Posts Tagged ‘tracking your time’

It is difficult to track your time, especially when you have so many interruptions, telephone calls and meetings. How do you know how long you spent on a particular task without a quality tracker by your side? Technology is improving rapidly, and it is hard to know which tracker is best. Here we will run through some of the quality tracker apps for use within your NFP on the market today.


If you are looking to track your time using a simple tool, then Toggl is highly recommended. You can opt for their basic package or upgrade to their pro package. With just one click of a button, you can start tracking. It even allows you to input your hours after the fact.


Hours allows you to do away with your timesheets and track your time as you go with real-time reports. It can be used on multiple devices giving you the freedom to switch between timers with one tap.


Paydirt is a great option for those who are always forgetting to set their timers. You can keep on top of your workload with the built-in timer and improve your productivity. It also provides a helpful overview of where you spend your time.


If you rely on calendars heavily to plan your day, then Timely can integrate seamlessly into your workflow. Highlight the project, start the timer and get down to work. It converts your schedule into your timer, quickly and smoothly.


Rather than guesstimate where you spend the majority of your time, Freckle can help you narrow down those minutes and hours into useful charts and reports. It is particularly beneficial for those nonprofits wanting to streamline their processes and better their effectiveness.


Spend less time tracking and more time doing with Harvest, an excellent app for those looking to track a variety of projects simultaneously. It also allows you to connect your favourite tools and track your expenses.

Top Tracker

TopTracker is a standalone app to help you track via timers, screenshots and webcam shots. It offers full productivity reports and can be used on all devices. And the best part, it’s free, making it a perfect choice for NFPs!


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Being a volunteer treasurer can be a huge responsibility, and during your most busy periods, you may find yourself struggling with the workload. Being able to manage your time efficiently becomes more important than ever, especially when you have finance issues and reports looming.

Here are some tips and tricks we garnered from other volunteer treasurers.

Skip the occasional meeting

While some meetings are important for you to attend, some meetings can be dealt with by a treasurer representative. Send someone on your behalf so you can catch up with your workload. They can then report back with anything that needs actioning.

Work from home

If you face a long commute or are juggling the hours between work and home, perhaps there are tasks which can be carried out at home. If you can access your finances on the cloud, then you may find that a lot of your workload can be handled directly from your home office.

Schedule your day

Without a set schedule, you have more chance of your time getting away from you. Plan to do specific tasks at set times. Check all emails first thing in the morning and then don’t check again until later in the day.

Work an early morning shift to get stuff done

If you can, plan for early morning periods where you can work uninterrupted. You may be surprised at just how much work you can get done at 7 am on a Saturday morning. Try not to make a habit of it, of course, but a few hours of working alone can do wonders for your overall schedule.

Rely on help from others

In truth, you cannot do it all. That is where colleagues and volunteers can come in handy. Seek help from quality staff who are as dedicated to the task as you are and who can help clear some tasks from your inbox. Delegate every opportunity you get.

Say no if necessary

It is important that you say no to some of the many requests that land on your desk. Just like you don’t have to attend every meeting, you also don’t have to go to every luncheon or do every bit of research that is asked of you. Prioritise your personal tasks, so you don’t stretch yourself too thinly.

Set time limits for volunteers

Volunteers may have issues and wish to discuss their problems with you. Let them know at the beginning of the meeting that you can only spare 5 or 10 minutes and keep to that time limit. Meetings can easily overrun and take up the majority of your office time.

Remember, it is your time. Being firm with your time limits and sticking to your main responsibilities is in your best interests. It will allow you to manage your workload more effectively and minimise the number of hours you work overtime.

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Everyone has the right to choose what to do with their time, but we can all agree about one thing – it is certainly not enough for everything. Back in 2013, an ingenious project made use of 28,835 jelly beans (one for every day in 79 years) to show how the life of an average person looks and what we use it for. Simple calculations help the guys show the following important figures:

  • 23,360 days left after the first 15 years.
  • Sleeping: 8,477 days.
  • Eating, drinking and preparing food: 1,635 days.
  • Working: 3,202 days.
  • Commuting and moving around: 1,099 days.
  • Watching TV (arguably): 2,676 days.
  • Chores and household responsibilities: 1,567 days.
  • Taking care of our loved ones: 564 days.
  • Bathing, grooming, bathroom related activities: 671 days.
  • Community activities (taking classes, charities etc.): 720 days.

When you take all that out, you are left with 2,740 days. This is your time for doing what you love, what makes you happy, what you really want to do with your time. And that’s in case you know how to say ‘no.’ 2,740 days does not sound like a lot of time, does it? What you are going to do with it – the choice is entirely yours.

When realising the importance of saying ‘no’, you need to differentiate between your personal life and your business affairs. When it comes to your own private time, making the choice to say no should be much easier. In our lives, we all have those people who would always ask for favours, sacrifices, compromises, spending time on activities we don’t like or need. There are, of course, situations when we should say ‘yes’ – when we really want to help/participate. But when spending our time is obviously not worth it and everything in us screams no – that’s when you should be hard and decided. Say ‘no.’ If they persist, say ‘no.’ again. Soon enough, you will not be the target of unwanted invitations, requests and attention – and you will have the time all for yourself, your loved ones and what really matters in life!

If you are struggling to say ‘no’ to business requests, invitations and projects, you will need to train yourself into practical thinking. Do you have enough on your plate already? Yes? Then the answer to the next thing you will only waste time and efforts on should be ‘no.’ Do you actually want to participate in the project/meeting/event? Then say ‘no’, but include the possibility to be available next time. In order to be successful and to have time for what really matters for your business, you need to know your priorities. A good idea is to have a time rule – for example, give a reply after 24 hours. That will give you what you need to count the pros and cons, to evaluate the proposition and to take the right decision. Only very rare business cases would not let you ‘sleep on it’ before deciding what to do, so take advantage of doing this – the benefits will come with time.

To cut a long story short, ‘no’ is a phrase you certainly need to use more often in both your private and business life. Learn to say it gracefully and with style, without hurting people’s feelings and with the perspective of keeping doors open – never lock them. However, no matter what way you say it, make sure you are in control of your own time. 2,740 days for activities of your own choice. How many of them do you have left? Spend them appropriately!

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Are you working for nothing?

It’s so easy for the hours in your day to slip away and leave nothing to show for it.  If you are using a system of billable hours for your income, you are letting the money slip through your fingers.  No business can afford to let that happen.

By keeping track of your time you will know who should be paying you for it.  You will be able to see how long each project has taken you and where most of your time was spent.  Not only will you then be able to charge the right person, you will know exactly how much to charge.  No more guesstimating!

There are a lot of tools on the market that will help you to track your time.  These are just a few that might help you.

1. KLOK – This is a clever little system that you buy outright. It’s a desktop application that costs $15.99USD. That means that it’s one of the cheapest on the market. It also offers free extensions that turn it into a mini project manager and connections to Basecamp or Harvest.

2. Let’s Freckle – This system includes invoicing, time analysis and SSL security, too.  It costs $25.00 per month for a team of 5 and offers a free 30 day trial.

3. 88Miles – If you are a freelancer you can access this tool for free.  For a team of 5 it will cost you $20.00USD per month.  You can have unlimited projects running, too.  This system has automated screen savers so it keeps track of the time for you.

4. Toggl – This tool integrates with Basecamp, Quickbooks and Freshbooks and it has apps for iPhone and Android which are great when you are on the road.  Plans start from $5.00USD per month.

There are many more tools out there and all are very affordable especially when you think of how many billable hours the tool will find for you.  It will pay for itself.

If you bill people by the hour, make sure you have a way to track every minute of your time.

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