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Since efficiency and productivity is almost always measured in time, optimizing our time is one of the most challenging adventures of our days.

I’ve been using several different project management applications in the last few years, but I must say that their learning curve and usability benefits is not always worth the price.

On the other hand I’ve discovered several low cost (or free) apps the are excellent companions for your time management needs.

Being a Mac guy, I’ve used Omnifocus and Things for a while. They are great tools but lack cloud computing and collaboration features. That’s why I went back to the nice and clean Remember The Milk web app, with excellent versions for mobile devices. Using it to its full potentials, with an intelligent tags and lists organization, I believe it is a great GTD and productivity enhancer.

One of the key features I’ve being using lately is the “time estimate” for each singe task. This is a guess you should be making for each task you create. If tasks require more the 8 hours I think you should rethink them and make them become a project instead.

Now you can start planning your day and week according to the estimated time. For instance, if you create a Today list, RTM gives you the total time required to accomplish all your tasks! From my experience, if you have a regular 9 hours working day, try never to exceed 6-7 hours of tasks time otherwise you’ll never make it! (you do need to eat or go to the toilet sometimes..)

Here is where my wonderful experience with Paymo comes in place.

Paymo is a very clean and easy to use time tracking system. You can enter projects, tasks, clients and your entire team. Then you can start tracking your time either by editing the time after you have finished your task or in real-time by using Paymo’s chronograph on the web, on your desktop as a widget, or on your mobile with the iPhone app.

At the end of your day you know how much time you have worked, on which task, on what project, for which client and you can then check if your estimsted time (in RTM for instance) was correct.

Paymo’s reporting features make it a perfect choice if you have timesheets needs, if you have to complete reports for your company with your team or if you have to calculate the amount of hours you need to invoice to your clients.

The only thing I could imagine in my wish list is a sort of integration between my time management (RTM) and my time tracking system (Paymo). In that way I could find my tasks in Paymo without having to re-enter them twice.

RTM, Paymo, any plans for open APIs on either side?