Why journalists should try tracking their hours

I’ve had to learn how to track my hours and you should, too!

Free apps are enough

I use Toggl Track, a freemium timer you can access via an app and a website. The free version covers my needs.

  • Sending 15 emails can take an hour and a half.
  • Setting intentions for your work helps you feel accomplished.
  • Not getting distracted from your work is hard.

How managers and reporters can track their time

I think managers and reporters could benefit from using a tool like Toggl. Here are some ideas:

  • Time yourself on one or two projects, not everything you have to do. This can help you achieve small goals, like sending emails, analyzing data, having one-on-one meetings.
  • Build the time into your regular workday. Say you want to spend 2 hours on one project today. Do it all at once or break it up into two one-hour sessions. Block off those times on your calendar, too. The point is, turn the timer on when you start, get those 2 hours in and when you hit it, put the project away. You can feel accomplished yet not overwhelmed because you’ve spent the rest of the day on other responsibilities. (Remember, the goal is to not overwork … so don’t tack on those 2 hours before or after your regular work day!)
  • Be patient. This is a new skill. It took me weeks to remember to even open the app when I started something.



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Kathy Lu

Kathy Lu


Media consultant passionate about management, diversity, and helping people succeed. Past: America Amplified/CPB, The Kansas City Star, The Roanoke Times