Time Tracking

Learn how to start time-tracking without any hassle. Step-by-step set-up & my lessons from tracking my time for a month.

Time is our most precious asset. And yet we scatter it around. Spending time is like investing money. You want to account for what you’re spending it on.

A few months back, I had no idea what I was spending my time on. To set up an experiment, I started tracking everything I did. The insights will surprise you. I’ll share my tips on what works, combined with common time management habits.

Next to some counterintuitive insights I will share with you, I also doubled my productivity by being aware where my time went.

You might think that sounds like a lot of work. But it honestly isn’t. You push a button on your desktop or smartphone, that’s it. And if you leave the tracker on when you’re idle (no mouse of keyboard movement) the tracking is paused.

I’ll give you a step-by-step guide on how to set up time tracking with Toggl.

Why time tracking works so well

Whether you're an entrepreneur, freelancer or employee, it's a good idea to proactively increase your productivity. This way you can achieve your goals faster, whatever your goal is. Anyone with a 'computer job' can do this.

As an entrepreneur I am my own boss. The downside is that I don't have a manager who conducts a performance review with me. So I do that with myself based on this data. On a meta level, this gives me insight into where I can become more productive.

Step-by-step plan on how to track your time, so you know where your time is going

Task usually take longer than expected. You’ll greatly underestimate how long it takes to perform a task. This is called the planning fallacy bias. Even people who know this bias exists, still underestimate the time they need. By tracking your time, you can get an idea of how far off you are :-)

With time tracking, it’s possible to see where you have ‘time-leaks’ and do something about it. The outcome of tracking your time and adjusting based on the data, is that you can get way more done.

In this guide I’ll use the free version of Toggl, but you can use an alternative time-tracking app as well.

#1 Create a free account & install the app on all devices

Create an account on www.toggl.com. You can use the free product to track your time.

Install Toggl on all devices so it becomes easy to do. It's the first step to becoming mega-productive. I recommend installing the native apps, because you will get a notification when you move your mouse/keyboard, but you are not tracking time. This way you get used to the habit of turning time-tracking on every time you start a task.

The  desktop app will remind you if you’re not tracking time, but are active on the computer.

  • Install the Toggl app on your computer (Windows or Mac)
  • Install Toggle on your phone.
  • Alternative: Install the Chrome browser plugin
Chapter continues below
Ewoud Uphof avatar

I hope you enjoy reading this free chapter.

Read the full guide by clicking here.

#3 Track your time with one press of the button

Track your first task in Toggl. As an example you can fill in "Set Toggl" and then click the green > button. You will see that the timer is now running.

You can also start and stop the timer on the phone if you prefer.

#4 Create Projects in Toggl so you can categorise time

If you want to go a step deeper, create projects in Toggl to categorise even better. It’s possible to back-track this, so you don’t have to do it from the start. 

For example, my goal is to spend 4 hours per week on learning. When I’m watching an online course, I’m tracking my time in Toggl. Setting Toggl up with projects automatically gives you an overview of the type of work you spend your time on. 

Different tasks require different "brain power". Creating a marketing campaign is different from having a meeting about a shallow topic.

An interesting side effect that I didn’t anticipate, is that I know I’m tracking my time so I’m more aware of what I’m spending my time on. I want to win at the ‘game’ of tracking time. It’s silly but it works.

Analysing where I’ve spent my time

After a week of tracking, the time-leaks are easily detectable. With the Weekly Reporting you can see the time per category:

It’s interesting to see where your time went. I thought I was spending my time differently. This data forms the input for the next ‘experiment’. It also helps you to better manage your time.

Changing the day or the moment I work on things. I can see where I was procrastinating or where I was in flow. The data can be used to plan my week better. Based on this data, I adjust my deep work time-blocks.

Tracking time with Toggl gives you insight to where your time went vs how you want to spend your time. Having an ideal weekly schedule in Google Calendar is another way to get data on where you want to spend your time and what you’re actually spending your time on.

Productivity for marketeers ebook

Premium guide available

You're reading the free version of this guide that will 2X your productivity. Do you want to get even more done?

10X your productivity with the full guide 'Productivity for Marketers'.

Bundle of 5 premium guides

PDF version & online access

Checklists & to-do's to get you started

Resources & templates to implement faster

SEe PRODUCT

About Ewoud

Ewoud Uphof

Ewoud Uphof is an experienced Growth Hacker, certified funnel optimiser and investor.

In the past decade he has co-founded multiple companies. As Head of Growth he has helped grow 50+ companies ranging from start-ups to multinationals. He has worked for Camptoo, NU.nl, Sophia Mae, Koffievoordeel and many more.

More About Ewoud
Productivity for marketeers ebook

Buy the ebook

You're reading the free version of this guide that will 2X your productivity. Do you want to get even more done?

10X your productivity with the full guide 'Productivity for Marketers'.

Bundle of 5 premium guides

PDF version & online access

Checklists & to-do's to get you started

Resources & templates to implement faster

read more about ebook