At all the agencies I’ve worked at in my life – and trust me I’ve worked at a couple – at all of them, I had to keep track of my time.
And I have to tell you, It’s been the everyday task I hated the most. At the end of the day, I was supposed to estimate how much time I’ve spent on each individual project. Fast forward, I have failed so miserably that my boss event exhorted me for it. It has been a terrible experience. And I’ve heard many other colleagues complain about time tracking as well.
Why do we hate time tracking so much?
To be honest, I don’t know. I guess it’s because keeping track of time doesn’t add any value to the service. It does not have any effect on the output. Or maybe because it is not fun at all.
Today, I would consider it one of the most important metrics a consultant has to keep track of. Simply because most consultants still get paid by the hour. Including myself. Which is terrible. But that’s a topic for another day. Today, I recommend everybody to keep track of your time, and here’s why:
Using the right tools, it has become incredibly easy
It makes you reflect on your productivity
You get an estimate of how long you need for a specific task
You learn about your time-wasting habits
Your boss and client is happy to get an overview
Why has time tracking become incredibly easy?
The answer is short: Because of timely.
It’s the one tool that has really changed my perspective on time tracking. I’ve used so many tools and methods⁺ and all of them su*ked. Not a single one of them was pleasant to use. But timely is different. It’s almost effortless.
Toggle, Time-Doctor, Time-Tracking within Project-Management like Teamwork or Asana, Google Calendar, writing things on a sheet of paper, using the timer on my smartphone, etc.
While I liked the idea of tracking time within my task management system, e.g. Asana or Teamwork, I simply never did. It asks me to keep track of time right at the moment of beginning the task and at the end of it. When I’m in a flow state, I don’t think of time tracking and I don’t want to think of it. The only thing I want to think of is accomplishing my task. This might be very different if you work on standardized tasks, but for me it’s impossible. Every day is different.
So instead, I spend the minutes and hours in a state of flow and focus and rather have a look at timely at the end of the day. So let me explain to you how timely works and why it’s so much more valuable in my case.
Why I’ve chosen Timely for Time Tracking:
Timely works “post-event” – my attention is not needed until I want to use it, one single time a day
Other tools work “during-event” – they need my attention to start and stop, multiple times a day
While I could now tell you about all the features in detail, I’m sure there are hundreds of other reviews you want to look at or have already looked at. But those two bullet points above sum it all up. It’s all about the way you track time and what way works for you, personally.
How exactly does Timely work?
In the beginning, you install a small tracking-app on your computer. They call it “memory”. The name is quite suitable as it tracks everything you do and memorizes it in Timely. It memorizes which tab you had opened, which software you were using, and of course how long you were working with it.
Youtube – to gain a deeper understanding of that topic
Google Doc – to finish a concept
Gmail – to send out that concept to the client
Macworld (from 2017) – maybe a bit outdated and not really relevant anymore. Too much has changed.
Perennial Creative (from 2016) – even more outdated, but a good general overview regarding features
If you have used timely yourself, you are welcome to review it by hovering over the “reader rating bar” right underneath this text. I’m curious to see how you like timely. In addition, you are very welcome to ask questions and comment beneath this paragraph.
I appreciate you taking the time to read this article. Stay healthy!
The only time-tracking software that actually tracks time for you.