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Why You Need to Start Tracking Your Time on Everything You Do

Time is one of our most valuable resources, but usually it seems like there just aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done that we need to. If you’re like me and sometimes you don’t know where your day goes, then I would recommend trying to track your time.

This is something I used to hate doing. It’s hard to always remember to start and stop a timer when you’re working.

I’m really bad for multitasking so often I would start a project, take a quick Twitter break, get distracted by a blog post, and eventually come back to the initial project a while later only to realize that my timer is still going and I have no idea how much time I wasted.

Since I found the Toggl app, however, I have found it much easier and actually kind of fun to track my time. All my projects are colour-coded and I can easily generate reports on where my time is going. There’s even a mobile app so that I can track my time from anywhere. (No, this blog post is not sponsored by Toggle 🙂 ).

time tracking with toggl app

In the Toggl app, I have projects and tasks for all my clients to track the time I spend on each of them, but I also have projects to track the time I spend in my own business.

I have tasks for:

  • Professional Development (time spent taking a course, watching training videos, reading blogs, etc)
  • Blogging (so I know how much time I’m dedicating to my blog)
  • Client acquisition (creating estimates, replying to emails from potential clients)
  • Project management (organizing my tasks for the day, cleaning out my inbox, invoicing)

Below I’ve listed the benefits that I’ve seen in my business since starting to track my time.

An improved workflow

Knowing exactly how you are spending your time is so valuable for improving your productivity. You might not realize how much time you are wasting on unimportant tasks. Knowing what tasks you’re losing time on allows you to rearrange your workday so that you can dedicate more time to what’s important.

Less distractions and multitasking

I multi-task less when I am time-tracking because I don’t want to have to keep starting and stopping the timer. I still have the occasional distraction when I’m working but it happens less now because I know I’m on the clock. It makes me feel more like it’s “work time” when I’ve got the timer running.

More accurate pricing

As a freelancer, having a record of how long certain tasks take me to do helps me to determine my pricing. If something regularly takes me longer than I plan for then I know I need to up my prices for that and vice versa.

Calculating ROI

Time tracking allows you know exactly how many hours you are putting into something so you can figure out what you got in return for those hours.

For example, I track all of my time spent working on my blog so that I know how much time I am dedicating to it every week. I also know how many of my clients found me through my blog (hint: almost all of them), so I can actually calculate the return on investment that my blog gives me.

 

You might have to really force yourself to stick with time tracking until you get used to it, but you will be happy you did.

Do you use time tracking in your own business? If not, do you think you would try it?

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  • Christiaan

    Hi Leah,
    I fully agree with you that it is very important to get insight in how we are spending our time. Therefore, tracking your time should be of minimal effort and a tracking tool should be a joy to use! Following this ideal, we launched a similar product called Saus (https://saus.us). It would be nice if you could take the time to look at our solution. I would very much appreciate your feedback!