Time Keeping // Toggl
En route to bettering ourselves, we need to be very aware of our time-spending habits and attention supply. While not keeping tabs on tasks distinctly from tracking time spent on them, I did task+time both on the app “Boosted”, and before that “Forest”. I had to switch for a few reasons. I went from “Forest”, an application that probably works on the web (edit: looks like it is also phonly), where you plant trees and they grow with pomodoro or other time-unit spending, to a less gimmicky and more robust-feeling one in Boosted, which I spent probably 1.5 years using with varying dedication. Boosted let me export all of my timekeeping data in CSV form, so kudos to them for this freedom that I probably didn’t consider before moving in and even paying premium charge.
There is a borderline absurd cottage industry of “productivity guru” talking-head wearing-jawbone types, hobbyist/obsessive task-listers, real-life infomercial recipe noters orbiting kitchen islanders and after-market plugin/app makers offering time tracking solutions on software suite or tools that already exist - all centered on what amounts to putting text and keeping spreadsheets on computer. To make matters worse, this “sector” of the computer-user E-conomy is near perfectly balanced in its appeal/demand across enterprise/business and personal use. Luckily for me I recently changed out of the “Google Workspace” area and into Micro$oft realm, where their “To-Do” and “OneNote” tools gave me some direction or foundation alongside the cloud space I ordered. That is to say I had very little direction, since even looking into “Power Apps”/”Flow” - and third-party google-result flooding automate/integrate services like Zapier - to at least automate task/project-creation as a backbone I couldn’t find any straightforward time-integration, and the request for direct time-track implementation into “To-Do” is, despite community backing, unnoticed after years. It’s fine, I enjoy having control over tool federation, you can tell by my decision to rely entirely on Microsoft outside of a timekeeping widget.
I should make note of some of the various tools (both task/productivity and/or timekeeping) for posterity, and there are some pretty nice looking ones that I almost went with:
Notion: This thing is a bit radical, and really would take the place of To-Do rather than timekeeping. It even has its own weird syntax for summoning document structure pieces into the “pages” which you can nest and list in a sort of folder hierarchy. This is too much - at some point you are creating your own intranet workspace using their peculiar tools, instead of having task and time solution.
WorkingHours: This one is put together by one man, and while it would be nice to support a singular maker and enjoy their singular vision, the “outlook/calendar integration” I imagined it would have was not existing. This didn’t matter in the end, but I had already passed on it.
FocusToDo: This one looks quite nice, dramatically cross platform and offers some kind of pomodoro centric approach. This one seems to be originally Chinese however. Do not download it.
tmetric: Offering what seems to me to be To-Do integration, this one will offer, when on a PC, using the browser extension and interacting with To-Do via the web-app, some overlayed links/buttons that I guess will start your time and generate “projects” or labels for time blocks based on where the starter button was overlayed. Flimsy.
PomoDoneApp: This one claims to have fully fledged To-Do integration, which is worth noting - but at this point I was past obsessively lusting for integration, so the poorly reviewed phone app turned me off.
In the end I resolved to remain using Microsoft 365 tools alongside time-keeper of choice “Toggl”. The toggle with no e app is simple and flexible. Looking back it would be over-complicated to time-track every step of tasks and goals as recorded and noted in To-Do, I enjoy a broad overview and active-use instead of whole hog integration and automation. The tool is really perfect and great - while seemingly designed as a more “enterprise” solution, the free plan works great for personal use, you can import and export data in simple CSV form (might need to edit it slightly in spreadsheet editor), there’s an app available on every platform and the report/graph to analyse your activity is okay. I’ve spent 24 minutes putting together this web log post so far. I went back and threw together a list of other tools I saw, now I’m clocking in at 1 hour 4 minutes. Now I am approaching 1 hour 4 minutes 33 seconds.