There's something about working with a time tracker that adds a sense of urgency for me. It makes me want to finish each project as efficiently as possible.
As a freelance writer, I'm always tracking projects like:
I recently began using this Zap, and it's helped level up my productivity by a ton.
Once I started tracking my time, I realized how much time I spent checking emails and social media (two hours a day!). So I cut this habit out and now get my work done in four to five focused hours daily instead of a more unfocused six or seven hours.
Connecting Asana with Toggl organizes my projects and billable hours. I no longer lose track of my projects, and it's easy to track billable hours with accuracy.
With less than an hour invested upfront, you'll have a Zap—an automated workflow created with Zapier—to time track your projects with ease.
Why track your Asana projects with Toggl?
If client work is a big part of your business, then I highly recommend using this Zap because it tracks billable hours. If you work hourly, then you definitely need to know your billable hours. It's also helpful to know how many hours you spend with clients in order to address questions like:
Should I increase or decrease my client work?
Am I burning out?
What can I do to finish this work more efficiently?
Time tracking also shows how you spend your day.
When you work without a timer, it's easy to jump from one task to another.(Answer this honestly, how many times do you check your email daily?) I used to check my emails or respond to a LinkedIn message in between client work. But once I started using this Zap, my focus changed.
When I know I'm being timed, I want to finish my task as efficiently as possible. Now, I always finish my to-do list with extra time at the end of the day.
To get started, you'll need accounts with Asana, Toggl, and Zapier to set up and use the workflow in this piece.
Note: You'll need a paid account with Toggl and Zapier to use this Zap. If you have a paid Toggl account but don't yet use Zapier, you can sign up for free and access the paid features during your two-week trial.
How it works
If you use a time tracker, then you are probably creating a project and starting the timer every time you want to work. The process usually goes like this:
You create a project with a management tool (like Asana).
You head to your time tracking tool and create the same project. This way, you remember what you're timing.
You start the timer.
See how this process makes you create the same project twice? This is unproductive, so instead, we'll connect Asana to Toggl Track with a multi-step Zap so you only need to create the project once.
Here's how the multi-step Zap works:
You create a new project in Asana
Zapier automatically creates the same new project in Toggl
Zapier automatically starts a timer in Toggl's time tracker
You start working right away
You'll no longer have to set up your project management and time tracker. All you have to do is start a project in Asana, and you're good to go! You will still need to manually stop your timer—which is easy to do if you're using any of Toggl's desktop or browser-integrated timers.
Set up your accounts
Before you get started, you'll need to set up your accounts in Asana and Toggl so that you can test your Zap and be sure it's working properly.
Note: You can create an Asana account for free, but you'll need the Toggl Starter plan to use this Zap.
When your accounts are set up, head to Asana and hit the + icon at the top right. Then, click Project.
You'll use this project to test your Zap during this tutorial.
So now you have:
An Asana account and new project
A paid Toggl account
A paid Zapier account (or to be in your two-week trial)
Let's set up your Zap!
Set up your Asana trigger in Zapier
On your Zapier dashboard, head to Make a Zap.
On the next page, search for Asana in the search bar.
From here, you will choose New Project under Trigger Event.
Click Continue and connect your Asana account under Choose Account.
If you haven't yet connected your Asana account with Zapier, you will be prompted to do so. Learn more about app connections.
For each app you connect, Zapier will ask for a general set of permissions which allows you to be flexible with your Zaps. The only actions Zapier takes on your app accounts are those a given Zap needs to accomplish what you've set up.
Once you connect your Asana account, click Continue and choose to your Asana workspace. Then choose Continue again.
Now you can test your trigger. This makes sure that Zapier is connected to your Asana projects. Click on Test Trigger to get started.
Assuming your test goes well, you'll see a page like below.
Don't worry, you don't need to use all of this information. You only need to know the project Zapier connected with, which you can find next to name. (It's the field with the orange rectangle in the above screenshot.)
You'll use your project name to test the Zap later, so don't forget it. Now that Asana is connected, hit Continue and connect your Toggl account.
Action step: Create project in Toggl
Adding your Toggl account to this Zap is similar to how you connected Asana. This time, search for Toggl in the search bar.
Under Action Event, look for Create Project. Now, every time you create a new project in Asana, Zapier will create a project with the same name in Toggl.
If you haven't ever connected Toggl with Zapier before, you'll need to start there. Toggl uses an API token for this connection. You'll see a pop-up like this:
To find the API Key, go to your Toggl profile page and scroll to the bottom, to the API Token area. Click in the box that says Click to reveal, then copy that token.
Head back to Zapier and paste that token in the box asking for the API key, then click Yes, continue.
Now select your Toggl account from the drop-down, then continue to set up your action. Choose your workspace from the drop-down.
All good? Now click Continue and connect your Toggl account.
As soon as your Toggl account connects, choose Continue again.
Under Workspace, choose the Toggl workspace you use. When you're done, skip Client and head to Name. Under Name, choose 1. Name (your project name). The Asana logo and "1" means Zapier is finding this information from the first step of your Zap, which relies on Asana.
Remember when I told you to take note of the Asana project Zapier connected to? This is where it comes in handy: Your project name should be the same as it was when you tested your trigger step.
You can skip Template and go to Is Project Private? From here, you can decide whether your project is private (True) or public (False). As a freelancer, my projects are almost always private.
And you can also decide if your project is Billable. I recommend choosing True if you track client work.
Once you've filled out the action form, hit Continue to test your Zap. Testing your Zap makes sure everything is working properly. You can choose Test & Continue or Test & Review.
How did it go? Hopefully, your test was successful. If not, then head to Zapier's troubleshooting guide for support.
Did you know that you can double-check your test on Toggl? All you have to do is check your projects in your Toggl dashboard. You should see a new project that matches what you see in Zapier.
As you can see above, my Asana project, Client work, is now connected to Toggl. Now we can head to the next Zap!
Action step: Start a timer in Toggl
This next Zap will trigger Toggl to start a timer as soon as you create a new project in Asana.
To create the second action step, click on the (+) icon at the bottom of the page.
These next few steps might feel like déjà vu, as they are similar to what we did setting up Asana. Go ahead and search for Toggl in the search bar.
Under Action Event, choose Start Time Entry. Adding this as a second step means Zapier will create a new project in Toggl AND start the timer as soon as you create an Asana project.
When you're done, click Continue and choose your Toggl Account. Then, choose Continue again.
Choose the appropriate Toggl workspace. This should be the same workspace you chose in the second step.
Under Project, click in the box that says "Choose value…" and then click Custom. A list of options will appear, showing the Asana logo and then field names in bold. You want to choose 2. Data Name. That name should be the same as the one you saw in your first Toggl action step test. This will ensure Zapier starts the timer under the newly created project each time your Zap runs.
You won't need Task or Stop in this Zap, so go straight to Billable. If you work with clients, then hit True.
And last is the Description. When you start a timer in Toggl, it'll use a description to remind you what you're working on. To make it easy, we'll use your project name in the description.
To do this, click on Create Project in Toggl and then 2. Data Name (Project Name).
When you're done, click Continue.
Now it's time for the final test. If all goes well, Toggl will create a project and start a timer when you create a new Asana project.
Choose Test & Review or Test & Continue to check if your Zap works properly.
And the results? Success! You are officially time tracking an Asana project.
Now you can activate your Zap by clicking Turn on Zap.
If you want to see your Zap in action, head to your Toggl dashboard. At the top-right of the dashboard, you should see your timer on and running. This means Toggl is tracking your Asana project.
You'll also see your project description at the top left-hand corner, and your project in green at the right-hand side.
There's always a chance that your test isn't running properly. If this happens to you then feel free to contact the support team.
And that's it! Every time you create a new Asana project, Toggl will create the same project and time it. It's that simple.
What projects will you start tracking today?
This was a guest post contributed by Jessica Pereira, a digital marketing and SaaS writer. See her freelance writing journey to $10k a month at Freelance to Fortune. Want to see your work on the Zapier blog? Check out our guidelines and get in touch.