by Doug Bowen-Bailey
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As I prepare to get this newsletter ready to go out, it is the last week of 2015. All around me are signs that time marches on. My daughter, who seemingly only moments ago was an infant in my arms, is now in the midst of her search for a college – deciding where she will live next year. “Where does the time go?” is a question I am asking with increasing frequency.
As an independent interpreter educator, that is also a question that I need to ask for my business basis. “Where does my time go?” To be honest, it isn’t something I am very good at. I do work for many projects – helping to create videos, build web sites, design courses – yet when it comes to be knowing how much time I have spent on my work in order to bill people, I frequently don’t have good records.
I am guessing that my struggle with accounting for my time is not unique to myself – whether for those of you who work outside of institutional settings or those who are in my traditional teaching positions. Having insight on how we spend our time can be helpful for us in those other time management strategies like prioritizing our efforts.
I am working on changing my awareness of where I spend my time with the assistance of a new app, Toggl, that I discovered this year. When I start working on a project, I simply click start – either on my computer, tablet or phone – and it tracks how much time I have worked on it. (If I forget to click stop it will send me an e-mail – usually in the middle of the night – asking if I have really been working on a project for 8 hours straight. And I can then go back and edit the actual amount of time.) It then creates weekly reports and I can look online in the Timer app to get what I have done for specific projects or overall during whatever time frame I want. Here is an example of what my week has looked like working on the CIT Newsletter. (For those who know me, you will be glad to see I took a couple of days off for Christmas.)
Best of all for me, the app – when just for one individual – is free. There are paid options that allow collaboration within an organization or business.
There are other apps that do similar things (Freckle and Harvest) though I haven’t seen another one that offers a free option like Toggl.
So, as you begin the new year, new semester, or simply a new day, if you sometimes find yourself asking “Where has the time gone?” I invite you to consider giving Toggl a try to see if it provides you new insights about how to best manage your time.