I was reading an article about willpower and how to build it over at the Willpowered site and I was fired up by trying to keep track of my money.
I got some software for that, but as I searched I also came across other software for organizing things. One of them was Toggl. I realized that I needed to keep track of my time more than organize it, and Toggl was the easiest and most flexible too out there.
I did not want a tool for helping me organize my time. When I use those tools, I tend to make systems that are too complex. Then in the end I have an unusable tool and end up wasting my time. Either that or managing the system uses time itself and I waste time managing the system. This time I just wanted a snapshot of how I used my time. Toggl does that. But the amazing side effect that I discovered was: simply taking the snapshot has changed how I use my time. Now, I am much more aware of what I am doing and why and when. My time has become even more valuable to me, and I am already wasting less of it simply by recording what I do.
I found this simple tactic to work well with my finances too. Now that I watch my money more carefully, I tend to use less, without even setting a budget! Setting up the discipline to keep track of things has also helped manage them in an unexpected way.
Toggl also has a great way of tagging things, so I can, say, attach a student’s name to every action that involves them (preparing their classes, handling their payments, teaching, ordering materials, etc). Now I can take a look at which students are taking how much time, and respond accordingly. I find this really convenient. Setting it up takes a bit of time, but it is not unreasonable. So far, I love Toggl!