If you work too much, you get tired and don’t get the result you wanted, it is the time to change your approach to your time management. The rule is: yes, you have time, but you are not spending it wisely. Say ‘no’ to the activities that don’t move you to your goal. To be able to do this, first, set your goals and then plan your activities and set tasks that will only help you to achieve what you decided. All the rest is to be left aside.

Time is our most valuable asset. We got used to take it and spend it as if it was free. But it is not so. Time can make you richer or make you poorer. When you spend time on something you don’t like to do but as the result you don’t get what you wanted it is not life that is cruel to you: it is you that just didn’t determine your goals properly or decided to move towards too many goals at a time, or picked wrong goals, finally. Revise what you want to get. Then plan your to-do list.

For your to-do list planning and time management I recommend you to use online applications that provide you efficient task management features. Such applications have become numerous for the last few years. You can choose amongst Zoho, Zendesk, AtTask, Clarizen, EasyProject, Celoxis, Basecamp, Redmine, Jira and many others. Try out and test any of those systems: they all have a free trial for a period of time that can go up to 45 days. I will only share my experience with you and give you some guidelines of the features you can expect to find.

1. Daily Task Management

The feature number one you need to try out right now. First of all, for your personal needs. Log into the application with your password and get access to your to do list online. You can do it from your computer, tablet or mobile: all you need is a browser. Prioritize tasks, schedule deadlines for them, set statuses. Dashboards will show you the amount of tasks completed and you will clearly see how you spend your time. Just don’t do anything you didn’t put on your list: concentrate on your goal.

2. Team Daily Task Management

Share your task list with your team. This feature is useful at work. Enough with exchanging email, making phone calls, and other time-devouring activities that don’t move your forward. See the tasks lists of your colleagues and stay on top of your project. This feature is more of use at work.

3. Collaboration Tools

Seeing others’ tasks lists is not enough: you need to be able to bring changes, optimize your common effort. Online applications offer different sets of collaboration tools for this. Usually, they include notes, comments, wiki, forums, RSS feeds, email notification. Some solutions even have the option of online meetings with web-cams and VoIP. Attach files to the task directly in the application. Thus, all the info about each task is kept in one place. You can share it with anyone with one click by setting roles: user, viewer, assignee etc.

4. Project Management Features

Professionals study for many years to become a project manager and then it takes them years to become project managers at companies. Ignore it. Be a project manager of your life. Make a plan. The features that will enable your planning and control are mind maps, dashboards, reports. I liked most the MS Project-like charts that show the milestones of your project in a single chart. And don’t forget that at this point, the most important thing to do is to prioritize your goals.

5. Tracker

If you have daily activities that you need to do repeatedly to succeed your project, you can automate them. This is another thing we can take from professional business organization. I have tested a number of applications and tossed them away, because they either don’t have a tracker, or you need to put a lot of time to program it. Note this: in some cases developers say ‘our solution is for business automation’ and they don’t mean a tracker. They only mean that you can reassign your task to any other user. This is not a tracker, this is, actually chaos. Business automation is a workflow scheme where members of your team get their tasks in turn: one finishes his part of work and the next one gets the notification to start the next part. Choose the solution that enables you to automate your workflow without programming. This means that you build a workflow scheme dragging its parts with the mouse. Like this, your scheme will be ready in minutes.

You don’t necessary need to use all of the five task management features. Choose the ones that you really need. And always remember: set proper goals and do only things that you’ve planned. Learn to say ‘no’ to the things that don’t push your forward. Always keep it in mind: your time is your most valuable asset, use it wisely.

Author’s Bio: Anastasia Chumakova currently works for B2B software development company and enjoys testing various systems and products. One of her main duties with her company is to write for the company website because of this, Anastasia began writing for other blogs from around the world on various topics.