Are you feeling overwhelmed by multiple tasks to manage on a daily basis? Are you looking to optimize your time and increase productivity? Or perhaps you’re struggling to coordinate your team’s schedules? This article is the solution to all your problems! Discover the 15 best planning tools that will help you organize your work effectively and boost your productivity. Are you ready to transform your time management?
The 15 Best Schedule Planning Tools
- Microsoft Project
Why is Planning Important?
In today’s world, time is a precious resource, making planning essential for achieving personal and professional goals. Whether for an individual, a team, or a company, a well-designed plan provides structure, organization, efficient task management, and optimization of productivity.
We will present the reasons why planning is crucial:
1. Structure and Organization
- Provides structure and organization to daily activities
- Clearly identifies tasks and prioritizes them
- Divides larger goals into smaller, manageable steps
- Avoids confusion and forgetting important tasks
- Helps stay focused on priorities
2. Effective Time Management
- Allocates specific time slots for each task
- Avoids wasting time deciding what to do next
- Optimizes available time based on task importance and resource availability
3. Task Prioritization
- Prioritizes tasks based on urgency and importance
- Identifies critical tasks requiring immediate attention
- Balances workload by distributing tasks effectively
- Avoids procrastination and ensures steady progress towards goals
4. Stress Reduction
- Reduces stress related to time management and task completion
- Provides a clear view of tasks and how to approach them
- Increases control over the situation
- Prevents delays, scheduling conflicts, and last-minute emergencies that can generate stress and disrupt work-life balance
5. Improved Productivity
- Enhances productivity by identifying and prioritizing tasks
- Avoids wasting time on non-priority or non-essential activities
- Minimizes interruptions by dedicating specific time periods to tasks
- Promotes concentration and efficiency
Top 15 Planning Tools to Get Organized
- Create schedules using boards and cards.
- Each card represents a task or activity and can be moved across different columns representing different process stages.
- Assign team members, set deadlines, add checklists and comments for collaboration.
- Easily visualize tasks, progress, and deadlines for effective planning and organization.
Asana is an online project management platform that enables teams to collaborate, plan, and organize tasks. It offers features such as task lists, progress tracking, deadline management, and team communication.
- Create schedules by defining tasks, deadlines, and dependencies.
- Assign responsible team members, track progress, and visualize schedules using Gantt charts or calendar views.
- Plan and organize activities effectively, ensuring better coordination and optimal resource and deadline management.
Monday.com is an online work management platform that allows teams to collaborate, track projects, manage tasks, and plan deadlines. It offers an intuitive and customizable visual interface to enhance productivity and communication within organizations.
- Create schedules using customizable boards and columns to represent projects and tasks.
- Set start and end dates for tasks, define dependencies, and adjust deadlines as needed.
- Offers time tracking, resource allocation, and visualizations through calendars, Gantt charts, and Kanban views.
- Enables teams to better organize their work and meet deadlines.
Jira is a software platform used for project management in software development teams and other business domains. It is a widely used and popular project management tool developed by the Australian company Atlassian.
- Task creation and management
- Issue tracking and management
- Sprint planning
- Time tracking
- Version management
- Team collaboration
- Reporting and dashboard generation
Wrike is an online project management and collaboration platform designed to assist teams in planning, organizing, and executing tasks effectively.
- Detailed task creation and organization
- Task categorization and assignment
- Deadline setting and dependency management
- Interactive calendar view
- Gantt chart visualization
Smartsheet is a cloud-based project management and collaboration tool that simplifies the creation and management of schedules. It allows individuals and teams to collaborate in real-time on interactive and shareable spreadsheets, providing enhanced visibility and coordination for projects.
- Task management: Create and organize tasks in spreadsheet-like rows. Assign tasks, set deadlines, priorities, and track status.
- Interactive calendar: Provides a visual calendar view with tasks and deadlines. Allows easy drag-and-drop functionality for adjusting dates and dependencies.
- Time and resource tracking: Track time spent on each task, allocate resources, and manage team capacities and workloads.
- Dependencies and relationships: Establish task dependencies to reflect precedence relationships and project constraints. Highlight dependencies and manage potential changes or delays.
- Notifications and reminders: The tool sends email notifications to keep team members informed about updates, changes, or important task and deadline reminders.
TeamGantt is an online platform designed to facilitate the creation and management of project schedules. It is particularly useful for teams looking to organize their tasks, collaborate effectively, and track project progress.
- Gantt chart visualization: Represent tasks graphically on a timeline to provide a clear view of the project’s tasks and their dependencies.
- Task creation and assignment: Create tasks, define dependencies, and assign team members to each activity.
- Start and end dates, durations, and milestones: Define start and end dates, durations, and milestones to track project progress.
- Real-time collaboration: Enable team members to collaborate by commenting on tasks, sharing files, and discussing project details directly within the platform.
- Tracking and reporting: Track project progress using progress indicators, completion percentages, and automatically generated reports. Identify delays, bottlenecks, and take corrective actions accordingly.
GanttProject is an open-source project management software that allows users to visualize and plan the various tasks of a project, allocate resources, establish dependencies between tasks, and track the overall progress of the project.
To create high-quality schedules, here are the features that will be useful to you:
- Gantt Chart: The Gantt chart is the central element of GanttProject. It graphically represents the different tasks of the project, their durations, and their dependency relationships. Tasks are displayed as horizontal bars, making it easy to visualize the project timeline.
- Resource Management: GanttProject allows you to assign resources (such as team members, equipment, or materials) to the different tasks of the project. This helps in planning and tracking resource utilization, identifying potential overallocation or underallocation issues, and optimizing the use of available resources.
- Progress Tracking: Once the project is underway, the tool allows you to track the progress of tasks. Users can update the completion status of completed tasks and record information about delays or issues encountered. The software will automatically recalculate the dates and dependencies of the remaining tasks based on these updates.
- Export and Sharing: The tool offers the ability to export schedules in PDF, PNG, HTML, or CSV formats, making it easy to share information with team members or project stakeholders. It also allows for printing Gantt charts for offline use or presentations.
Basecamp is an online project management tool that enables teams to collaborate, communicate, and organize their tasks and schedules. While Basecamp is not specifically designed for creating schedules, it offers features that can be used to manage and track project timelines and deadlines.
In Basecamp, you can create projects and gather all relevant information, such as files, discussions, tasks, and deadlines, within them. Each project has a home page where you can get an overview of the schedule and tasks to be completed.
To create a schedule in Basecamp, you can use:
- Schedule: Basecamp provides a tool called “Schedule” that allows you to visualize tasks and deadlines in a calendar format. You can add tasks, set deadlines, and organize them based on priority.
- Tasks: You can create individual tasks in Basecamp and assign specific deadlines to them. Tasks can be grouped into lists or categories, making it easy to organize and view your schedule.
- Reminders and Notifications: Basecamp sends reminders and notifications to team members to inform them about upcoming tasks and impending deadlines. This helps keep everyone informed and ensures that deadlines are met.
ClickUp is an online project management and collaboration platform that allows for efficient schedule creation and task management. It is a versatile tool that offers a wide range of features to help individuals and teams organize their work and track their progress.
One of ClickUp’s key features is schedule creation. Users can create task lists and organize them into boards, lists, calendars, or Gantt charts. These views allow for easy visualization of tasks to be completed, their dependencies, and their chronological order.
In ClickUp, you can assign tasks to team members, set deadlines and priorities, add comments and attachments, and track task progress. The platform also offers collaboration features such as the ability to mention team members, share documents, and engage in real-time discussions.
ClickUp also provides additional time management features such as tracking time spent on each task, estimating task durations, and resource planning. This enables users to better manage their time and monitor project progress.
The tool offers complete customization to suit the specific needs of each user. You can create task templates, set reminders and notifications, and customize display settings to create a planning experience tailored to your preferences.
Airtable is an online database management application that allows users to create, organize, and collaborate on databases in a visual and intuitive manner. It combines the features of a spreadsheet with the power of a relational database, offering a flexible and user-friendly platform for managing information and data.
Here’s how Airtable can be used for scheduling:
- Database Creation: First, you can create a database in Airtable dedicated to your schedule. You can define the necessary columns to capture relevant information such as dates, times, tasks or events, responsible parties, etc.
- Adding and Organizing Records: Next, you can add records to your database to represent different elements of your schedule. Each record can correspond to a specific task, event, or time period. You can also add additional columns for specific information related to each record.
- Using Custom Views: Airtable allows you to create custom views to visualize your data in different ways. For scheduling, you can create a calendar view that displays records as dates and times, allowing you to see tasks or events in a chronological order.
- Organizing and Filtering Data: The tool offers powerful filtering and sorting capabilities. You can filter your schedule by date, responsible party, or any other relevant criteria. This allows you to view only the information needed at a given time.
- Real-Time Collaboration: The application allows multiple users to collaborate simultaneously on a database. You can share your schedule with your team and work together in real-time. Changes made by one user are instantly visible to others, facilitating coordination and schedule management.
- Notifications and Reminders: Airtable offers automation features that allow you to set up notifications and reminders. You can define rules to send email notifications or reminders for specific tasks or events, helping you remember important deadlines.
LiquidPlanner is a software platform that enables effective project schedule creation and management. It offers a unique approach to time and task management, focusing on range-based planning.
When creating a schedule in LiquidPlanner, you can estimate the duration of each task by specifying a range rather than a fixed deadline. For example, instead of saying a task must be completed by June 15, you can indicate that it falls within a range from June 10 to June 20. This allows for consideration of unexpected events, potential delays, and workload fluctuations.
Once you have defined the ranges for each task, LiquidPlanner uses calculation algorithms to automatically generate a dynamic schedule. The software takes into account dependencies between tasks, available resources, and calendar constraints to optimize task organization. It also calculates likely start and end dates for each task based on estimations and constraints.
The advantage of this approach is that the schedule remains flexible and adapts to changes. If a task takes longer than expected or new tasks are added, the schedule is automatically adjusted to reflect these changes. This allows for a realistic and up-to-date view of project progress, taking uncertainty into account.
In addition to scheduling, LiquidPlanner offers other useful features for project management, such as real-time collaboration, issue tracking, resource management, and document sharing. The team can work together, track progress, assign tasks, share files, and effectively communicate about project activities.
Teamwork is a project management and collaboration platform that facilitates the creation and management of team schedules. It is a tool designed to help teams plan, organize, and track their tasks, projects, and resources effectively.
The tool allows for schedule creation using:
- Shared Calendar: Teamwork allows you to create a centralized calendar where team members can view schedules, appointments, deadlines, and availability of each team member. This helps better coordinate team activities and avoid schedule conflicts.
- Tasks and Assignments: You can create tasks in Teamwork and assign them to team members. Each task can have a deadline, priority, and dependencies. Team members can visualize the tasks assigned to them and plan their work accordingly.
- Time Tracking: The tool also offers time tracking functionality, allowing team members to record time spent on each task. This helps in more accurate estimation of task durations and provides an overall analysis of time utilization.
- Communication and Collaboration: Teamwork provides built-in communication features such as task comments, project discussions, and email notifications. This facilitates collaboration among team members and allows for tracking discussions related to schedules.
- Reports and Analytics: The platform provides reports and dashboards that allow tracking project progress, analyzing team performance, and identifying bottlenecks. This information helps in adjusting schedules and making informed decisions.
Todoist is a task management and scheduling application that allows users to create task lists, set goals, prioritize activities, and track progress. It offers an intuitive and user-friendly interface, making it a popular tool for organizing and managing personal and professional schedules.
With Todoist, you can create individual tasks and organize them into projects or lists. You can assign due dates, reminders, and priorities to each task, helping you maintain an overview of your activities. The application also provides advanced features such as the ability to add labels, comments, attachments, and sub-tasks to your main tasks.
A key feature of Todoist is its reminder and notification system, which allows you to receive alerts for upcoming or overdue tasks. These reminders can be customized according to your preferences, ensuring that important deadlines are not forgotten.
Todoist is available on various platforms, including mobile devices (iOS and Android), web browsers, and desktop applications (Windows and macOS). It also offers real-time synchronization, allowing you to access your tasks and schedules from any connected device.
15. Microsoft Project
Microsoft Project is project management software developed by Microsoft. It is designed to help professionals plan, organize, and track tasks, resources, and deadlines for a project. It is widely used in various industries such as construction, engineering, IT, software development, event management, etc.
Here are some key features of Microsoft Project:
- Project Planning: Microsoft Project allows you to create detailed schedules for projects. You can define tasks, durations, dependencies, required resources, and deadlines for each project step.
- Resource Management: The software enables managing resources assigned to a project, whether it’s team members, equipment, costs, or other types of resources. You can assign resources to specific tasks and track their usage and availability.
- Progress Tracking: Microsoft Project offers tools for tracking project progress. You can record hours worked, update task statuses, track milestones, and generate reports on the overall project progress.
- Dependency Management: The software allows you to define dependencies between different tasks in a project. You can specify task relationships to indicate which tasks must be completed before others can start.
- Cost Management: The tool allows tracking costs associated with a project. You can estimate resource costs, set budgets, and compare actual costs against forecasts.
- Team Collaboration: The software facilitates collaboration among team members by enabling the sharing of schedules, documents, and project updates. Multiple people can work on the same project simultaneously and share their comments and modifications.
How Far in Advance Should a Schedule be Created?
The recommended timeframe for establishing a schedule may vary depending on the nature of activities and the objectives to be achieved. Generally, it is advisable to create a schedule as far in advance as possible.
For long-term projects or major events, it is recommended to start planning several months in advance. This allows for an overall vision and consideration of all important aspects such as resource coordination, production deadlines, logistical constraints, necessary approvals, and more. The more complex the project, the longer the planning timeframe should be.
For more routine activities, such as daily or weekly task management, it is recommended to create a schedule one week in advance. This allows you to anticipate priorities, organize your time, and allocate appropriate deadlines for each task. Ideally, weekly planning should be done at the end of the previous week or at the beginning of the current week.
When it comes to meetings, it is recommended to set the date and time one to two weeks in advance. This allows all participants to block their schedules and prepare accordingly.
However, it’s important to note that flexibility remains essential when establishing a schedule. Adjustments may be necessary based on changing circumstances, unexpected events, or new information that may arise. Therefore, even if a schedule is established in advance, it is important to review it regularly and be prepared to make modifications if necessary.
5 Free Websites to Print Handwritten Schedules
Are you still a “pen and paper” person when it comes to scheduling? No worries! Here are 5 websites where you can find printable schedules:
- Canva (www.canva.com): Canva offers a wide variety of free schedule templates that you can customize according to your needs. Choose from different formats, styles, and layouts to create your ideal schedule.
- Template.net (www.template.net): Template.net provides a diverse collection of printable schedule templates. Browse their library and choose the template that best suits your needs. These templates are available in PDF format and can be downloaded for free.
- Calendar Labs (www.calendarlabs.com): Calendar Labs offers free printable schedules in various formats, including weekly, monthly, and yearly schedules. Download them in PDF and print for your use.
- Printable Planning (www.printableplanning.com): Printable Planning offers a range of free printable schedules, including weekly, monthly, and yearly schedules. Download these templates in PDF format and print as needed.
- iCalendrier (icalendrier.fr): iCalendrier is a website that provides free printable schedules that can be filled in by hand. Choose from their selection of templates and print them out.
Remember, these websites offer convenience and flexibility for creating handwritten schedules that suit your preferences and needs.