Pursuing research is a big thing, and it includes what feels like endless hours of project work, massive reading, deadlines, and reputation in the field. Keeping up with these tasks often feels easier with team members that can hold you accountable, but the world of research is often highly individualized and independent. What tools are out there to help?
If you’re the only one tracking these tasks for your own progress, how can you hold yourself accountable? If you work in teams, what are the best solutions to ensure projects run smoothly and time is managed well? Here is our list of 10 tried and tested time management tools for those in the field of academia and research.
Based on the Pomodoro Technique which dedicates sessions of productivity to 25 minute intervals with either 5 or 15 minute breaks, Pomofocus is as simple as it can get. This desktop and mobile application allows you to set 25 minute intervals to commit your productivity with smaller or larger breaks as needed. Notifications allow you to track this technique and stay focused to boost your productivity.
Created in a kanban-style format, Trello is an application that allows you to list specific tasks in different columns, typically separated by to-do, doing, and done. This organization allows you to visually track all of the action items that are needed for a specific project, and also the capacity and priority of each task. Additionally, you can add labels to each task to track them by category, that way various projects can be viewed at the same time.
Price: Free for their basic plan, additional features at a cost.
StayFocused is a chrome extension that allows you to manage the time-wasting sites that we typically take away from productive activities. When spending time online, it’s easy to get lost in the constant email, Facebook, and LinkedIn notifications that steal our attention. The extension works by allowing you to allocate a specific amount of time on certain sites, and then after you have used that time up, the site is inaccessible for the rest of the day.
If you are looking for a physical solution to tracking your time and specific project deliverables, Passion Planner is a great option. Acting as a physical calendar that makes it easy to break down action items and activities throughout the day, this is one time management solution for those that need a more palpable method for maintaining productivity.
Price: Free downloads are available on their website, with standard physical products ranging in price from $9 to $60.
If you are looking for solid statistics on your phone usage to make informed decisions on how to cut back, Antisocial is a great application to have. This app allows you to track how you are using your phone by recording the number of times you unlock your phone, your favorite applications used, and the time you spend on social media, and then compares that against others. If the data suggests that you are spending an excessive amount of time on your phone, it even provides resources and tools to limit that.
This is a great starting point to further understanding your relationship with your phone.
Have you ever had a colleague send you a useful article that you save to your bookmarks in order to read later, but then never look at it again? Or maybe you find a useful piece of information for a literature review, but you’re in the middle of another activity and don’t have time to read it at that moment.
Pocket is the solution for this. With a simple chrome extension and the mobile application, it’s possible to save online resources and tag them in order to view them later from anywhere, even while offline. With this application, it’s possible to get the most out of useful information, at a time that works best for you, rather than disrupting your current workflow.
Often overlooked as a time management tool to use, Google Calendar can provide a basic solution for those avoiding the learning curve of using a new tool. With Google Calendar, you can block out time for each activity you need to complete, and coordinate them by color for easy categorization.
Evernote is a note taking application that allows users to capture notes across media types, including hand-drawn pictures and notes, and then tracks and categorizes the information. With a calendar built in, you can even track deadlines alongside your notes. If you use it across different platforms, the notes you take are synchronized automatically, allowing you to pick up where you left off at any time.
Price: Free basic plan, with upgraded plans available at a cost.
If you are working on a research project with multiple people, one really great time management tool is Scoro. The application allows teams to plan, schedule, and track all relevant project deliverables, with easy assignment of who is working on which part of the project. Scoro also has the added benefit of optimizing and analyzing the key metrics of the project, that way the team can maximize efficiency.
Price: Plans starting at $26/month.
Audemic is a platform for students and researchers to make scientific research more accessible through audio. It allows the analysis of any scientific article, extracting a summary of it and providing the user with an audio version of both the article and the full text, being able to jump between sections without the need to scroll. In addition, the user can point to any part of the text and make annotations while listening with a single click, organise this content using smart tags and share it with other users.
What are you waiting for to try it? 😎