Do you spend your time on the most important work for your business? Are you sure? Do you have data to back it up?
If you aren’t tracking your time, then you could be wasting a lot of time.
Keeping track of your time will help you be more focused. It will help you identify places where you’re you’re spending too much time on things that don’t have a good return. It will help you hold yourself accountable for working on your most important tasks.
Time tracking will also help you get better at estimating how long things take to accomplish. This is helpful if you work with clients and you need to be able to estimate how long a project is going to take. Or if you work for yourself, it’s helpful to know how long you typically spend on things so that you don’t over-commit yourself.
How to Use Toggl to Track Your Time for Free – Video
In this video, I’ll show you how to use Toggl to keep track of how you spend your time.
First, open your free Toggl account
The first thing to do is open a new Toggl account. You’re going to go to Toggl.com. Click on sign up and enter your email address and a password and click sign up for free.
Toggl has various paid accounts but I have used the free account for many years and have found that it has everything that I need. I’ve never found a need to have one of the paid accounts.
How to start tracking your time
Once you sign up, you’ll be at the main Timer page. To get started tracking your time, click in the “What are you working on?” field and type in the name of your time entry.
Click the green button to start tracking your time for this time entry.
When you are ready to stop tracking time for that time entry, click the red button to stop the timer.
Organize your time entries with projects and tags
Toggl has two levels of organization for time entries: projects and tags.
Assign Toggl projects to your time entries
To assign a project to your time entry, you will need to create your first project:
- Click on “Create a Project”
- Type in what you want the project to be called
- Click Ctrl + Enter on your keyboard
Note: going forward, after you’ve created your first project, you will see a file folder icon instead of the words “Create a project.”
Assign Toggl tags to your time entries
You can do the same thing with tags. To assign a tag to your time entry, you will need to create your first tag in Toggl:
- Click on the tag icon
- Type in what you want the tag to be called
- Click Ctrl + Enter on your keyboard
That’s how easy it is to track your time. You type in what you’re doing and give it a project and/or tag and click the green button to start.
Tracking your time when you are away from your desk
There will be times when you are away from your desk and you need to track your time. There are two easy ways to do this.
First, Toggl has a mobile app that you can put on your phone. The mobile app makes it easy to track your time when you’re away from your desk. It syncs up with the web app so everything is all in one place.
The other option is that you can come back afterward and enter your time in the web app. If you have something that you want to add after the fact, then, you can type in what you were doing and enter the start and stop times manually.
You can edit any time entry
You can edit any time entry that you want to. Every field is editable, so you can edit the time entry description, project, tag, start time, and end time.
For example, this morning, I was adding pins to my Tailwind Tribes and I walked off to go work out and I forgot to click stop. When I came back to work, it looked like I’d spent a long time on Tailwind Tribes. So I edited my entry.
I don’t know exactly what time I stopped working, but I know that I normally spend about 10 or 12 minutes on Tailwind Tribes every day. So I edited my time entry to be 12 minutes.
We’re not trying to be perfectionists. We’re trying to get a good view of how we’re spending our time. So don’t worry if you don’t have the exact time that you started and stopped doing something.
Deleting time entries
You can also delete time entries. Click on the three dots at the far right of the entry. Then click delete.
Reports show you how you are spending your time
Now let’s look at some reports. Reports will help you see how you’re spending your time and figure out ways that you can improve your productivity.
Toggl has two kinds of reporting available: Dashboard and Reports.
The dashboard is a high-level overview of your time
The Dashboard is going to give you a nice overview of how you’ve spent your time. It defaults to the current week, but you can change the time frame.
In the top graph, you’ll see how much time you’ve tracked each day of the week.
The bottom graph shows how much time you’ve spent on your top five projects (based on the amount of time tracked). This graph will help you see if you are spending your time the right way. If your most important projects don’t appear in this list, then that’s a red flag.
On the right-hand side of the Dashboard, you’ll see the individual time entries that you’ve worked on. This time entry list is in rank order from high to low. What you spent the most time on is at the top of the list.
You can change the time frame for the Dashboard to a pre-determined option, such as this month, last month, this year, etc. Or you can enter a custom date range.
Reports can be customized and allow you to drill down
The Dashboard is a nice, high-level overview of how you spent your time but it doesn’t have a lot of customization options. That’s where reports come in.
To bring up the Reports options, click on Reports in the left sidebar.
The first view – the summary report – is similar to what we saw in the dashboard.
I prefer to use the detailed reports because you can drill down into projects, tags, and individual time entries.
For example, let’s say I wanted to see how much time I spent on a particular project this month. I’ll use my Biz Boost Workbook project as an example.
- Change the date range from “This week” to “This month”
- Click on Project
- Search for the project name – in this case, it’s Biz Boost Workbook
- Select the project
This brings up a view of only that project:
I can see that I’ve spent almost nine hours on that project and I can decide if that is a good use of my time.
Use Toggl reports to evaluate how you are spending your time
An example of how I’ve used reports to evaluate my time is Facebook Group share threads.
I used to participate in Facebook Group share threads and I tracked my time in Toggl.
I looked at reports to see how much time I was spending on share threads. Then I looked at the return that I was getting. I realized that I was not getting a good enough return for the amount of time that I was spending, so I stopped participating in share threads. That freed up my time to spend on other, higher-return activities.
I encourage you to use time tracking reports to make decisions about how you’re going to spend time in your business.
Toggl integrates with Asana, my favorite time and project management tool.
Bulk edit time entries
If you need to edit several time entries at once, you can do that through the Bulk Edit feature in detailed reports.
Download Toggl reports
You can download any report as a PDF or CSV file. This is helpful if you need to share time data with other people such as clients or your accountant.
- Click the Download button
- Select the format you prefer
If you haven’t used time tracking in your business, then I encourage you to give it a try.
Time tracking will help you stay focused and be more intentional so that you spend your time doing the right things for your business.
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Related productivity posts:
- Why I Fell in Love With Asana for Project Management
- Avoid the Time Traps That Destroy Productivity
- 15 Quick Tips and Tricks to Get More Out of Asana
- Get Organized! 20 Best Resources for Bloggers and Solopreneurs
- Time Blocking Tips to Make You Laser Focused and Super Productive
Grab a copy of my free time blocking spreadsheet!