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This week's tool comes from Joy Mayer, who spent 20 years as a journalist, educator and community outreach innovator. She now works full-time as an engagement strategist and consultant.
I have no idea how I’ve been spending my work time all these years. Seriously. You know those days, when you’re not sure what you actually accomplished or did? (The probable answer: meetings.) I’ve had a lot of those. 

But as of last month, I don’t really having meetings. I’m working for myself, juggling multiple clients and projects. And I need to know how much attention I’m paying to each.

Enter Toggl, a genius time tracking tool. 

You set up projects and clients, then pick a project and hit Start. The timer runs in the background. (If you forget to turn it off, it’ll prompt you after a period of inaction.) It’ll then show you how much you’ve worked today and visualize how many of your day’s precious minutes have gone to each project.
I also set up “projects” for work-related but not client-specific tasks. They have clever names like “getting smarter” (for catching up on reading), “getting organized” (for cleaning out email) and “future potential” (for corresponding with potential clients). 

Here’s what Toggl gives me:
  • A sense of how long tasks actually take, so I know the value of my time.
  • A sense of how much time I spend actually working. (It’s both gratifying and strange when I realize that after 3.5 hours of work I’ve gotten more done than I used to in a newsroom.)
  • Data about my work habits. I can get summary or detailed charts, overall or based on specific clients or projects. 
Toggl can be used by teams, too, but I’m a lone ranger these days, so I haven’t played with that part. 

So, how are you spending/wasting your time? Wanna find out?
Samantha Sunne is a data and investigations freelancer newly based in New Orleans. Her clients include the Washington Post and the American Press Institute, and current side projects include Tools for Reporters, Hacks/Hackers and learning to code. samanthasunne.contently.com
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Copyright © 2016 Samantha Sunne, All rights reserved.

Tools for Reporters is published by Samantha Sunne. It was founded in 2012 by Dan Oshinsky.

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