One major thing Notion lacks is time tracking. If you're a freelancer, tracking how long you spend on each task can be important for billing and future task estimation. In this tutorial, I’ll show you how you can track your tasks manually using your current task manager database. I’ll also list some 3rd-party tools you can use to make time tracking and reporting easier.
How to Track Time
There are so many ways of doing this and all of them take a little manual work. I’ll show you 2 ways to track your time in Notion. The first is the manual, totally Notion-native way. The second will be using a 3rd-party tool called Toggl.
The Native Way
Let’s put Notion’s databases to good use. We’re going to create a template that you can use on all of your tasks.
I’m going to assume you already have a task manager inside Notion.
Create new template
Start by creating a new template inside your task database. For my tasks, I always like to have a description of the task, an area to jot down some to-dos, and a place to write all my notes as I go through the task. The extra heading we’ll add is for the time tracker.
Build the time tracker database
For the time tracker, we’re going to add a simple database to the template with the following properties:
- Description (Title)
- Time Tracked (Date)
- Minutes (Formula)
The Description can be any name you want to give to the piece of work you’re currently doing.
To make the Time Tracked property work, we want to use a start date, an end date, and include the time. For example, you started the work at 14:25 and you finished it at 15:15.
Finally, we want to add a formula property called Minutes. This will calculate the minutes for us from when we started the work to when we finished it. The formula will be:
dateBetween(end(prop("Time Tracked")), start(prop("Time Tracked")), "minutes")
Here’s an example of the database filled out with a few pieces of content. You can see the formula at the end automatically calculating the minutes.
Because this is a template, you want to keep your database blank for now. The only other bit we need to add on is the SUM calculation at the bottom of the formula property. This will give us the total minutes spent working on the task. Here’s an example of the time tracker database filled out.
Add time to your task
Now you have your total time spent on the task, we can add a new number property to our task database called Time Spent. This is where we’ll enter the the sum calculation from our time tracker database.
And there you have it, a fairly simple, manual way to track your time in Notion. Next, we’ll look at how to use Toggl with Notion.
Tracking Time with Clockify
Clockify is a powerful time tracking tool that lets you track your time across multiple apps and gives you the ability to create reports. It integrates with a huge array of tools such as Asana, Evernote, Google Calendar, Jira... and Notion of course.
The first thing we need to do is sign up to Clockify. Head to https://clockify.me and sign up there. You can get most of the features on their free plan so we won’t need to spend any more money for simple time tracking.
Install the Browser Extension
To make Clockify work with Notion, we need to install the Chrome extension, Firefox extension, or Edge extension. You could download the desktop app instead but it wouldn’t be linked to your Notion tasks.
There’s no need to enable the Notion integration like you would need to with Toggl, just login to the extension in your browser and the Start timer button will appear on your Notion pages.
Using The Timer
The Clockify button will now appear on your Notion pages as a timer that can be started and stopped. You’ll be able to add tags and project names if you wish. The key thing here is that your timer automatically gets the name of your Notion task and adds it as the title. This takes some manual work out of time tracking.
Reporting and Stats
Now you’ve tracked your time across multiple tasks, it’s time to look at your report. Head over to https://clockify.me/reports/summary and choose if you want a summary, detailed, or weekly report.
The great thing is, you can save any of these reports as public links and then embed them back into your Notion pages. Just click the share button on the report. This would work great if you’re using Notion as your client portal and need to keep the client updated with the amount of hours you’ll be charging them for.
Here’s an interactive chart from Clockify.
I hope this gives you a good idea of what’s possible with Notion and expands the task management capabilities of it a bit more for you. There are lots of ways of tracking your time. Let me know how you do it. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or find me on Twitter @notiondad