Happy New Year!
If any of your resolutions for 2016 have the words “time management” or words to that effect in them, you may be interested in Toggl, a simple but very powerful tool for tracking the time you spend on various tasks. *Note to my horn students – we will be using Toggl during the Spring 2016 semester, so feel free to go ahead and familiarize yourself with it. I stumbled across Toggl while searching for an easy way to monitor and categorize practice time. Initially, I was looking for a smartphone app designed specifically for musicians, but wasn’t very happy with the usability of several apps after downloading and test-driving them. My requirements were (I thought) pretty basic:
- Easy-to-use interface
- Ability to enter and track time spent on different activities
- Ability to see summaries at-a-glance
- Compatible with iOS and Android
- Reasonable pricing
After several unsatisfactory experiences with musician-specific apps, I expanded my search to include all time management and tracking software. So far, I’ve been very happy with Toggl, and would freely recommend it to anyone. As mentioned earlier, I am planning to use it in my studio during the upcoming semester, with the goal of encouraging more efficient and mindful practice sessions. The interface is very easy to use, and can be customized quickly. Here’s a couple of screenshots showing a few of the ways I use Toggl.
First is a general summary of practice time – which has been useful for helping me stay in shape (and motivated) over the holidays. These are my totals for the week so far.
And next is a more detailed view of the time spent on specific areas of practice. I have been using this to help me stay on track with my recital practice plan.
Toggl can be used for free via its website, or with a smartphone app (also free). The website and smartphone app sync automatically, which is very handy. Creating projects and tasks is simple and intuitive, as is the time-keeping interface. While you could also do this with pencil and paper (or a spreadsheet), the clean, easy-to-use nature of Toggl makes integrating it into practice sessions seamless and, believe it or not, fun! If you don’t believe me, create an account and try it yourself. Don’t feel limited to using Toggl just for practice time, though: you could also monitor time spent on workouts, emails, studying, etc.
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