If you ever look up from your computer surprised to see the day is almost over, you’re in good company.
Everyone has days where usually quick and simple tasks seem to take forever. But for busy professionals, losing track of the time can mean a loss in productivity.
If you find yourself falling behind on your work a lot, it may be time to try a task tracker.
A task tracker is a tool you can use to organize and prioritize all the tasks you need to get done, whether you work on your own or as part of a team.
A daily task tracker for work can really make a difference in terms of productivity. It offers more features than your typical to-do list organizer and can give you insight into your process that can help you level up your career and your business.
Here’s what to know about task tracking apps and why to use one.
What Is a Task Tracker?
At first glance, a task tracker may look a lot like a to-do list. But a task tracker has additional functionality.
A task tracker doesn’t just help you check off your to-do’s, it gives you a whole lot of useful information about how you check them off.
A task tracker is a type of task management software that can be used by businesses and individuals to improve productivity.
Task tracking software allows you to organize your work into step-by-step tasks with project tracking tools for recording the time and effort that goes into each one.
This means that you can see where you flew through your easy tasks and where you got bogged down with something difficult. This is information that becomes very useful for improving your workflow.
You can use project tracking tools by yourself to make more efficient use of your time and schedule, increasing productivity and spending more time on the work you care about.
However, this kind of software really shines when you use a task tracker for work with a team.
Seeing everyone’s progress allows for great insight into how you function as a team, how to optimize your use of resources and how you can reach the next level together as a business.
Task tracker apps range from simple to complex and work on your computer or smartphone. Using a task tracker online has the benefit of easy access to your data in the cloud. Your software options abound, from free task trackers to enterprise solutions.
Why Should You Be Tracking Your Tasks?
Today’s work is often complex. Everyone juggles multiple projects, deadlines and types of work, and most professionals need to communicate about work with teammates, assistants, clients and other stakeholders.
When you’re not tracking your tasks, you are likely to be less productive, missing out on a better workflow and more success in your business and career.
With task tracking software, difficult work gets simpler and easier to do. You can:
- Get Organized. A task tracker forces you to get organized, planning out all the tasks and details for your project ahead of time before you get to work.
- Improve Your Workflow. Task trackers require you to systematize your workflow, giving you a consistent and repeatable process you can fine-tune.
- Plan for the Future. Task management software helps you plan for future projects, learning from experience and budgeting your time and resources.
Tracking tasks can be very valuable, especially if you’ve never done it before. You’ll gain insights you didn’t know you were missing out on.
What Are the Benefits of a Daily Task Tracker?
When it comes to the big picture for professionals like you, there are many benefits to using a task tracker. Here are a few of the things using a daily task tracker allows you to do.
1. Focus on Your Priorities
A task tracker lets you focus more on your priorities. By breaking down your projects into tasks, you get to see where your time and energy is best spent.
You’ll start each day knowing what tasks you have to do and how they rank in importance. You’ll know when to push through simpler tasks quickly and when to give more time and focus to your core work. If you’re falling behind or taking on too much, it will be apparent with a task tracker.
2. Manage Team Resources
Task tracking apps are very useful when it comes to managing team resources. The software can tell a project manager a lot about how individual efforts contribute to team projects.
You’ll be able to understand where the team is struggling with the workload and where there are opportunities to help other teammates. You can use the information a task tracker provides to better allocate resources and improve the productivity and engagement of your team.
3. Stay on Budget
A task tracker can help make sure you stay on budget. Task tracking software doesn’t just tell you where your individual time is going. It can also help you understand where your client’s budget is going as well.
You can use a task tracker to help you understand when too much time is going into non-billable hours, when workers are spending too much time on low-value tasks and when the resources you’re expended are going to take you overbudget.
4. Improve Business Performance
Task trackers help you improve many aspects of business performance. From project quotes, to rates, to billing, task tracking software can help you optimize performance so you can be more competitive.
You can use a task tracker to make your estimates more realistic, accurate and profitable. You can also identify delivery requirements, project benchmarks and budget drains using a task tracker. Clients will appreciate that your costs are on track with expectations and billed accurately.
5. Improve Overall Productivity
Using a task tracker for work can help you reach a new level of productivity. Understanding all the little tasks you do and how they contribute to your work day-in and day-out can make you more efficient.
You can use a task tracker to pinpoint where you get slowed down, what takes longer than normal and what takes less time than you think. These are insights you can use to improve your workflow even more.
How to Use a Task Tracker?
Task trackers can help you complete complex work, but the way they work is pretty simple.
1. List and Sort Your Tasks
First, make a list of all the tasks you need to complete. Make sure to include all your tasks, including repeated tasks, like daily email processing. If you have major projects and long-term goals, break them down into step-by-step tasks you’ll use to achieve them.
Sort your task list so it will be easier to enter into the task tracker. Be sure you understand what tasks are your primary priorities, which tasks you’ll need to complete each day or each week, and which tasks have important dependencies and deadlines.
2. Add Them to Your Task Tracker
Use your task management software to start organizing projects by adding each task to your tracker. You can include as much or as little information about each task as you need to.
Be sure to give each task a timeline for completion, a deadline or due date, and assign a team member to complete them. If files and documents are needed to complete a task, be sure to attach them to the task.
Use your task management software to schedule resources for each project. Make sure you are paying attention to your timelines, workloads and the dependencies of other tasks. If you need to, you can easily shift things around later.
3. Manage Your Tasks in the App
Use your task tracker to manage and record your progress. Be sure to log the time you spend on each task and the date you worked on it. When you finish a task, mark the task complete in your task tracker.
As you use your task tracker, you will be able to review the status of your projects with up-to-date reports on your progress as well as the progress of your team members on their tasks.
Take time to review your task performance as you use your task tracker. Dive into the details and see where you were ahead of schedule, where you fell behind, what was difficult and what was easy. Document your findings and use them to adjust your process and workflow to improve your productivity and your success.
How to Choose the Best Task Tracker for Work
A task tracker is a pretty simple software, but it can give you a great return on your investment. Choosing a task tracker that works for you will depend on your specific needs.
Different apps focus on solving different kinds of problems, so the best task tracker for you may not be the one everyone else is using. Make sure the task tracker you pick is:
- Fit for Purpose – A task tracker should help you accomplish your goals. If it doesn’t, you may need to try another tool. Make sure your software choice can track the task variables you prioritize as the most important and suits your workflow and industry.
- Easy to Use – Software that’s difficult to learn and hard to work with is rarely worth the time you invest in it. Make sure the task tracker you pick is easy for you and your team to use, including when you need to make changes or modify your tasks.
- Works for Communication – Breakdowns in communication are one of the top reasons for project failure, making this a top priority for any tool you choose. Your task tracker should make it easy to tell when something has changed or needs attention.
By choosing the best task tracker for your project, you can complete more of your projects on time and under budget.
If you’re looking for a great free task tracker to track your tasks, consider Folio.
With Folio, there’s nothing to install and nothing new to learn. Folio lives inside your inbox as an email add-on. Best of all, Folio can save you a lot of time tracking your tasks.
Instead of needing to do data entry for your tasks like in other task trackers, Folio uses advanced AI-algorithms to do a lot of the task management legwork for you.
Folio can prompt you to set up smart folders, add tasks to your to-do list, add due dates to your calendar, get reminders, and send out status updates automatically. It’s a tool that can solve a lot of the problems you could face with other trackers.
Start your free trial of Folio today to get the insight you need and track your task progress automatically.
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We've built Folio: the first AI email assistant for professionals.
Folio plugs directly into your work email inbox and automatically organizes your email, giving you contextual access to all the information you need to increase your productivity in minutes.
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We're a venture funded company backed by Accel Partners, Vertical Venture Partners, and other leading venture capital firms and angel investors such as Ash Patel and Jerry Yang.