I’m not one to talk about the “P” word as I know just how that topic has been beaten to death. Yet we cannot ignore the topic.
We work. We need to produce results. We need to be productive.
Each of us has a different way of dealing with the “issue” of productivity.
In my case, it’s a matter of routine. I’m a creature of habit so it is imperative for me to have the tools to organize my day(s) and make sure that I know what tasks I need to get done – and when. Without these tools, I’ll end up forgetting many things.
As you may have guessed by now, I am a sucker for calendar apps, to-do lists, and everything in between. I’ve tried practically everything out there, but one thing has remained constant: Google Calendar.
Before I became a full-time freelance writer, I worked in the Quality Assurance department of an English training company. While being an employee tends to give you a more structured day-to-day schedule, there were so many tasks on my plate. I was responsible for various things that I needed Google Calendar to keep my sanity – and my job.
Today, I like to call myself a writer for hire, but I also am a girl Friday. I work with bloggers in our network. I check posts. I write posts. I manage social media accounts. Name it, I’m probably doing it.
How have I survived this chaotic work world of mine?
You got it: Google Calendar.
That is, until I discovered Timely App. I like to think of it as a cross between a calendar and a to-do list – but not quite.
It’s a tool that tracks your tasks and allows you to set your rates accordingly so that you know how much you earn for each day. Currently, they have a web-based app, an iOS app, and an Apple Watch app. They are working on a desktop app, and I can’t wait to try it out!
How Timely changed my workflow
So how did Timely affect the way I work? After all, Google Calendar has worked for me for years. What can Timely do that GC can’t?
The difference is that with Google Calendar, I allot a period wherein I have to complete a task. Let’s say I check email first thing in the morning and mark this down at 8 am to 9 am.
Not an issue, right?
But what if it only takes me 30 minutes in the morning instead? Then in the course of the day, I have to check email in chunks of 15 minutes. Sure, I can move my tasks in the calendar around to track the time I spend on them, but there is an easier way to do this.
Yes, it’s Timely.
With Timely, I can input my planned tasks for the day (I usually do this the night before – creature of habit, remember?) with the option of specifying how long I want to spend on the task or not inputting any time limit.
How is this better?
Let’s say I put one hour for email. I can click on the timer icon once I start the task.
Once I’m done checking email, I can click on that icon again and it will stop counting the time. Now, if I have to reply to an email later on, I simply have to click on the timer icon again and it starts counting the time I spend on email. That way, I don’t have to keep moving tasks around and adding/subtracting time manually.
If I have specified a “planned” time period for email, Timely App will show me whether I went over the limit or not at the end of the day.
I haven’t specified a time, then I’ll still know exactly how much time I have spent on a task.
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg, and to be honest, that’s all I have been using and I have been able to manage my time so much better.
Disclaimer: I am using the free version, so that’s another reason I don’t have access to other features of the Pro version, but for my needs, the free version is more than enough.
How Timely increased my productivity
Seeing how much time I spend on each activity helps me analyze if I can cut down on certain things and make the necessary adjustments.
Often, I find myself spending too much time doing “research”. I read up on a topic for a blog post and before I know it, I’ve spent more time that I should have. Writers, you know how that goes, right?
Seeing just how much time I spend on superfluous activities stops me short and makes me think of other, more urgent tasks I need to finish.
I’ve also learned how much time I spend on email, so I decided to analyze if all that was necessary.
The result: I’ve learned to quickly spot emails that do not have to be read, emails that do not need replies, and so on.
At the end of the day, Timely simply opened my eyes to what I actually do every day and how long I work.
No one likes realizing that their workflow is not optimised. It makes you feel like a slacker. (Though slacking off once in a while does wonders.)
If you’ve been going through calendars, to-do lists, and productivity apps like crazy, I suggest trying out Timely. You can use the free version like I do, and if you need the other features, then go for Pro.