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The 4 Best Time Management Tools for Small Business Owners

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Do you find yourself writing everything on post-it notes or on your whiteboard, only to have them disappear to various corners of your house or turn into your children’s art project?  

If so, we’re here to help you out! Managing clients and life can be challenging, so we’ve gathered up our favorite digital and project management tools to save you time (and sanity) by helping you get organized and keep projects and life moving forward in a more seamless way. 

Check out four tools we love at Pepperlane and learn why they’re perfect for small business owners, plus the pros, cons, and cost of each.

1. Trello

TrelloImage Credit: Small Biz Trends

If you’re looking for a tool that is visual, flexible and shareable, Trello may be the one for you! Not only is Trello great for work, but it’s a perfect place to organize pretty much anything. For instance, you can start a board for home and life related tasks, one for work, one for your kids, and so on, making it possible to keep your whole life in one place. 

Pepperlaners are saying:

“Trello is flexible and fast to enter tasks. I use it for my personal to-do lists and for managing our development work."

"I can manage my whole life here, not just work, it’s so nice to have it all in one place!”

Kanban boardImage Credit: Digite

Trello was inspired by the Kanban framework, which was originally developed by Toyota and represents work items visually in a board, allowing teams to see the state of every piece of work at any time and keep production high while maintaining flexibility. Therefore, if you love to whiteboard, you’ll love Trello.


  • Can be accessed on any device
  • Calendar view helps you see when your deadlines are 
  • Assigning tasks is easy breezy
  • Has many “power-ups” that allow you to add all kinds of features
  • Very simple! While it may not have as many bells and whistles as other tools, it gets the job done for small businesses really seamlessly


  • Best for organizing tasks vs. managing larger projects or teams
  • Not a huge amount of storage space available
  • Can’t use many integrations without a paid plan
  • Free plan only allows you to attach up to 10MB

Cost: Trello offers both a free and paid option (starting at $10.00 per month) depending on the size of your business and number of boards and features—aka power-ups— needed. 

2. Monday.com

Monday.comImage Credit: Monday.com

Newer on the project management scene is Monday.com. Similar to Trello, Monday.com is also inspired by the Kanban methodology and is great for task tracking and organizing multiple project types. Projects in this tool are called “pulses,” but are very similar to Trello cards. 

Videographer and Pepperlane member Jess Pfohl says that Monday.com is “customizable and easy to understand” and “great for tracking time spent on projects and seeing timelines.”


  • Accessible on any device 
  • Very versatile and customizable
  • Wide number of views to choose from 
  • Integrates with many other services like Dropbox, Google Drive, and Slack
  • Offers a community forum for users to connect


  • Different views are only visible as you move up in plan pricing
  • Pricier and more complicated than Trello, potentially better for slightly larger teams
  • Mobile apps but no desktop app

Cost: Plans start at $25/month for up to five users. 

3. Asana

AsanaImage Credit: Asana

Similar to the two tools above, Asana is a tool that allows you to create tasks and arrange them in lists. The major difference is that Asana gets deeper into tasks themselves and allows you to track workflow of more complicated tasks with ease. 

Pepperlaners say: “Asana helps with managing multiple projects (or clients) at the same time.”


  • Features galore, and great for larger projects
  • The layout makes it easier to see where you are in large projects than other tools do
  • Able to view by calendar and timeline for a quick overview
  • Asana comes with a default dependency management view which allows you to see a main task and then how many tasks have been completed underneath it (also good for projects with many moving parts)
  • Available across devices via app


  • Harder to setup and start using than other tools 
  • Less intuitive design than Trello

Cost:  Free for basic functionality and then $10-$20 per month for added features

4. Basecamp

BasecampImage via Basecamp

With a different look and feel than the other tools mentioned, Basecamp earns its place on the list of favorite project management tools for businesses of all sizes. For teams that feel their work is scattered in a million different places, Basecamp claims to, “Combine all the tools teams need in a single, straightforward package that makes work feel like less work.” 


  • Very intuitive interface for teams to work together
  • Great integrations with other programs
  • Available across devices
  • Chat tools allows users to discuss a specific item within a project
  • Great support for all users


  • Workflow is less intuitive and may take more time to learn for some users
  • More geared toward work projects than general life to-do’s 
  • May need third party integrations to fully use the app (aka more things to add to make it easy to use across devices)

Cost: 30-day free trial but only teachers and students can continue on a free account

Overall, it looks like Trello is the favorite amongst our community. However, at the end of the day, there is no one size fits all tool for every business owner, so it’s important that you look around and ask colleagues who are at a similar stage of growth what’s worked best for them. 

One thing is for certain, any of these options will work better than the post-it note system and save you time, energy, and brain space as you manage your day. 



Pick one project management tool and stick with it for 1 month. Share on Facebook how it worked for you!


Ready to add your first to-do item to your project management tool? Join us for a free Boost session where you’ll bring your latest business challenge and get input and guidance from up to 10 other smart, motivated business owners and a skilled facilitator. Make useful connections and walk away with new energy to get stuff done! 

Join a Boost Event

Title Photo Credit: Plush Design Studio on Unsplash

Written by Celsea Jenkins

Celsea Jenkins is the founder of Grassfed Copy: nutrient-dense conversion copywriting and marketing consulting. Connect with her to learn more about writing copy that compels and sells, marketing, and the best healthy snacks on the market on Instagram @celseajenkins.

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