I have mentioned that in order to keep myself focused at work, I use the Pomodoro Technique and the Focus Booster timer. To be honest, however, I mostly use these techniques to focus my translation work. When I am doing administrative work, blogging, writing emails, and grading students’ papers, I usually don’t use Pomodoro Technique. What do I do instead?
I still try to chunk my time, but I use a different tool: Toggl, which tracks the time I spend doing… well… just about anything. At the end of each week, I have a nice overview of the amount of time I spent doing all sorts of tasks. I can see how much time I wasted invested in social media, as well as how much time I spent taking care of my students. Here’s how it works:
1. I signed up for a free Toggl account. Their paid accounts provide extra features and users, but the free account is also excellent. I signed up using their Google Sign-in.
2. I set up a list of clients and tasks. Examples:
- Me – Banking, Preparing/Sending Quotes, Email, Social Media, Blogging
- University – Teaching, Grading, Answering Emails
- Agency/Direct Client – Spanish>English Translation, English Proofreading, Desktop Publishing
3. I get ready to work. I select from a list of clients/tasks or just start typing in the task I’m about to start. I hit the big red button, and I’m ready to go! When I finish working, I just hit the button again to stop the timer.
4. I check the time-tracking reports. On the dashboard, there are two clear reports: A pie chart showing a client breakdown of my week so far, and a graph measuring the hours I have worked each day this week. I can also look at a number of reports from previous weeks, including client and task breakdowns.
You can use the Toggl time tracker on their website or download a desktop application. One advantage of the desktop application: It learns what programs and websites you use to do certain tasks—and will pop up a reminder if it thinks you’ve forgotten to switch the task you’re tracking. Very handy for those of us who sometimes jump quickly from one task to another!
Do you have any recommendations for time-tracking methods?