< 3 min. read
Whenever I talk to people about tracking their time (I’m a riveting conversationalist) I overwhelmingly hear these two common obstacles:
1. It’s difficult remembering to track time; and
2. Time entry itself is inefficiently time-consuming.
I typically use Toggl’s web app and iOS application (when I’m on the go) for my time-tracking needs. It works great because it can be accessed anywhere, helps me keep track of time spent on different projects and tasks within those projects, and makes reviewing that data easy for reflection.
Within projects, I can see where that time specifically went and I can use that information to make correct comparisons and projections required for new tasks.
Because I am consistent and strict about starting and stopping with starting the timer, I can share with you that I tracked (solely on Toggl, excluding any other time tracking apps which I was using at the time) just over 1,000 hours of time in 2017, of which I voted 436.5 hours to reading/studying for project “Maryland law.” I’ve since broken down this task into projects for each of my courses for better reflection.
What do I mean when I say I am strict about starting and stopping the timer?
That means when I get up out of my chair or I leave the room, so does the timer stop.
If I’m leaving the room to make my second pot of coffee for the day, the timer stops.
When I come back from whatever I was doing, I hit start.
The reason is not only that you want to keep accurate data for reflection and improvement, but your clients will appreciate how thorough your records are if you bill them hourly as well.
Unfortunately for me, I tend to be so strict with my timer that I tend to under bill/undertrack because I am conservative in my estimates when I forget to hit Start. Therefore, I was looking for something that will help me be more accurate with the time I spend continually clicking around or reading.
Another article like this: Tracking Excellence
In the course of doing research on various time-tracking applications (post coming soon), I came across Toggl’s new desktop application.
I wanted to share this find with you as soon as possible because the Toggl developers have really outdone themselves with this application.
Toggl has essentially created a slicker version of its web app with some extra features, such as a Pomodoro timer, keystroke options, reminders, idle detection, mini timer, and a timeline view of what tabs you looked at for > 10 seconds.
The real benefit to the desktop application, though, is the Auto Tracker feature.
It’s as easy as making a list of keywords that associate with your projects. When the keyword shows up on your screen, Toggl will display a message at the bottom right corner of your screen asking if you would like to start the timer in the project you’ve associated with that word.
If you click Start at the bottom right corner when the message appears, Toggl opens and the timer starts. You can then type in a description and get to work.
Here’s a very rudimentary and uncreative example of what your list might look like (mine has 11 items right now):
More like this: Push it (and stop feeling so guilty about it)
In addition, if you go idle for several minutes (no mouse movement or keyboard input), Toggl will display a message asking if you would like to cut or keep the time while you were idle.
All of these features are useful for keeping your timer right and keep you accountable if you were actually just taking a call or using in the bathroom instead of that specific task, for instance.
The only real downside is that the Auto Tracker feature is not yet available on mobile.
Imagine the possibilities if Toggl added this feature on mobile:
Your phone could remind you every time to start your timer if you associated various applications with the Toggl mobile application. (Current workarounds, like If This Than That (IFTTT) do not now link with Toggl.)
I typed this on the WordPress app on my iPhone, for example. Imagine how easy it would be to track the time spent writing this time if Toggl had a message pop up on the top ribbon asking if I wanted to start a task in the project: “blog/writing”? Instead, I had to track it by navigating to Toggl’s mobile application and inputting the specific project.
Another downside is that you (*cough* me *cough*) realize just how much time you spend going down Wikipedia rabbit-holes until 2 a.m.
I guess the upshot is that I can put a number on that time now, right?
Click here if you want to see a full list of the new Toggl desktop application’s features.
Author: Ryan Ullman
Ryan Ullman is an attorney at the boutique law firm Spence | Brierley in Baltimore, Maryland. He is particularly interested in technology, productivity, peak flow states, music, and the outdoors.