I don’t know when I became such a stickler for time. My fellow lovers of being on time (i.e., early as hell) usually, not not always, come from the military and we bond over stories of being 10-15 minutes early to everything.

I use OneNote for my work documentation because the company I work for has all these Microsoft licenses and it’d be a shame to waste them. And why not, it’s quick and easy and as far as I can tell it’s not eating my CPU/memory.

When I’m going through an engagement, I’ll create a page in my OneNote document called “timeline”. In here I’ll press Alt+Shift+F which I learned drops a neat and tidy timestamp that looks like 8/3/2017 8:22 PM. I’ll throw a note after that with whatever is going on at the time and go back to work. Once a gig is over I’ll have my notes for the work but I’ll also have a tidy timeline of all the interesting twists and turns that answers all manner of questions:

  1. How long did that installation actually take?
  2. How long were you on your break?
  3. What time did you get started with the customer?
  4. What time did you cut out for the day?
  5. How long were you stuck with issue_001?

The other thing I do is use Toggl. If you haven’t experienced this software you are truly missing out. You can use it via their website, using a client on your desktop (for Mac OSX, Windows, or Linux), or on your phone.

When I’m starting a new job I’ll set up a client (optional), a project, and hit start if I’m not sure what I’m doing for them right then. When I hit stop I’ll fill in the particular task and that gives me a solid record of what I did and for what time spans and for which customer. I’ll also track internal things as “Administrative” or “Assisting” without a client so I know when those inevitable switches in context happen.

Finally, and I ran into this issue today, my desktop wasn’t being synced with a time server. This pains me to no end because I rely on my calendar to be right and I start meetings pretty close to the top of the hour. Little did I know that for how long I’m not even sure I’ve been off by 5-7 minutes. Maddening. So this is your reminder to check our your settings if you’re on Windows.

  1. Control Panel
  2. Clock, Language, and Region
  3. Date and Time
  4. Internet Time
  5. Change Settings
  6. Check the box next to “Synchronize with an Internet time server”

I’m using the default “time.windows.com” unless someone has a compelling reason that I should use something different. NIST maybe? Let me know in the comments.

How do you track your time?