Lynn Terry talks about time logs frequently.
She uses them, along with time blocks to make sure she’s working on the tasks which are most important to her and her growing, profitable and soon to be profitable businesses.
While I’ve kept a time log before, it’s always been on paper. When it’s on paper it’s easy to fudge on the numbers.
We don’t do ourselves or anyone else justice by fudging.
So I decided to install Grindstone, a time tracking software program I learned about a while ago.
I also decided to use it and share my findings with you.
Watch the video or read the text below for details.
While I’ve done them before, I always did them on paper and honestly, they weren’t always the most accurate.
You know how it happens. You leave what you’re doing without noting the time. When you come back to write it down, it’s hours later and you have to think about it. You now have no idea how long it really took you to get your task completed, outside of the interruptions, distractions and breaks.
I know that stands to hurt me so I decided to truly keep an accurate time log using Grindstone.
Lynn suggests knowing how much time you spend doing everything that you do during your day.
That’s why I finally installed the time tracking software Grindstone and started using it.
It’s totally free to download and use. No trials or anything like that. It does some really great things.
Once you install and open Grindstone, you can set up some of your most common tasks under the Default profile and just start using it.
When you create a task, you have the option of setting a time estimate, a due date, rate you charge and also set it to send you notices of tasks with due dates.
To immediately start the timer, just go to the bottom of the screen and press what looks like the play button.
You’re now timing what you’re working on.
However to get the most out of Grindstone when it comes to creating a time log, head to Options.
Tracking Time Away From the Computer
You can set Grindstone to monitor your keyboard and mouse activity.
Go to Options —> Time and make your selections.
If I don’t use the mouse of keyboard for five minutes, I get the pop-up notification asking me where I want to log that time.
I also have the check box set to “ask me what to do with the time I was away even if I didn’t leave Grindstone timing.”
This way I’m sure to capture my entire day.
There are several other options as well as a way to set a hot key or keyboard shortcut. (I haven’t used that yet.)
To see your choices at work, step away from the computer.
When you return and move the mouse or hit the keyboard, a pop-up is there asking you to “spare a moment to help account for your time.”
You can choose to ignore the time, put it on a task and add notes to that task.
It also asks what you’re about to start working on now.
There are four options for that section
- Don’t start timing
- Continue timing last task
- Start a new task, which you’ll choose from the drop down. If it’s not a task you’ve timed before, there is an option at the very bottom to add a new task.
- Engage Autopilot, which I haven’t used yet either.
There is one last check box on this screen and it’s “don’t ask me what I was doing” with two choices – today or never again .
Keeping Yourself Reminded of What You’re Actually Working On For All Those Moments Shiny New Object Syndrome or Something Else Distracts You
These are features I didn’t know existed until I started doing this little tutorial/review for you.
Under Options —> Reminders are the following:
Keeping Tabs on Timing
I’ve now set this for 5 minutes as well.
But basically it has a little pop-up to tell nudge you back to doing what you were timing.
There are days when this isn’t remotely necessary and days where I have to actually write this down on a slip of paper.
Now I’ll just have Grindstone do it for me.
Since I’m doing a 72 hour time log, I want to be reminded to time everything so I can see it all when I run my report in three days.
The options here include setting the number of minutes to be reminded when you aren’t timing a task.
You can also set the days and the time of day.
This one is for the people who work too much and find they want to have more life off the computer.
I am not in that camp, as I break frequently.
Here you can set a timed reminder that tells you to leave the computer or stop working for few minutes.
A small pop-up box comes up to remind you.
This is where you’ll set notifications to let you know a task has reached or passed the estimate you can enter when you set up your tasks. You determine the percentage which has passed.
You also have the option of setting an alert to remind you of a due date.
Setting Your Timer View
I didn’t mention this one in the video but if you want to set what your timers and pop-ups look like, you’ll do that under Options —> Timers.
I didn’t get too wrapped up in learning all the ins and outs of the tool. I wanted to quickly start timing and tracking everything for the next 3 days.
If you want to see tutorials on other features, watch the video tutorials Grindstone has here.
I will be watching those very videos to make sure I know how to do the next step in keeping a time log – reporting.
Here’s the link again to download Grindstone.
Will The Time Log Process Work For You?
You can keep a time log on paper or use a mobile app or whatever works for you.
Yet, if you work online, you’re still fairly new and learning, you aren’t seeing the results you think you need to be seeing, you will benefit from a time log.
You are the only one who can control the time you spend working in and on your business.
If you’re not being honest with yourself about what you’re doing, you’re treating yourself and your business poorly.
Keep a time log. Get honest. Find the profits.
Have you ever kept a time log? Did it change the way you work? Did it help you see more or better results?
Share in the comments.