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How Toggl Helped Me Change My Old Habits and Develop New Ones

About a year ago I decided to make order in my daily work and routine. It was nearly six months since I had started my studies and research and there was a ton of delayed tasks which I had no idea how to keep up with. But the most annoying and harmful thing was the stress and the realization I might never find time to clear my to-do list.

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So I started looking for solutions and a programmer friend of mine suggested several to-do list and project managing apps and told me I could use Toggl to track project times showing me how he used Toggl to work remotely with his team.

I installed every application but most of them turned out useless for me. The most appealing thing about Toggl for me was the ability to track my sleeping time and after a couple of weeks I realized I estimated my sleeping time completely wrong.

“I thought my average sleeping time was about five hours a day but it was way more, actually it was more than eight hours a day!”

I have the impression that most Toggl users, use it for tracking time in joint work projects and not for tracking personal life habits. During my studies I read Charles Duhigg’s “The power of Habit” and according to this book I’ve had to find my most important habit and made a proper habit loop (Cue, Routine, Reward) for it so that this habit could affect my other habits.

I knew that my most important drive was getting up from sleep before seven o’clock but I always ended up confused in between tasks. I decided to start making order to my sleep. I assigned Toggl’s red button in the mobile app to the cue and I forced myself to start the timer every night at 22:45 and go to bed and get up at 4:40 in the morning (Routine). The reward was a hot cup of coffee that I wouldn’t drink if I hadn’t done my routine.

“Soon using Toggl became a game for me and starting that timer on time was my number 1 priority.”

During last year I never let go of this habit and even when I was sick I was worried about the weekly report from Toggl which I think became my reward instead of the delightful cup of coffee!

Last week I realized that it has been a year since I started using Toggl and since then I have tracked about eight hundred hours of study and several finished or ongoing projects.

There is a quote from Haruki Murakami that says: “I keep to this routine every day without variation. The repetition itself becomes the important thing; it’s a form of mesmerism. I mesmerize myself to reach a deeper state of mind.”

I have an average of sixteen habit loops now and all of them are combined with Toggl. Starting a timer in my mobile app is the only thing that I do, I have scheduled tasks in variant times of day and I only force myself to start the timer. I can’t control external happenings but as Murakami says, I can mesmerize myself.

What daily habits do you track with Toggl? Has it helped you get rid of bad habits or form new routines? Let us know in the comments!

By On August 30, 2016

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  5. I also use Toggl for tracking personal time 24-hours per day, 365. I find it has two benefits: 1) I can see where my time goes, and that’s the first step in taking control of where it goes; and 2) using Toggl reminds me that I should always be doing something, even if it’s ‘drifting’, as long as I’m making the conscious choice to do it; this helps correct my weakness for forgetting what I’m supposed to be doing.