Keeping on top of your time

The common thread of most productivity apps can be boiled down to a simple idea: You can use your time more efficiently, and this app is here to help. From calendars to task managers to habit trackers, everything is geared to keeping you focused and squeezing the maximum amount of productivity out of every minute. But how do you actually spend your time? What is the best way of recording and visualizing the use of your most valuable resource?

Toggl can help answer both those questions. At its most basic, Toggl allows you to keep track of how you spend your time and then generates a wide range of different ways to visualize and report your time use. It has gorgeous design and is easy to learn, while still having plenty of depth and power.

Toggl is available on a wide variety of platforms. It is available on iOS and Android, as a desktop application on Windows, Mac, and Linux, as well as a web application. It syncs up flawlessly across platforms. It is also integrated with a variety of other apps, allowing it to automatically track how much time you spend on them. You can even get web extensions to let Toggl track your use on several hundred integrated websites. This flexibility and accessibility are some of the main reasons I love Toggl.

When you first sign in, Toggl prompts you to start tracking whatever activity you’re currently engaging in. Different activities can be assigned to a given project. Once you have a particular task or project in the system, it’s very easy to bring it back up again. You can assign tags as well. While ideally you’ll be running the timer throughout the day, starting and stopping as you switch between projects, you can also manually enter your time. This is particularly useful for making corrections when you do forget to stop the timer.

Projects can be assigned to a Client, as well. For business purposes, this concept is self-explanatory. If your team is working on a number of projects for XYZ Corp., then the Client feature allows you to easily bundle those tasks together. Then you can compare not only how your team is dividing their time between projects but also which clients are taking the most time and energy. If you’re using Toggl for personal productivity, you can instead use the Client feature to designate broad domains of your life, like Personal, Productive, Time Wasting. Either way, it lets you track and compare time usage at a higher level than by comparing just projects.

You can view your time use in a variety of different visualizations. My personal favorite is the calendar view, which shows all the time usage you’ve recorded. It is very enlightening to compare your best laid plans with how you actually end up spending your time. As a productivity app, Toggl gives a lot of inspiration and pure data for the areas in your life where you can grow.

The free version has everything you need, if you’re only using Toggl to keep track of yourself or a small team. There are a variety of payment plans that have solutions and applications for use in larger teams, with a much wider variety of features. But the free version is more than sufficient for personal use and still allows you to track up to 5 users.

You can learn more about Toggl here.

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