How to Track Time Spent on Tasks: Practical Tips

Author: Madalina Roman

Before learning how to track time spent on your daily tasks at work, it’s probably beneficial to understand what time tracking is and how it can make a dramatic change in your work and life. So, before getting into it, let’s start with the basics.

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What is time tracking? Time tracking consists of recording time on various tasks or activities throughout the day, whether professionally or personally.

Depending on your preference, it can be done manually using a notebook or manual spreadsheets or automatically using software tools designed for this purpose. 

In this article, we will go more in-depth on all the available methods for time-tracking, how much time-tracking can help you with your daily tasks, and why it is essential to incorporate it into your daily routine.

Therefore, if you’re interested in learning more about how to track time spent at work, keep scrolling!

How a software house tracks time against estimations to improve accuracy

“The CodeFlügel team is now in the habit of tracking all of their time. Thanks to Timeular it’s much easier, much more fun and much more convenient.” – Claus Degendorfer, CEO of CodeFlügel

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How to track time spent on tasks in 4 methods

The ultimate way to track time spent on tasks is by using time tracking apps. These applications offer a convenient and efficient way to monitor your work activities, helping you allocate time accurately and manage tasks more effectively.

However, time tracking apps are one of multiple ways to monitor and measure time. Let’s dive into 4 key methods, ranging from traditional manual approaches involving manually entering the start and end times to utilizing complete time tracking tools and project management software.

Regarding time tracking, it’s crucial to record the hours dedicated to work and monitor the specific tasks you and your team work on each day, which clients were served, and the projects you concluded successfully.

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Here are a few ways to track the time spent on tasks with your team:

  1. Time tracking apps: There are a lot of specialized time tracking software that offer features specifically designed for tracking time, such as Timeular. In Timeular, for example, you and your team can track unlimited activities, add notes, reuse past time entries for faster documentation, set reminders, create, customize, export reports, and more. 
  2. Manual time tracking: This type of time tracking involves manually recording tasks’ start and end times. You can use a Time Card Calculator, project task tracker template, a notebook, or email. For this, you must start a timer when you begin a task and stop it when you finish. When you track time with your team, it often involves sending manual timesheet reminders.
  3. Project management tools: There are fantastic project management tools that help you better manage and organize your team’s work, such as JIRA, Trello, Notion, and many more. Most project management tools may often have built-in time-tracking features. Nevertheless, most teams we speak with don’t find those time trackers user-friendly. Hence, they usually integrate Timeular into those project management tools via Timeular’s API or Zapier. This way, they can assign time estimates to tasks and track the time spent on each task within the project management platform.
  4. Calendar integration: Even though it’s less common, you can easily incorporate time tracking into your calendar by creating dedicated events for each task or project. Set the start and end times for the events, and review your calendar at the end of the day to calculate the time spent on each task. Easy!

The most important is that you choose the method that works best for you based on your preferences and needs.

The key to effective time management is consistency and accuracy, no matter the type of technique you decide to go with.

Check this out:

How a communications agency tracks collective time to maintain the right level of client servicing

“We all love using Timeular. It’s really easy to use and straightforward, especially if you haven’t done time tracking before. We actually enjoy using it and it’s so helpful.” – Eva Lightfoot, Senior Account Executive, Harpswood

monitoring is a time-consuming task.

How time tracking tools make task time tracking easier

We already know that time tracking is beneficial for several reasons, such as improved productivity, better time management, accurate billing, progress monitoring, and much more. But how exactly do time-tracking tools make tracking time on tasks easier?

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“We are much better at accurately tracking our time, which improves client billing” – Michele C. Founder @ Clementine Health

The truth is, time tracking tools make tracking time on tasks more accessible by providing several features and benefits, such as:

  • Built-in timers: the great thing about time tracking tools is that they often have built-in timers or start/stop buttons that automatically track the duration of your tasks. This simplifies your life by eliminating manual calculations and making tracking more accurate. 
  • Automatic context tracking: many time tracking tools offer real-time monitoring, showing you exactly how much time you spend on a task, program, or website at a specific moment. This feature helps you to record exactly how you spend your time with little effort. Timeular offers automatic time tracking for each team member by respecting everyone’s privacy: anyone else (e.g., manager or other team members) can see the private automated tracked data. Note that this feature is still in beta at the moment.
  • Task categorization: with time tracking tools, you assign tasks to specific projects, clients, or categories. This categorization helps you organize and analyze your time spent on different types of work.
  • Integrations: most time tracking tools integrate with project management software, calendar apps, or collaboration platforms. This integration simplifies the workflow by automatically syncing task details, time entries, and project information. For example, the Timeular app integrates with the most popular tools, such as Jira, Toggl or Harvest, Slack, and many more.
  • Time reporting: with time tracking tools, you can generate detailed reports and analytics based on the tracked data. These reports provide accurate insights into your productivity, project progress, and time allocation, allowing you to identify areas for improvement and make intelligent decisions. See how Timeular helps you with detailed and valuable reports.
  • Invoicing and billing: many time tracking tools offer automatic invoicing and billing features, allowing you to generate invoices based on the tracked time for clients or projects. This simplifies the billing process, primarily if you work with multiple clients, ensures accurate invoicing, and reinforces trust between you and the customer.
  • Mobile convenience:  using time tracking apps on your phone enables you to track your time on the go, wherever, whenever. You can start, pause, or stop timers from your smartphone or tablet, ensuring you capture accurate time data even when away from your computer. This can be an asset if you usually work out of the office. If you don’t work behind a desk and your job requires you to travel regularly or move around during the day, having the app on your phone can be a great help.
  • Team management: time tracking tools are also great for facilitating team collaboration by enabling team members to track their time and contribute to shared projects. This way, managers can monitor team members’ progress, allocate resources more efficiently, and generate extensive team-wide reports.
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If you’re searching for the best time tracking app for teams, explore Timeular, which redefines the concept of time tracking and makes it effortless, smart, and secure.

Timeular is one of the most accessible time tracking software for teams, agencies, consultants, and lawyers.

The tool provides detailed reports, smooth team time management, and billable tracking. With the Timeular app, time tracking becomes much more straightforward and more intuitive so that your team will keep their focus intact while working and tracking different activities.

Thanks to its simplicity, Timeular allows teams to input super-accurate time entries and maximizes productivity, profitability, and effective time management.

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Why is it important to track time spent on tasks?

It is no longer news that time tracking can benefit your business and general management of work and teams. The most significant benefits of tracking time spent on tasks can be:

  1. Enhance productivity and efficiency: time tracking helps you understand how you spend your time and identify all the areas where you can improve your productivity and efficiency. Tracking time allows you to pinpoint tasks that exceed their expected duration or don’t align with your goals, enabling you to make necessary adjustments and prioritize your work as effectively as possible.
  2. Accurate planning: when you start tracking time on tasks, you can gather data that can help you make more accurate plans and create goals in the future. Analyzing historical time data allows you to make more accurate predictions about the duration of similar tasks or projects, enabling you to establish realistic deadlines and effectively manage client expectations.
  3. Progress monitoring: tracking your time gives you a better sense of accountability. Tracking time enables you to continuously monitor your progress about deadlines, ensuring that you remain on course and achieve your ultimate goals. It also helps you improve reporting and communication regarding project status and progress.
  4. Identifying time wasters: even though we wish to be as productive as possible, so many things can take away our focus from essential matters. By tracking your time, it becomes much easier to identify activities or tasks that consume excessive time without adding much value and distractions or inefficiencies that can be addressed to optimize your workflow.
  5. Resource allocation: time tracking offers valuable insights into the allocation of resources, including how employees spend their time. It assists in optimizing resource allocation by balancing workloads and making informed decisions regarding your team and project assignments.
  6. Billing and invoicing: accurate time tracking is crucial for fair client billing and invoicing based on your worked hours. It provides transparency, accountability, and professionalism. At the same time, in most cases, is a way to increase billable hours.
  7. Work-life balance: finally, tracking time can also help you maintain a healthy work-life balance. By being aware of how you spend your time, you can identify areas where you may be overworking or neglecting personal time. Creating a harmonious work-life balance can allow you to be in a better physical position and a better emotional and mental place, making you a better professional and a better person.
keeping track of time at work
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Conclusion

As we’ve seen, several ways to track time spent on tasks exist.

Tracking time spent on tasks is valuable for improving productivity and achieving a better work-life balance.

Whether you use manual methods, spreadsheet tools, or specialized time tracking apps, tracking time allows you to identify inefficiencies, set realistic goals, and allocate resources effectively.

By gaining insights into how you use your time daily, you can optimize your workflow, prioritize tasks, and make informed personal and professional growth decisions. Embracing time tracking as a habit empowers you to stay organized and focused and accomplish your ambitions more efficiently.

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FAQ

How do I track time spent on tasks in Excel?

We do not recommend tracking time in Excel; instead, use an automatic time-tracking tool like Timeular to minimize human error. Nevertheless, the easier way to track time in Excel is to create a table with columns for task name, start time, end time, and duration.
In the “Start Time” column, enter when you begin a task. You can use the 24-hour format (9:00 AM as 09:00).
In the “End Time” column, enter when you finish the task.
In the “Duration” column, use a simple formula to calculate the duration. Subtract the start time from the end time, giving you the time difference between the two. Format the “Duration” column in time format to display the calculated time correctly.

How do I track time spent on tasks at work?

The first thing to do is to find the right time tracking method that better works for you, then identify all your tasks, set precise start and end times, categorize your tasks, and start tracking continuously!
For more accuracy and simplicity, we highly recommend your use a time tracking software, such as Timeular.

How do I track time spent on projects?

First, break down your project, estimate deadlines and task duration, track your time using time tracking software, track task progress, and analyze and evaluate your performance.

How can I track time spent on apps?

Timeular enables teams to track time spent on apps automatically. With context tracking, you and your team can automatically capture which apps and websites you visit during the day.
The report of the context tracking data is accessible just by the user who’s using it. Neither managers nor other team members can see it.
You can also use mobile apps with time tracking features, such as RescueTime, Moment, and App Usage Tracker, or built-in phone features that track app usage and screen time.
You can also get a productivity and time management app, track your time manually or even get screen time monitoring tools, such as browser extensions.

What are the best time tracking tools? 

Timeular is the preferred tool for tracking team time and billable hours due to its user-friendly interface, enabling users to track time offline and online without distraction or needing to open the application.
Several ways to track time include a calendar view, keyboard shortcuts, and a physical device.
Using Timeular facilitates the development of a time-tracking routine and provides an array of reporting insights that can be exported in PDF, XLSX, and CSV.