If you often find yourself wishing for more time to do the things you want to do, these time tracking apps and time management hacks will give you more time on hand.
It can be difficult to estimate time wastage if you aren’t religiously tracking your minutes and hours. But if you start looking at your day as 10-minute time blocks instead of 24 full hours, then you might be able to pinpoint the time leakage. Or instead of writing off 10 wasted minutes every day, a smart calculator can show how that adds up to days or weeks of missed vacation time.
That’s why these apps and exercises are important.
SOP Software Way We Do created a fun little calculator to figure out how much time you are wasting in a year by doing things that you could easily avoid or improve. It’s not a precise calculator, but it should give you a rough idea.
The Time Wasters Calculator lays an emphasis on things that you usually write off as the collateral cost of daily life. For example, it asks you to estimate how many inefficient meetings you attend and how much time you waste. Or how often you travel for work, or even how much time you spend on handling email. All of these small tasks can add up to inefficient time management.
When you see it as a small part of a day, you think to yourself that it’s no big deal. “It’s just 20 minutes,” you’ll say to yourself. But when you add up all those time wasters through this calculator, suddenly it’s a much larger amount staring you in the face. Days or weeks that you could have used for a vacation or on your passion project.
2. 144 Blocks (Web): Track 10-Minute Time Blocks for the Day
Do you find yourself wondering how an hour passed very quickly? Well, a regular 24-hour day has 1440 minutes. What if you divided those into 10-minute time blocks and figured out what you did with each? 144 Blocks is a time tracker to note your activity six times per hour.
The web app is easy to use on mobile screens too, thanks to its vertical format. Each hour’s 10-minute slots are shown as blocks. Tap a block and you’ll get an activity list. Choose a specific activity from broader sub-categories like sleep, work, commuting, school, food, leisure, exercise, etc.
Each category has its own color, and as you add those 10-minute blocks, this updates a master pie chart for how you spent your day. It’s a quick visual representation of where your time goes. Once you fill 144 Blocks regularly, you’ll find broader patterns over the weekly dashboards.
3. Time Budget Template (Excel, Sheets): Free Spreadsheet Template to Budget Time
Time Budget Template is a free time management template by Smartsheet, which you can use in any spreadsheet program like Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets. For more traditional logging, check out these free timesheet templates to track your hours.
This spreadsheet proposes the philosophy that you should treat time like a financial budget. In a financial budget, you have a limited amount of money which you allocate to different activities to balance your expenditures and avoid over-spending. The Time Budget Template applies that to time management, asking you to divide the 168 hours of a week into different activities.
As you add minutes to each activity in each day of the week, the overall amount of hours will go down. Increase and decrease time per activity till you “balance” the time budget and use up all 168 hours.
Pro tip: start with your sleeping hours per day, otherwise you’ll keep adding to other activities and be too burnt out to do anything.
Download: Time Budget Template (Free)
4. SaveMyTime (Android): Track Time Every Time the Screen Wakes
SaveMyTime is hands-down the best manual time tracker for Android that I’ve ever used. By starting a splash screen every time you wake the phone, it is the simplest reminder to add to your activity log.
The app isn’t harsh either. You can tap “Ask me later” to dismiss it when you’re in an emergency. Otherwise, the app asks you to add which of nine activity types you’ve been doing since the last time you logged anything. Tap any activity and you’re ready to use your phone, secure that the app has tracked how you spent your time.
You can choose to add multiple activities too. In that option, you’ll need to specify how many minutes of the elapsed time you spent on any of the activities. If you’re not particularly disciplined about logging your activities in a time tracker, SaveMyTime is an unobtrusive option.
Download: SaveMyTime for Android (Free)
5. Clockify (All Major Platforms): Free Cross-Platform Time Tracker
Clockify has become a new force among time-tracking apps, especially given how many features it offers in the free version. You won’t find other apps that do all this while working across all the major platforms. And this is one of the few apps to have both a time tracker and a time sheet, so you can log activity in either of the classic time management methods.
In case you didn’t know, the time tracker needs you to start and stop a timer, along with writing what task you’re doing. You can then add tags to it and log whether it’s billable (something you’ll get paid for or not), making it more useful for freelancers.
The time sheet function shows you an overview of the week, divided by days and activities. In each cell, add the number of hours you spent. A super handy option is the simple “copy last week” button, that immediately fills all cells to make recurring routines easier to fill.
Choose either method, but make sure you fill it out. It’s easy and convenient to start a timer or add an entry, so you don’t have any excuses. Jump into the dashboard or the reports at any point to see analysis of your statistics. Although some of the advanced options are hidden behind paywalls, you won’t miss them as a beginner to time tracking.
Other Dedicated Time Tracking Software
Time management is all about knowing where your hours are going. You can either use apps like those above to record your activity after you’ve done it, or get into the habit of starting a time-tracker’s timer when you begin a new task.
If you’re serious about time-tracking, then you need a good app for it. And like with any productivity app, you need something that fits your needs the best if you’re going to continue turning this into a habit. Read about these seven easy time-tracking apps to figure out which is best suited to how you work.