Clocking & Tasking

A common mistake people make when working, specially when we are talking about remote work, is not defining clearly what constitutes the end of the day. This often leads to either, over working or a sensation that you have not acomplished enough.

The truth about the End of Work

If there is one thruth you must understand about work is that

work is never done

There will always be something you can clean up, improve on, refactor, change, test or whatever else. Unless you clearly define what you consider to be the end of a working day, you'll never feel like you've acomplished enough, leading to overwork, stress, anxiety and a whole slew of feelings you do not want.

So what are Clocking and Tasking?

Before we go on and explain how Clocking and Tasking will make your day better, let's explain what I mean by them.


Clocking is a simple concept, made specially easy today with online tracking systems such as Harvest or It basically constitutes that you track the time you spend working. Before you start to work on something, start the timer. When you are finished, stop the timer. This habit will help you keep track of how much you work. (you get other great benefits like knowing how long you usually take to do something, but that is subject for another post).


Tasking can be used alone or, preferably, together with clocking. The basic concept of tasking is to break down your activities into small "digestable" activities. Tasking is the very base of pretty much any methodology you'll come across, though they might take other forms, they essentially are a checklist or a bullet list of things you need to do.

Putting it together

Now that we know what they are, how do they make it easier for you to feel acomplished? Firstly, it's important that you respect you life-work balance. It does not matter if you are a single person business or an employee in a multinational enterprise.

You need rest and a personal life.

I am not going to say you need to work 8h or 16h a day. This will vary from person to person, from job to job. The important thing is to determine how much you are going to dedicate to work, personal activities and resting.

Clocking and Tasking to the rescue

Plan your day. Organize your tasks in terms of priority. Have a rough estimate of the time each task should take so that you don't plan ten 2h tasks for a single day. Start your timer, pick a task and go for it. Conclude your task and stop your timer. Ask yourself: "Have I worked my X hours already?" If the answer is yes, then, check you tasks, organize them in some manner that you'll be able to start your next work day in an orderly fashion, and call it a day. If the answer is no, look at the tasks at hand. Will you have the necessary time to undertake another task? If so, repeat the process. If not, take advantage to look at your tasks and organize them. Start the timer, and ask yourself:

  • are they bite-sized enough? Can you break down the task into simpler and quicker tasks?
  • are your estimates over cautios or are you under-estimating the effort?
  • are the tasks prioritized correctly? Did anything change?
  • is there anything blocking me from doing my tasks (like dependency on some third party, lack of information, etc)

When you have done organizing your tasks, stop the timer and if you are close to the end of the day, just stop working.

Over time

This is not a silver bullet, yet, over time, you'll realize that you start getting into the habit of organizing tasks and tracking time. Your time estimates will slowly become more accurate and you'll be able to know better how much you can acomplish each day. Eventually, you'll see that your days have a beginning and an end. You'll finish the days with a better sense of acomplishment. Your productivity will increase and you'll be less prone to over working.