Swizec Teller - a geek with a hatswizec.com

    Do you use any special time tracking software?

    Jonas asks if I use any special time tracking software. A common question in fact. People ask me all the time πŸ€”

    Yes, several.

    I have 2 primary and 2 secondary time trackers these days. Used to experiment with a lot of different tools and according to The Good Shit Stays principle, this is what stuck.

    • Klok for areas of time
    • Toggl for billable hours
    • RescueTime for focus tracking
    • Timeular for sidehustle areas of time

    Areas of time – Klok

    You're familiar with calendars. They specify your agenda, your plan for the week. If you color code events you can take one look and see how much time you spend in meetings, at the gym, studying, or whatever.

    Here's my calendar


    I suck at calendars. Never could make them work for me. Been trying for 10 years.

    When was the last time you did everything in exactly the same order at exactly the same time as your calendar said? For me the answer is never.

    That's where Klok comes in. Klok gives you a birds-eye view of what happened. Not what you intended to happen.

    I use it to track time on broad projects. How much time working out? How much time sidehustling? How much time writing? How much time at work?

    Here's a fairly typical week


    Pink-ish is sidehustle stuff, green is client work, purple is running, grey-ish is gym time.

    You can see I've been good about going to bed around midnight, waking up early, and that I took Valentine's Day evening off to hang with The Girl.

    You even get a high level piechart of how you spend your time.


    About half my time goes to paid work, a quarter goes to sidehustle, and a quarter to self improvement. Self improvement tracks high these days because of marathon training and some Ramit Sethi courses I'm doing.

    Got data going as far back as 2009. Some fun stats:

    • 1807 hours on my first startup
    • 5073 hours on blog, sidehustle, etc
    • 6181 hours on self improvement
    • 1971 hours on college
    • 10352 hours on paid work

    So now we know why I never graduated πŸ˜…

    Billable hours – Toggl

    Never bill by the hour. Always know how many hours you're spending.

    That's how you know if the project fee (or your paycheck) was worth it. Try to account for all time spent, not just butt in seat time.

    Toggl is great because it's a timer.

    Click track and it starts tracking. Klok does that too btw but I find Toggl is more fine-grained. I can track overhead and work work separately.


    You get pretty charts. Helps you know how much time you're spending and where. Differences between Klok and Toggl are good area to optimize.

    Klok says you spent 10 hours at the office and Toggl says you worked 8. Why?

    Focus – RescueTime

    RescueTime runs in the background and keeps watch. Tells you when you're being focused and when you aren't.

    This level of detail is too fine-grained for manual tracking and that's the point. You tell RescueTime which apps you consider productive and which you don't and it makes pretty graphs based on your activity.


    You can see I've been pretty good this week. Actually spent more time creating than talking about creating.

    And only 7% social networking! 🀘

    A great companion for RescueTime is Gyrosco.pe. One of the most beautiful apps I've ever seen built with React and D3.

    Here's a look at my public dashboard


    Those intertwined green and red lines, that's how focused I was through the day. Great way to visualize it.

    Sidehustle areas – Timeular

    Timeular is the newest addition to my flock of time tracking apps. I use it to measure different areas of creativity.

    Writing, video, livecoding, marketing, stuff like that.

    It isn't super useful and I don't look at the charts very often, but I like that it comes with a physical device that you twist and turn and plop down to start your timer.


    I waver between "That has too many sides" and "Ugh not enough options". It's neat though, great idea.

    If I had one at work I'd use this instead of Toggl :D

    The charts are ... okay



    And that's how I track my time, do you track your time?

    Also that was 5 things wasn't it? Five things Friday! 🀘

    Cheers, ~Swizec

    PS: honorable mention because it's really cool. Kristian Heruc compiled a list of many hundreds React Resources It's real good. There's even a list of some of my React stuff ❀️

    Did you enjoy this article?

    Published on February 22nd, 2019 in Personal

    Learned something new?
    Want to become an expert?

    Here's how it works πŸ‘‡

    Leave your email and I'll send you thoughtfully written emails every week about React, JavaScript, and your career. Lessons learned over 20 years in the industry working with companies ranging from tiny startups to Fortune5 behemoths.

    Join Swizec's Newsletter

    And get thoughtful letters πŸ’Œ on mindsets, tactics, and technical skills for your career. Real lessons from building production software. No bullshit.

    "Man, love your simple writing! Yours is the only newsletter I open and only blog that I give a fuck to read & scroll till the end. And wow always take away lessons with me. Inspiring! And very relatable. πŸ‘Œ"

    ~ Ashish Kumar

    Join over 14,000 engineers just like you already improving their careers with my letters, workshops, courses, and talks. ✌️

    Have a burning question that you think I can answer?Β I don't have all of the answers, but I have some! Hit me up on twitter or book a 30min ama for in-depth help.

    Ready to Stop copy pasting D3 examples and create data visualizations of your own? Β Learn how to build scalable dataviz components your whole team can understand with React for Data Visualization

    Curious about Serverless and the modern backend? Check out Serverless Handbook, modern backend for the frontend engineer.

    Ready to learn how it all fits together and build a modern webapp from scratch? Learn how to launch a webapp and make your first πŸ’° on the side with ServerlessReact.Dev

    Want to brush up on your modern JavaScript syntax?Β Check out my interactive cheatsheet: es6cheatsheet.com

    By the way, just in case no one has told you it yet today: I love and appreciate you for who you are ❀️

    Created bySwizecwith ❀️