How Long Does It Take? Track Your Time to Find Out!

plastic kitchen timer on white background

How long should you spend working on an email newsletter? How much time do you need to invest in Facebook or Twitter to improve your engagement?

While we can give you rough, anecdotal answers to questions like these, I’d much rather see you answer the questions for yourself. With your real-life data, you can then make some decisions about where you should increase the time or decrease the time spent on certain tasks.

Creating your baseline is a great place to start, and you do that with time tracking software. Some people are religious about it (like the team at Big Duck); others (like me) tend to do more “spot checking” with careful tracking for only a few weeks here and there over the course of the year.

Just google “time tracking apps” and you’ll get several lists, but after trying several, my personal favorite is  You can use a combination of Projects, Clients, and Tags to identify the work and then pull reports on it.

How about you? Do you track your time regularly? What’s your favorite app? Please share in the comments.



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  • a_read3r

    Time budgeting is one of my favorite productivity disciplines. It helps to look back on a week and be able to tell a boss (or yourself) exactly how much time everything is taking. Very handy to answer those “why can’t you just add this in” questions. I use the free Harvest timer with custom categories that make sense to me.

    The only thing is, if your supervisor doesn’t value the info, it doesn’t make sense to do. I’ve had bosses that like my ability to answer for my time, and others who cringe at it – often I think because they wouldn’t want that much accountability for themselves, either. Those supervisors have tended to frown on time tracking as being a waste of time in itself, when you should be just working.

    • If you do it right, it really shouldn’t take that long! And you are right, people have no idea how long things really take.