There are some excellent time-tracking apps out there, but if you prefer the comfort of good old Microsoft Excel, here's some good news. A Redditor made an Excel-based to-do list with built-in time tracking, and the template is free to download.
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When it's time to buckle down and get some serious work done, we trust that you have a go-to productivity method or technique that functions best for your workflow. At Lifehacker, we talk a lot about the different techniques you can use to spend more time doing, and less time organising or thinking about doing. If your current method is working for you, here are five productivity techniques that have proven highly effective for countless people.
Chrome/iOS: Handle is the productivity add-on that Google should have made. It seamlessly combines emails, to-do lists and calendars to make Gmail your central productivity hub.
Android/iPhone: TickTick is a powerful syncing to-do manager that's seen a lot of improvement since its launch. Today, it's getting a handful of new features.
There's a solid case to be made for going public with your goals. You can use the same method with your to-do list, and beyond the accountability factor, writing your list for someone else can help you make it more succinct and efficient.
I've been using pen and paper for most of my organisation and to-do lists for the past six months. I've experimented with different analogue systems during that time, and tried things I made up myself to figure out what suits me best.
As I experiment, I always keep an eye out for any new ideas or systems that might work better for my workflow. I came across an analogue system recently that's almost too simple, yet quite clever in some ways.
Mac: Trello is one of our favourite organisation tools, but one potential downside is the lack of a native desktop client. Paws jams Trello in a desktop app for Mac, complete with notifications and a handful of keyboard shortcuts.
Setting aside time for a weekly review is a great way to make sure you're on track with all your projects, but it helps to do the same with a quick mid-day check-in. This way you can make sure you spend the afternoon on the tasks that really need your attention, and not just putting out fires.
iOS: With all the little tasks you have to accomplish every day, sometimes it helps to keep things simple. 3 Wins challenges you to complete three basic tasks every day.
Plain text has long been a favourite here at Lifehacker, but over the years most people have moved away from it in favour of specialised to-do apps, notes apps, writing apps or whatever else. I still use plain text for just about everything, but never thought much about why I do. The more I thought about it, the more I realised that snazzy features aside, plain text is still king for portability and simplicity.
You've probably heard the old "eat the frog" advice, which says you should tackle your most dreaded task first thing in the morning. This works well for some of us, but there's a solid case to be made for eating the frog later.