When I started as a Consultant many years ago, it opened my eyes to an entirely new way of working I was not familiar with. Previously, it had been the normal “show up at eight and leave after five.” Then you fill in the time between completing various tasks or responsibilities of my job and attending meetings. Of course, I still do come in and complete my tasks and attend meetings, but now there is the added requirement of recording my time to projects. This was entirely foreign to me. It was a struggle for many months as I adjusted to having to track the amount of time spent performing work on various tasks across numerous projects. I quickly found that this was not as easy as it sounds. I would get to the end of a week and realize I didn’t quite remember as clearly what it was I did at the beginning, or how much time exactly I spent working on a task. This would end up costing me hours at the end of the week trying to remember and track down information through emails and notes as to what I completed through the week so that I could apply my time accurately. It was obvious this way of working would not suffice. It added a ton of stress at the end of the week. After deciding that things had to change, I started to research tools that might be helpful in organizing, managing, and recording my efforts throughout the week. Below, I have listed a few tools that I have adopted and found are great in reducing stress and time.
- The first thing I looked to do was to find a way to more easily identify all of the tasks that I had completed or that I had to complete. This led me to Todoist. Todoist, as its name sounds, is your to-do list. Quickly and easily I could add tasks on a weekly calendar so I knew what I had to do in the days ahead. It allows you to set up recurring tasks or specific times required for completion. I like the fact that you can set up projects within the application and associate your tasks to those projects for easy reference later. While the tasks are removed from view once completed, you can always look back into completed tasks to review your accomplishments. The feature that I use and benefit from the most is that it integrates into Outlook. Within Outlook, I have my Todoist panel which I can hide or show and not need another window open on my desktop. The greatest benefit is that I am able to quickly take an incoming Email and turn it into a task for future completion.
- Now that I had a way to record what I was doing, I needed to find a way to track my level of effort on each of the tasks. The application that I found best suits my needs was Toggl. Within Toggl, I am able to set up the various clients and projects that I am involved with. I first started writing down start and end times of various assignments, but soon found that interruptions might occur or I move on to something else before realizing I need to update my notes. With Toggl I enter a task and click the timer to start. I can also stop recording the time. This way, I have all the time spent on various tasks, referencing various projects, which I can look back on at the end of the week. This saves me effort in trying to calculate my time spent on work. An added bonus is that these two applications integrate through a Chrome extension, so you can set up and schedule your tasks in Todoist and track the level of effort on those tasks with the Toggl tie in.
I am sure there are many options out there which might be better for you personally, so take the time to research tools like this and find what fits best. These just happen to be the tools I chose and that fit my style.
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[avatar user=”sflorance” size=”thumbnail” align=”left” /]SCOTT FLORANCE | Business Software Consultant
Scott Florance is one of the CRM Consultants at KTL, and has proven his value as a member of the team since September 2013. Whether implementing a new CRM organization or adding to existing configurations, Scott has engaged clients with a positive and enthusiastic demeanor to help them meet their organizational needs. With six plus years of experience, Scott is familiar with CRM as both a power user and administrator. Scott received his Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of Central Florida. He is a Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist for Dynamics CRM, as well as a Certified Scribe Technician.