In a timely fashion: 5 ways to automate time tracking

Krystina Martinez
Krystina Martinez / Published October 9, 2020

Timesheets are not a relic of the past. If you regularly bill clients for time, you know how important it is to keep an accurate record. Even if you don't have to submit timesheets for your job, sometimes tracking time spent on certain tasks can make a compelling case to change a process or priority.

There's a number of time-tracking apps out there to help you get the job done. But when you add another app on top of what you're already using for work, it's really easy to forget to hit that start timer.

Zapier can help. We automate tedious tasks between web apps through our automatic workflows, which we call Zaps. They send information from one app to another, so you don't have to worry about juggling a timer on top of a client project, and can instead focus on delivering good work.

We've gathered a few Zap templates—what we call our pre-made workflows—to help you automate your time-tracking efforts. To get started with a template, just click on it and we'll guide you through customizing it. It only takes a few minutes. You can read more about setting up Zaps here.

Time track meetings

For better or worse, meetings are part of professional life. They can also either last way too long, or if you're lucky, get cut short. If you need to track time spent in meetings for billing purposes, you want a more accurate account than what's blocked in your calendar.

You can use a workflow to automatically start the timer whenever a calendar event starts.

Use your time wisely

We all have those moments where it's hard to stay focused on work. When your time is other people's money, it can be difficult to push through and get the job done. The Pomodoro Technique is a productivity system that helps you take the right number of breaks to complete a task, and there are many apps out there to help you stay focused.

If you're in "can't focus" land but don't want to juggle two timers, use a Zap to connect a Pomodoro timer with your favorite time-tracking app. Zapier will handle one of the timers for you.

Track time spent on projects and tasks

If you're a freelancer or work in a field where you need to keep billable hours, time-tracking is a crucial part of the business. There's no shortage of time-tracking apps out there, each with their own method of organizing time per project. You may prefer to use a separate app to manage projects and tasks. Automate your tasks, projects, and time-tracking with these Zaps.

Automatically create a spreadsheet log

Whether you're creating estimates or just want to see your activity in a spreadsheet format, most time-tracking apps will allow you to select and export data to a CSV file. If you're looking for real-time spreadsheet updates, these workflows will automatically add your time to a new spreadsheet row whenever you start or finish a timer.

Share activity with your team

You may be responsible for reporting your time to a manager, or you need to communicate your activity to your team. With these Zaps, you can update your status in Slack, send an email digest of your time logs, or notify a chat channel of your activity automatically.

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