Tool of the week: Klok

Many people struggle with the constant distractions that are on the internet, and all around us... but in Grad school it can be especially hard with a culture of tweeting, Facebook, and tublring, it can be really hard to stay on task.

On top of all that, Even if you ARE being productive, when managing multiple tasks it can be easy to reach the end of the week and wonder "where did all my time go?!"

Klok is a multi-platform free time management tool that allows you to clock into and out of diffrent tasks in order to try to keep yourself productive and manage where the time was.  I find the simple act of tracking my time on various tasks REALLY motivates me to stay on task. With Klok, you set up diffrent projects (and you can even break them up into sub-tasks) and clock in and out when you start or stop working on tasks.  I also clock in and out when i take breaks for lunch, surfing the internet, or getting on facebook.

Klok's week view is really helpful at seeing not only where your time went, but when you were being productive on a task and when you switched tasks too often.

Klok offers a couple diffrent ways to view your productivity, including a week view which looks much like a calendar, it allows you to see when you had productive blocks of time and when you might have been getting distracted with breaks often.  I also love looking at Klok's pie charts to see where my time went.  The example below is the highest level of the pie, showing that I spent a substantial amount of time this week working on teaching related tasks, and some time working on research, taking breaks, or doing "life" stuff (running erronds, talking on the phone, etc..)

At a glance, i can see that so far this week i've spent 15 hours working on teaching stuff, 8.5 hours working on research, 5.5 hours taking breaks, and 3 hours doing "life" stuff like running to the store or paying bills.

If you break your tasks into sub-tasks you can drill down into each catigory by clicking on it. For example, 5.5 hours sounds like a lot of "break" time! I can drill down and see that most of my breaks were either for lunch breaks, or nap breaks (I love to take a 15-20 min nap in the afternoon to keep me alert). I can feel good that i only spent half an hour wasting time on social media sites, but also spent 1.5 hours surfing the web.

Here's how i spent my breaks

A last word about Klok is that it integrates well with other tools! I don't use it, but I have a friend that loves using Asana to break up tasks. Klok can sync with Asana to show how much time you spend on diffrent tasks. Awesome!

  • Hey man! This program looks great. It doesn't look like they have an app for the iPhone... can you plug in times after the fact? Like if I am gone for 4 hours, when I get back can I fill out the separate activities done in those 4 hours pretty easily?

    • mrsoltys

      Hey Walt!
      They do have a paid version (19.95) that gives you access to a web interface and cloud syncing. As I understand it, you can change your tasks on your phone from this mobile interface through your browser, but i have not tried it.

      Also, editing tasks later is easy. You can drag projects right onto the calendar, drag them to different time slots, or drag the start time and end time to the right value.

  • Andy

    This is also an area where I've tried to implement some solutions or look for tools to help me out. I'm curious if Klok is the first such tool/service you've tried in this area or if you've tried other ones like Toggle, RescueTime (two I've played with). I've never been happy with previous tools I've tried so am willing to give this one a shot; but am curious what else you've tried.

    Also, I really like Trello, but it lacks a time tracking component. Do you use it at all for org type stuff?

    • mrsoltys

      Andy,
      I use wunderlist to manage my projects, and i've looked into asana (which looks similar to trello at a glance), I actually find that the old pen/paper to do list works best for me in that relm, but i do need something to keep me on task.

      The only other time tracking app is called "stone hill time card" found in the mac app store for free. It's Very simple, but i found I wanted more out of a time tracking app.

  • Dan

    I would recommend checking out http://www.Gtdagenda.com for an online GTD manager.

    You can use it to manage your goals, projects and tasks, set next actions and contexts, use checklists, and a calendar.
    Syncs with Evernote, and also comes with mobile-web version, and Android and iPhone apps.