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Boost App - all tools and techniques for time tracking & time management you need

longhan

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We have quite a lot of time management tools and techniques as Activity Log, Prioritized To Do List, Effective Scheduling, Pomodoro Technique, Goal Setting, Interruption Managing, Urgent/ Important Matrix… Understand what it is and how to apply that tools and techniques is only one part of the improvement progress. More important is you have to combine that tools and use the tools in daily basis, and more and more important is you have to do it consistently.
The purpose of this article explains and guides people whom would like to improve their productivity and commit to implement consistency. There something I need you be aware before start implement this guide.
First, having clearly goals about what do you want to archive in time management. Example, you are a businessman with a busy professional life. You would like to balance your life, spent more time with your parents or family, more productivity in working time. You are a salesman, you need to spend more time for your customer, keep minimize your travel time, etc. Keep in mind that, you have to spend more time on valuable things, not on things you are likely to do more



Secondly, you have to understand that boost up your productivity is a continuous progress. You will repeat the above cycle by daily, weekly, or monthly. Therefore, consistency is the key to get result.
Third, having an overview about all tools and techniques, and understand how to combine those tools to manage your life will let you implement that more easy and straightway. The key ideas that need to memorize here are. The benefit of each idea can find easy on many blog as lifehacker.org, etc.
#1 Keep focus: do one thing at a time, avoid multitask will keep your productivity up.
#2 Allocate your breaks strategically: get short break after 25 minutes work and long break
#3 Strategized to – do list: to do list is not work if you don’t apply some simple techniques
#4 Effective scheduling: review, evaluate, and adjust schedules.
We had developed Boost with all of that ideas and improvement process. It is now available in iOS. You an easy find here, thereafter follow our guide.





GOAL SETTING

Time management goals are what you need to define in this stage. You have your own goals and everyone have their own goals. To start, write down every activity you do in daily, weekly and monthly. Then arrange all of activities in category if it has a common characteristic that you want to evaluate. Example, if you are a student. You might want to balance your time between those your subjects and the time you spend for relax, sleeping, get together with friend, or time you spend for your parents. In relax category, you might have some activities as: movie and music, web surfing, etc. In each subject as CS101 – Programing Language, you might have some activities as: on class, homework, reading, meeting… In my case, I have some categories as
- Business: all activity related to my job
- Study: time I spend for books reading, do my homework, search and do my research topic, and time I attend the lectures on class in my MBA program.
- Family: I want to balance my life, spend more time to my family as how often I cook, do hold house job…
Boost is very convenient for you to do this. Go to Setting tab, you can find Categories Manager, create all categories you have, set each with unique color as Fig 2. The color will help you visualize and understand your time more easy later in Review stage.

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Fig 2: You can manage all of your Time Categories and Activities in



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http://theboostapp.com


Fig 3: Create all category and set an unique color for it



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http://theboostapp.com


Fig 4: Activities is grouped by Categories





You don’t have to worry if you can not remember of activities now. Whenever you do some thing, search for the activity or category inTrack Tab. If you don’t find it, just add it right away.




IMPLEMENTING

Now you are ready to implement that in daily basis. Because everyone has the own situation, the ideas here is using Activity Log techniques to help you understand how you spent your time. That is first step to take insight in to how productivity you are. Boost also a tools that help you managing interruptions, the most second thing that reduce your efficiency, beside multitasking. That is the reason we recommend you focus on a thing at time, avoid multitasking and interruptions as much as possible.

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Fig 5: Start record thing you are doing by tap big Start button




With Boost, activity tracking is very simple and convenient, when you do a thing, tap a big Start button to get into activity tracking screen.

Boost has a Tasks list, sync with default To – do list system app of iOS – Reminders. So you can switch to Tasks tab to see things you have to get it done.

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Fig 6: You tasks list is sync with Reminder default app




You have to tell Boost what activity you are spending on. This is take a few seconds as you can switch between two table lists Favorites, which are the one you do more often and can mark on Setting tab, andAll Activities, or using Quick Search to navigate to the activity you want to set for that thing. Don’t find the activity your database, just tapAdd button on the left and pick category for it. So simple, right!

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Fig 7: Pick an activity for thing you are doing now




Ok, before we told you about To do list with strategy. With some simple technique bellow, you will manage you to do list more efficient.


1. Categorize your to do list: Studies have shown that your brain gets overwhelmed when it sees a list of 7 or 8 options; it wants to shut down. For this reason, you need to work from different lists. Separate them into different categories and don’t have more then 7 or 8 tasks on each one.

We recommend you setup category in your Reminder app the same categories you have setup in our Boost App. At the moment, you can not create category directly in Boost, but we are working hard on this feature now.





2. Add estimations: You don’t merely need to know what has to be done, but how long it will take as well in order to plan effectively. You need to know the moment you look at the task, otherwise you undermine your planning

In Boost, turn on the process bar and timer by tap Alarm button, then set estimation time for this activity by tap two button on left – Increase+5 Minutes and right side – Decrease –5 Minutes. The progress bar will tell you visualize how long you had gone so far compare with the estimation time you had set.
Boost also notice you with a notification when the time up. We are also working on the another feature will help you get notice to get a short break between 25 minutes. That help you more productive when working on a long time activity.

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Fig 8: Turn on the Alarm button to set estimation time and get notice when time up




Tip: If you find it a challenge to estimate accurately, then start by building this skill on a daily basis. Estimate how long it will take to get ready, cook dinner, go for a walk, etc., and then compare this to the actual time it took you. You will start to get more accurate in your estimations.

3. Prioritize: To effectively select what you should work on, you need to take into consideration: priority, sequence and estimated time. A task, will be belong to one of follow category base on two criteria: important and urgent
  • Important and urgent
  • Not urgent but important
  • Not important but urgent
  • Not important or urgent
You want to work on tasks that are urgent and important of course, but also, select some tasks that are important and not urgent. Because these tasks are normally related to long-term goals. Most of your time should be spent on the first two categories.
You can add a new task directly in Boost with its priority, and also it Reminder app as usual.
Base on three simple technique, you will choose tasks that’s valuable to you and get in done more productive.
Interruption is the one of most source that reduce your focus and productivity. That is why you have to track the interruption also. To track Interruption, tap on Interruption button at left-top corner, then select a activity for the interruption.





Fig 9: Interruption tracking screen




Normally, an interruption will come together with new tasks you have to do. In that case, tap on Create a Task button at left-top corner and enter the task name for it. Later, you can see that task in Tasks tab or in Reminders app.

Of course, you you can Delete that record if that is a mistake, or when the Interruption get over, tap Return button to back to current activity.
Its good you accomplish a task without any interruption, in that case, tap Stop button to tell Boost you had done that activity and get into the next task.
The more you track your time, the more you will understand better what, when, and how your time gone, and how productive you are. Get insight about your time is a good tools to minimize things you have to memorize and also a lot of fun.
Therefore, keep track all of activity you done is not take much time and efforts. Almost of things, Boost already help you to do it with some simple tapping.
One issues on implementation is you might forgot to track you things you doing on start of day. Don’t worry, you can get notice to track your activity at a time, every day. Set an daily Alarm to remind you set
And one more time we would like to emphasize on the consistency of that process. So, please don’t give up as changing your working habit is not easy, for everyone!

REVIEW AND EVALUATATION

We recommend you need to track your activities at least a week. Because, normally the working period and schedules is repeat by week to get a meaningful insight about your time. But that depend on your job’s characteristics.

There are a few question you need to answer when do a reviewing about your time and performance. Boost has two tabs namedStatistics and History to visualize about

1. What and how did my time spend on?

In Statistics tab, select the time period you want to analysis likeDaily, Weekly, or Monthly, or event you can select Range with specific day.
What you did in this period will be listed on the legend table in left. The pie-chart will present how many percent of your time has been spent on each category with color you had been set before. On my case. on the week between May 19 – 25, there are to three main categories I spent almost of time are: App project, Business, and Sleep. And I really that I had spent too little time for my family – 4%.
If you would like to take a deep insight on each category, tap the category in legend list or its piece on pie-chart. The right table will show you all activities with time in detail.





2. How often do I be interrupted?

There are have a index that we call Interruption ratio, is calculated by number of activity records be interrupted divide by total of activity records. That index relates to your focusing on doing one thing at a time. Therefore, be aware if that index is high or are increasing day by day. This signal mean your productivity is going down.

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3. Do the things I spent on are valuable and/ or related to my goals?

Now also is time for you to evaluate your time to the goals you had been set before. Take a detail in each category had with high percentage, also do that with categories that relates to your goals or valuable with your jobs.

Example, in above chart. All of activities in Business is one of my goals to increase my time spent on my job, but it seen I take a lot of time on travel – 3h32m compare with my time spent on customer is 4h24m and for meeting with customer is just 31m. That is not good due travel time is wasting time, and one of my goals now is reduce that activity.
4. What did I do in that day?

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History is where you can have an overview about what you had done in specific day in order. Each activity record present to you the time frame and how long did you take for it. If a activity is interrupted, you also can see all of interruption records inside the activity record.
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The activity record and interruption record is fully edit table. Reselect the time range or the activity it belong to is fast and easy.
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We recommend you do review your time regularly by weekly and monthly and adjust your goals and make your schedules for next week or next day better.

Changing the way you manage your time is not easy, and need your commitment to do that process in daily basis, consistency.


We are strongly believe that by using Boost along the way you doing in daily basic. The benefits will return later, valuable to people want to consistent improve their productivity, balance your life. After all, improve the life quality.

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longhan

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we love to hear your comments. Thank you all
 
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longhan

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We had added a new interesting feature in version 2.0 and it's coming to App Store soon. That is our promise for continuous improvement
 
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longhan

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I just updated the link. Fix some error here.
 

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