Time is not money

September 27, 2006

Actually – it’s much more valuable.

Thom Quinn manages a QLog journal with many nice productivity ideas. Recently he wrote an interesting story about how time is much more valuable asset than money.

His main points were:

  • Money can earn interest and grow. Time is finite, it is not possible to grow the amount of time.
  • Saving time is different from saving money – if you spend an hour less on a task today, you cannot transfer this ‘saved’ hour to next week.

He is so right. Use your time wisely!

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5 Ways to Have Killer Meetings

September 25, 2006

Besides time tracking there is another issue I find extremely important for SMEs (or SMBs if you will) like ours – information flow. How do you make sure that everyone knows what he or she needs to know? How do you gather good ideas or just give status report to everyone in the team? There are several possibilities, actually. You can create status reports and put them into company intranet or send a mass e-mail. You can make posters or memos. Or you could arrange a meeting to discuss matters personally.

Now, what I am trying to say next is from a project manager’s standpoint, but it can probably be applied to any other team member. Since we are a software company, it is essential for us to know how much of the project roadmap we have implemented, whether any problems are occurring, or if a client or partner should be contacted. To accomplish this we hold regular “scrum” meetings. The team will sit down, review what’s done and decide if the milestones are still valid. We also discuss any problems that have emerged to find solutions together. Seems like an ordinary day at the office? Of course it is – but it has some pitfalls I’d like to address.

  • It is overly stupid to hold a meeting because you had one scheduled. If you have nothing new to say or discuss, just check this and re-schedule the meeting. There is no excuse to gather people just to make them look at each other across the table. Let them be productive instead!
  • Do not extend your regular meeting to the point where everyone is talking just to keep the silence filled. Just review the agenda, discuss necessary matters and leave for other duties. It might be a good idea to set a time limit for a meeting – that way you can make sure you won’t be blabbering even two hours later. Of course there are situations that require lengthy meetings with heated discussion, but most meetings can be kept short.
  • Only one thing is more stupid than holding a pointless meeting – and that would be to not hold a meeting when there’s dire need for one. When need arises, call everyone together and discuss matters. And that is the most important rule for every team member, not just the project manager. Talk to people!
  • Another aspect of meetings is that you should document them – let’s call that meeting tracking. That way it is easy to find out what was discussed as well as the outcome of the meeting. Also, it is a good idea to write out the agenda beforehand so people can review it and make necessary preparations.
  • Documenting meetings is one thing, but you have to make sure everyone responsible has access to tracked meetings. That way your work will not go to waste and even people who were not present can get an overview of what was discussed.

How often should you hold your regular meetings? It depends on a project, actually. For example, some of our projects are long term and with a very clear roadmap – then we will hold a meeting only once a week. If we have a project which is on hold we could make the gap even longer. On the other hand, if we have a small project or some kind of a new platform we might hold meetings every two days or even daily. So it all depends on a project and the needs of project members. Just make them short because every minute spent on a regular meeting is unproductive (unless you are paid by the hour for holding meetings!)

And of course – find a tool for meeting tracking that suits you best. That way you can make sure meetings are fun to hold and that people can remain productive.

Bye for now and your comments are most welcome!


Easy Time Entry

September 21, 2006

Toggl is unique and helpful because of its ability to “track” time versus requiring time entry. But time entry is possible when you need to edit a task you are working on. Toggl accepts a number of formats to do this:

* hh:mm:ss (07:48:12)

* hh:mm (07:48)

* mm (48=48 minutes) – A number without any following letters and colons is considered minutes

* For Seconds: 12s, 12 s, 12 sec, 12secs, 12 seconds, etc. You can also enter seconds above 1 minute, e.g. 3600s is 1 hour.

* For Minutes: 48m, 48 m, 48 min, 48mins, 48minute, 48 minutes, etc. Use 48.5m to register 48 minutes and 30 seconds.

* For Hours: 7h, 07h, 07 h, 7 hours, 07hour, etc. Also you may use 7.5h to register 7 hours and 30 minutes.

* 2.5 or 2,5 (2 hours and 30 minutes.) A number followed by a decimal or comma is registered in hours.

The time entry is quite flexible and conveniently accepts any of the above formats that you wish to use.

-Bridget


Updated Version 0.9

September 18, 2006

A new version of Toggl is now up. Usability and speed have been greatly improved.

Also, to whet your appetite, we will let you in on some additional Toggl features that will be available soon:

* Public API

* Revamped timer which can be detached in a separate window

* CSV export of reports

As always, usabilty will continue to improve (including easier invitations) and there will be a number of additional features to add more value, convenience, and ease to your stressful work lives! Check the forum for even more information about upcoming improvements.  Please keep sending us feedback so we can continue to make Toggl better for you!

Enjoy!

Bridget


How Time Tracking Can Make Your Life Easier

September 13, 2006

You might be wondering why time tracking is better than the good old fashioned Excel spreadsheet. Well, here’s some great reasons you should make the switch.

Just hit the button!

No more constantly looking at the clock. Simply hit a button to start timing a task and then hit it again to stop if you finish or take a break. Some software will begin a new task every time you hit the start button, others will let you add more time to an open task after you’ve stopped timing. This ease of use increases accuracy in billing so estimating work time is a thing of the past. Time tracking is precise and always updated.

Easy Reporting

Time tracking software will help you be more efficient by storing your timed tasks in conjunction with a client and project. You may also add a description of the task. Forget trying to remember what happened to all your hours at the end of the day or week! These tasks are archived and then you can retrieve them when creating reports weekly, monthly, or during a customized time period.

Seamless Teamwork

When working on team projects, I would highly recommend using software that supports team time sharing online. Team members can log into an Internet workspace to track their hours even when away from the office. Reports can then be created with everyone’s billable and non-billable timed tasks. No time is wasted gathering information…the data will always be updated and ready to go…just print it!

Don’t be stuck in the dark ages of spreadsheets and manual entry. Modern technology is making mundane tasks quick and easy! For those that want to spend more time working for their clients and less time sifting through data and making reports, time tracking is the answer!


Welcome to (the New) Bloggl

September 12, 2006

Greeting to all you Togglers (and soon to be Togglers) out there!

This is our new blog devoted to the innovative time tracking software that is Toggl.

Toggl has been in beta since August 1st. We are constantly making improvements to the interface and usability of the software as well as adding more functionality based on the needs of our users.

Check the blog and our forum frequently to stay updated on new features, version upgrades, and other useful information.

As always, feel free to leave a comment for us. We need feedback to make Toggl better for you.

Cheers!

Bridget