Over the last two years I’ve tried many different ways of tracking my time and none of them really worked for me. Each of them interrupted my workflow and made me think about tracking time instead of doing work. Each time I recorded time I’d get a little bit angry. Plus, tracking time actually made me work less because I wouldn’t work if I couldn’t record a meaningful amount of time.
Over the last few months I’ve found something that works for me. When I start on something new, I post the name of the project, plus any details I may need to remember about it, in a Slack channel. Slack puts a time stamp on it so I know when I started. When I move to the next task or project, I’ll post the name of that activity in the channel. Slack puts in another time stamp on the next post and simply by subtracting the first time from the second my time is tracked. If I am taking a break, I’ll post a “-“. This posting process is frictionless and lets me concentrate on working.
The only downside to this workflow is that I haven’t eliminated the mental processing of the time – I’ve just moved that effort from the start to the end. That gets painful when I haven’t transferred my time out of Slack into our company time tracking system for two full weeks, but I highly recommend this method of tracking time.