Experiment: Track your time


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Dec 26, 2015
I started recently to track my time for every task I do, using an app. I work from home and have been doing it for the last seven years or so, and I wanted to see how much time I actually use working on work.

Toggl App

So I've set up an app called Toggl for this. I added some projects and installed their desktop client.

I've done something similar for a long time, using just my watch and a Google sheet, but this gamifies it a bit more.

I set it to be always on top (I have 4 screens, so I just put it on a 1/3 of one of the screens). I also set it to send me very annoying notifications to track my time if I don't track time for 10 minutes while still being active on the computer.

You can obviously use anything for this, I just like the stats backend and to be able to easily track time down to a specific project.

I don't use this for tracking billable time, it's more for my own sanity. You can of course use it to track time spent on individual clients, but I don't need those stats.

So I made the following projects:

- {main company name} - Consulting (anytime I sell my time)
- {main company name} - Websites (maintaining websites, adding content - but only websites my company owns)
- {main company name} - Media buying (making ads, launching campaigns).
- {app company} - Development
- {main company name} - Internal work (accounting, taxes).

This is just my personal take on it, but ...
- I don't track time spent on calls, unless they are paid "directly" (consulting).
- I don't track breaks
- I don't track time if I respond to Slack or Telegram or similar unless it's someone paying for the time. Then I'll happily track it and invoice them.
- I don't track work-ish stuff only proper work. If I work but also checking my email, taking a call, talking with my wife and drifting away it's not work and I stop the session or delete it and start over.
- I stop it if I drift away - like above.
- I don't track time right now

- Why not? It's interesting
- Maybe you don't work as much as you think? You've been working "all day" but only logged 2 hours of work?
- Maybe you want to optimize hours. You can see if you spend too much time on certain things, or also spend too little time on the parts of your business that yield profits.
- It's good for accountability, and in the end you will be able to better estimate time and plan your day better.
- I like to track things
- For consulting work, i.e. if you charge 100-200 per hour, and can clock in 4 hours in a day, it's ok money and motivating (it's more than many jobs pay), and you only spent 4 hours and you got 20 more to do whatever you want.

Yesterday I tracked 6hrs 47 min. It's not a lot, but when it's real deep work, you do get a lot done. And I also had time to go for a run, swim in the ocean, relax, read, and I didn't do any work after 5 pm.
Dec 21, 2018
If you use trello you can directly link toggl with it, so you can track individual tasks in trello as you work on them. Not sure if this is of interest to you, but it helped me keep active on trello. When having to use trello on its own third party site I would always eventually start using the timer less and less without the trello integration.