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Time to Think About Management

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Working intently on a project, one can discover that time has flown by, with all that means for those facing deadlines or filing billable hours. While many people have learned effective time management techniques, it can be difficult to manually track time spent on a certain task while switching back and forth between different activities. There are various online solutions to help you record how you filled your day; here are just two of them.


 
ManicTime, which comes in free and more advanced paid-for versions, is designed to run in the background while the user gets on with their activities. Once those tasks are completed, the collected data allows the worker to accurately keep track of their time.

Its process centres around three timelines, shown on a grid similar to that of an events planner or calendar:
  • The computer usage timeline tracks when the computer is active or idle.
  • The application timeline lists which application was used, when, and for how long. Different applications have different colours, making it possible to see at a glance what kind of work was performed at what time.
  • The documents timeline reveals what websites were visited and what documents were opened.
Over time, the software will gather a large amount of data, broken down to enable users to see their top applications, most-visited sites, most-used tags, and more. It can produce charts illustrating how long you spent using your computer, and custom charts that might reveal, for example, how much work was performed for a particular client.

Praised by various experts for its flexibility and ease of use, ManicTime has an active forum of users and an extensive set of frequently-asked questions for those new to the idea of software tracking their activities.


Describing itself as "insanely simple", toggl
says that it can "kill timesheets" by allowing the user to type in a description of a task and then click a button to start timing it. Once they have finished, the software generates a comprehensive report of what was done, and when.

Its makers say that tracking time with toggl is easy and intuitive, and it is possible to create fairly detailed results with just a few button clicks. Extensive lists of activities can be timed to the second and inserted into graphics of various formats to reveal what proportion of the working day revolved around a particular project or client. It works online or offline, and data can be stored "in the cloud" to be accessed whenever the user goes on the internet again at their desk or while on the move.

Although is it housed on the internet, toggl offers apps for desktop computers and Apple and Android portable devices and has won major customers, including Dell. Access is free for 30 days and then costs from $5 a month. For those who manage groups of workers, toggl's creators have developed teamweek, which can reveal if a department's workload is properly distributed or if a worker has too much time on his/her hands.

Pros:
ManicTime
the colourful and easy-to-read interface; the amount of data recorded.
Toggl
its simplicity; the ability to store data remotely to access from any device.

Cons:
ManicTime
its website is fairly limited and static.
Toggl
pricing is not clearly explained.

Addresses:
http://www.manictime.com
https://www.toggl.com
 

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