day responsibilities, from devising schedules, assigning resources to tasks, tracking the progress of the project, keeping an eye on the budget, and balancing workloads.

The software is great for project managers or leads who wish to convert their to-do lists into full-fledged project plans that they can manage and share with other people. On a blank project file, users can enter tasks, set their duration, create milestones that can help track progress, and even view the budget of the project as more tasks are added. Though there is a bit of a learning curve to overcome, Microsoft Project’s intuitive design makes it easy for even a novice to utilise it productively.

Project Pro-Tip: To save time while working on a project file, remember these four useful keystrokes:

  • F3 key: remove a filter
  • Ins key: insert blank lines
  • Del: delete task lines

Working smart in the 21st century involves being open to new ways of doing things. Though you may already be using these tools, you can save time and get much more done by learning about their hidden capabilities.

Check out Priority Management Australia’s Time Management courses online today.