Task to-do lists form the backbone of our work, yet delivering against them comfortably and on-time still eludes the majority of us. However disciplined we try to be, new work requests will always crawl into our backlog and sometimes completely reshape our week with surprise new deadlines.
Adapting to this ebb and flow of tasks is essential to modern work—we need to be able to balance competing demands and priorities without becoming overwhelmed by them. With the help of a solid piece of tech, it’s a little easier to manage.
It’s precisely why we built Timely—an app that combines automatic time tracking and task management to help you keep track of tasks at work with minimal effort. Here’s a quick look at how to get started.
Excel to-do lists vs. Timely task management
Many people keep a running list of their tasks in an Excel spreadsheet or note-taking app. It’s extremely useful to map out all your deliverables, so this makes a great deal of sense. There are a lot of ready-made Microsoft's customizable list design templates out there to help you get started too.
But software like Excel isn’t designed to help you keep track of tasks at work. As a result, it can take a lot of manual effort to keep them updated with notes, status, and potential delays—creating a new task in and of itself. Due to the high level of manual error, this can also be an extremely unreliable method for managing your deadlines.
In contrast, purpose-built task tracking apps like Timely do the heavy lifting for you. Aside from automatically prioritizing your task list, helping you plan work against your capacity, and highlighting any risks to your deadlines, they provide a highly visual and tactile approach to task management. This makes it extremely easy to adjust plans and keep track of task progress.
The benefits of tracking tasks with Timely
If you’re looking for an intelligent task manager that actually provides insight on how you spend time around each task, look no further. Here are a few of the biggest benefits of using Timely to map and track your work:
🦾 Automatic time tracking
Unlike most task management apps on the market, Timely automatically tracks all the time you spend on different pieces of work in the background for you. That means you can accurately report on the effort you put into each task without the hassle of start/stop timers and note taking. This is especially useful when it comes to setting realistic estimates for future tasks.
Timely’s whole shtick is it removes as much of the menial work that exists around what you were actually hired to do. It lets you know when you’re falling behind on a task deadline and prioritizes your backlog for you. With neat task progress bars that update as you log your work, it’s easy to scan the status of all work in progress.
😍 Enjoyable to use
Timely puts primacy on design, with intuitive drag-and-drop, clean UI, and colorful timelines making it extremely user friendly. Forget beige spreadsheets, painful manual entry and duplicated effort.
🙌🏾 Designed for everyone
Whether you want to action your own weekly to-do list, or plan a project timeline and assign work to a team, Timely makes task management a doddle. Everyone can follow the progress of different pieces of work without interrupting their colleagues.
How to keep track of tasks at work
1. Build your to-do list in Timely
Timely lets you easily create tasks for everything you want to work on—with an estimation of time required and deadline. You can do this in two ways, depending on how you like to plan: as a simple list or a timeline. Timely will then prioritize all of your tasks, so you know what to work on first.
2. Drop tasks into your schedule
Once you’ve added your tasks, it’s time to plan time against them. Just drag and drop a task from your to-do list to add it to your schedule. This lets you see how much time you have left outside of your tasks each day for other requests—helping your team see how much capacity you have, as well as helping you stick to a healthy daily schedule.
3. Log time to tasks with drag and drop
To update the status of a task, simply drag the work activities Timely has automatically captured in the background for you to your task. These activities remain 100% private to you—only see the time of the activity will appear against your task. It’s the easiest and most accurate way to ensure all the work you put into a task stays accountable.
4. Track the progress of all tasks
Planning and logging time to a task will update its progress bar. This helps you and your team visually follow the status of a piece of work without the need for stand-ups and status meetings. Your progress bar will show yellow wherever you’ve put in more time you’re your original estimate for the work. Timely will also flag whenever a task is falling behind schedule, allowing you to adapt your plans and shift priorities.