The typical workday is full of time-sucking black holes: the unnecessary meeting, the dense and lengthy report that’s a challenge to get through in one sitting, the high-stakes email with difficult-to-nail wording, the need to refocus yet again after switching between an endless corral of tasks and browser windows. 

Especially as the movement for a four-day workweek continues to gain traction and burnout remains high, the possibility of getting more done in fewer hours seems more desired and more urgent than ever. Today, we’re highlighting the best tools available to help workers reclaim their time, drawn from past Charter Work Tech picks.

The best tab managers for eliminating time-wasting browser clutter

Tab overload is a persistent scourge of the modern workday, draining workers’ time and mental energy (not to mention their computer functioning). In a study of Fortune 500 teams published in Harvard Business Review, the average worker switched between web browser tabs and applications around 1,200 times per day, with the two-second buffer to refocus between each switch adding up to nearly four hours per week. Research out of Carnegie Mellon, meanwhile, highlighted one all-too-relatable barrier for those looking to declutter their browsers: the “black-hole effect,” or the fear that if someone closes a tab, even one with valuable information, they won’t remember to return to the site later on. In recent years, a raft of tools have emerged to help workers streamline their internet-browsing experience by eliminating those digital black holes, providing a space to capture and organize tabs. 

Our picks for the best tab managers of the nine we tested:

  • Skeema, our top pick, was developed by the aforementioned Carnegie Mellon researchers to address points of friction they identified through their research. Its highly action-oriented interface features a clean, soothing design and turns a mess of tabs into a streamlined to-do list, while its clipping tool allows users to save small chunks of a page without saving the whole tab.
  • Workona is another comprehensive tab-management system and helpful productivity aid; while it came in second place in our evaluation, the differences between it and Skeema in many cases are small enough to come down to personal preference. It offers a quick one-click feature for closing tabs from a master list, easy shareability that allows users to send entire tab lists via email or Slack, and the ability to group workspaces into sections for an additional layer of organization.

Read our full review here.

The best time-blocking tools for carving out space for focused work

Meeting sprawl and the creep of email, Slack, and administrative tasks can make it difficult to find heads-down time for focused work. One antidote is time-blocking, a time-management practice of dedicating specific windows to focus on only one task at a time. But setting up a time-blocked schedule each day can itself be a time-consuming endeavor, especially if new requests or changing deadlines require in-the-moment revisions to the day’s plan. Several artificial-intelligence time-blocking tools aim to eliminate this friction by automatically carving out time for tasks around existing calendar commitments. 

Our picks for the best time-blocking tools of the five we tested:

  • TrevorAI, the most affordable of the tools we tested, is our pick for those who want a low-lift way to time-block their schedules without getting too in the weeds. Its streamlined, intuitive interface prioritizes simplicity and offers easy one-step scheduling.
  • Reclaim is a highly customizable tool for those who want a greater level of detail without sacrificing user experience, with the ability to split tasks into multiple time blocks and automatically move tasks as new calendar conflicts arise. It also has several helpful schedule-personalization features, including templates for recurring habits and the ability to define work and personal hours.

Read our full review here.

The best audio-transcription tools for cutting down on time spent in meetings

Research suggests that only around half the time spent in meetings is actually useful (in part because attendees commonly multitask rather than focusing on the discussion at hand). As companies have attempted to reduce the number of people in meetings and number of meetings overall, AI transcripts eliminate FOMOOM: fear of missing out on meetings.

Our picks for the best audio-transcription tools of the six we tested:

  • Sonix, tied for best in class with Fireflies on pure transcription, focuses on producing speaker-accurate records of meetings, with extremely high accuracy, correct spelling of many proper names without a dictionary, and almost perfect recognition of distinct speakers.
  •’s automated service is only a degree or two below its peers, with excellent transcription and speaker recognition. For those spending endless hours in Zoom, the integration for live captions or post-meeting processing is a plus, while the unlimited transcription for Zoom meetings can be a substantial price advantage over Sonix.
  • Fireflies is the best save Sonix for transcription, speaker identification, and AI-generated meeting summaries. It’s also substantially less expensive than all other services for significant monthly usage of a mix of uploaded and meeting transcription.

Read our full review here

The best AI text summarizers for absorbing information more quickly 

One hope for artificial intelligence is that it will enhance productivity by allowing us to process information faster. AI text-summarizing tools can effectively shrink large texts into short blurbs or bullet-point lists, allowing users to consume lengthy documents in a fraction of the time without missing any key points.

Our picks for the best text summarizers of the nine we tested:

  • Genei is the strongest summarizer of the ones we tested, with highly accurate outputs and the ability to summarize large documents. One helpful extra: When users click on an individual bullet point within the summary, it highlights the source material that point was pulled from. 
  • ChatGPT Plus, a tie for our second-place pick, is highly versatile, adjusting outputs based on feedback and letting users ask it anything about a document in question. It also adjusts its summary in response to user feedback (e.g., “provide more details” or “shorten the summary to 200 words”).
  • Jasper, our other second-place pick, provides very accurate summaries and works quickly. However, access to the summarizer requires a subscription to the full AI copilot, making it the most expensive option.

Read our full review here.

The best AI text generators for conquering time-consuming writing projects and tricky emails alike

The rise of generative AI means all of us can now have writing assistants at our fingertips. With simple prompts, these tools can create original content, saving us time and, ideally, making writer’s block a thing of the past. 

Our picks for the best AI text generators of the nine we tested:

  • ChatGPT Plus is the strongest AI text generator of the ones we tested. It outperformed the other tools on most writing tasks, with solid overall writing quality and the most creative outputs. It also takes feedback well, adjusting its tone and format based on what it’s told.
  • Bing is the second-best text generator we tested. It outperformed ChatGPT Plus on some less advanced writing tasks, though its outputs were less interesting and less creative.
  • NotionAI’s writing is a level below our other two picks, but its speed and ease of use give it a spot on our list. Since it’s built into the Notion app, it has a nice interface, and for those who already use Notion it can be incorporated seamlessly into existing workflows. 

Read our full review here.