The Little App That Could (quite possibly put more hours in your day)

Need more hours in your work day? Liza Dyer has an app that might find you time to spare

togglHow much time do you spend interviewing potential volunteers? Between April 1 and December 1, I have spent 54 hours, 18 minutes, and 6 seconds on interviewing and placing volunteers. I know this because I use Toggl to track my time at work. Toggl is a simple time-tracking app and website where you can record how much time any task or project takes.

I use the free version which, so far, has served all my needs. There are tons of features, but I use it for the most basic: knowing how long something took me. (There are also paid packages if you need additional features.) Toggl offers free reports so you can review your projects over the last week, month, year, or a set period of time. One of my favorite things about Toggl is that it can integrate with Gmail, Google Docs, and Trello—all of which I use daily—if you download the free Google Chrome extension. The extension activates a button in Gmail, Google Docs, and Trello so I don’t have to leave my current window to start the timer.

The donut chart on this post is a visual summary of one specific week at work with time divided by categories, which Toggl calls “Projects.” You can create your own categories, but here’s what each of mine mean:

  • Daily: checking and responding to email, checking voicemail, making my to-do list for the day or week (I spend a lot of time on email!)
  • Meetings: any formal meeting
  • Recognition: tasks related to volunteer recognition or appreciation
  • Volgistics: specific time spent working in the volunteer database
  • Recruitment: posting new volunteer opportunities, interviewing potential volunteers, and connecting volunteers to program staff
  • Other: this includes multiple other categories where I spent smaller amounts of time, such as professional development

You may have noticed that the total time is just under 30 hours—I guarantee I spend more time at work than that! I don’t always track my time on Toggl, but I try to as much as I can to get a realistic idea of where my time goes.

Recently, a coworker asked for my help with a volunteer impact report. I wasn’t sure if I would have the time on top of my usual work, but I gave it a try. According to Toggl, my total time on the report was 9 hours and 57 seconds. Next time I’m asked to help with a similar report, I know approximately how much time it could take. If I don’t have the time to spare I can explain why, or offer to help with a smaller piece of it.

If you don’t know how much time you’re spending on different projects, give Toggl a try and find out!

 

Tweet this post! Help your colleagues manage their time by sharing this message:

Need more hours for your volunteer management to dos? @LizaFace shares the app you need, http://twentyhats.com/?p=2045

 

About the Author

LizaJDyerLiza J Dyer, CVA, has worked in the nonprofit and public sectors for over 10 years and is currently a Program Coordinator in Volunteer Services at Multnomah County Library in Portland, Oregon. Outside of work, Liza holds leadership positions with Northwest Oregon Volunteer Administrators Association, Young Nonprofit Professionals Network of Portland, and the Council for Certification in Volunteer Administration. Connect with Liza on Twitter.

4 thoughts on “The Little App That Could (quite possibly put more hours in your day)

  1. Jayne Cravens

    I’m trying it out now… but you have to manually type in activities, right? it can’t automatically track how much time I’m on twitter, how much time I’m working in OpenOffice, how much time I’m browsing, right?

    1. Liza

      Hi Jayne! You’re correct that you have to manually push the start button. Before I started using Toggl, I was looking for a tool that would do this automatically. At the time I wasn’t able to find anything. I did download the Chrome extension for Toggl, though, which puts the button in an easy location. Definitely not the same as automatic, but it helps a little.

      If you know of a tool or app that tracks time automatically, I’d love to hear!

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