Ever wonder where exactly the time goes? One minute you’re just logging onto Facebook to check your messages, and the next it’s been three hours and you’ve got nothing done, right? It happens to all of us, but luckily there are apps out there to help us record and manage our time – even if at first it might be a little horrifying how much time we actually spend browsing Facebook. The key to organisation is knowing what you’re doing with your time to begin with, and these apps might just help you figure that out.
- Toggl has a very simple UI, and most users find it intuitive. You can use tags to group your activities together, or track specific projects, as well as getting a daily overview of how you’re spending your time. There’s also a desktop version which automates a lot of the process, detecting your time away from the computer as well as what apps you’re using, and it even lets you set reminders.
Best of all, Toggl is free for teams of five or fewer users.
- Like Toggl’s desktop app, RescueTime runs in the background on your computer. Unlike Toggl, it can also run in the background on other devices. You can set alerts to tell you when you’ve spent too long on a certain activity, block a website to help you focus for a set period of time, and get a very clear graphical representation of how you’ve been spending your time.
Like Toggl, there’s a free version, though the premium version of RescueTime has better features.
- Tomato.es: If you want something really simple you can access from any browser, Tomato.es might be your thing. It isn’t automated, and it only tracks time in 25 minute chunks (based on the popular ‘pomodoro technique’), but you can tag your activities and group your tags into projects – or whatever is useful for you. Being so simple, it’s versatile and easy to link up with other services if you’re the tech-savvy sort… or just use on its own if that’s all you need. If you’re leery of letting something run in the background on your device, Tomato.es is a good alternative that you control completely.
Aside from some adverts (if you don’t use an adblocker), Tomato.es is totally free.
- Tyme: Need something a little extra? If you use an Apple device, this app can help you organise and track your time, and as a bonus it includes statistics about whether you’re on time and working efficiently, budget calculations, and even tracks fixed costs and mileage.
It’s not a free app, but it is a one-time payment – if you don’t want to add something to your monthly outgoings, but you do want a premium product, this might be right up your street.
- Stayfocusd is a browser based extension which tracks your time spent on particular sites or even types of sites… and shuts down your access if you’re overdoing it. You can configure it exactly as you need, so if you already have an idea of what you need to stop doing, StayFocusd might be all you need.
Best of all, StayFocusd is totally free.
The bottom line is, the internet has given us all sorts of distractions to disrupt our working and creative lives. Luckily, it’s also given us some great tools to make sure we stay on track.