The lack of proper categorization can derail even the best commitment to time-tracking, despite all the benefits.

It's worth investing time upfront to determine how you and your team will classify your activities. Long term, you’ll focus less on figuring out where your work belongs and more on accurate tracking.

Data structure

Everyone who tracks time through Toggl Track creates time entries. Each time entry has the following:

  • Start time (required)
  • Duration (required)
  • Stop time
  • Description
  • One or more Tags
  • Billable flag

Time entries are stored in a workspace. You can file the entry under a project, or a task under a project. Each project can be assigned a client. In other words:

  • Time entry as a Paper (with its start time, duration, etc. written on it)
  • Task as a Envelope (that holds papers)
  • Project as a Folder (that holds papers and envelopes)
  • Workspace as a Drawer (that holds folders and papers)

Tags are sticky bookmarks marking specific papers (time entries). This lets you find these papers wherever they are in the drawer.

Clients are labels you stick on folders (projects), so that you can locate folders that are related to each other. To avoid confusion, you can’t apply more than one label to each folder.

Using our data structure

Many Toggl Track users employ our data structure as it was intended.

However, other teams have used categories for their own purposes. For example, a city council used “clients” to represent the different districts they manage.

It’s even possible to use “projects” to represent the clients you work with. This worked well for a team that concentrates on a limited set of services.

Time entry descriptions

Aside from projects, tasks, and clients, time entry descriptions can serve as an additional way of categorizing work.

That’s because the Summary Report can group time entries by the description used, when the second level under “Group by” is set to “Time Entry”.

In the example below, a marketing team used time entry descriptions to see a breakdown of time for different account management activities.

In order for this to work, just make sure that the time entry description is identical across the time entries you want to group.

Using internal codes

If your finance or administration team uses internal codes, consider including these in your naming conventions for projects, clients, and tags. For example, “Acme Inc. (AI489289)”.

Including codes maximizes Toggl Track’s different search tools, and will make it easier for:

  • Staff to locate the right project or task for their tracking
  • Administrators and report reviewers to filter down our reports to a specific kind of activity.

Creating categories in bulk

After settling on the right categories, administrators can use our CSV import tool to create multiple projects — along with their respective tasks, clients, and project assignees — in one go. View the CSV import guide for more details.

Summary

  • Time entries can be filed under a project or a task. Tasks can be filed under larger projects. A project can be assigned a client.
  • You’re not limited to using “projects” for actual projects, “clients” for clients, and so on. Categorize your time entries based on what works for your team’s operations.
  • Since the Summary Report can break down your team’s time by the time entry description used, you can treat time entry descriptions as an additional category.
  • Use internal codes when naming your projects, clients, and even tags.

Feel free to contact support@track.toggl.com if you have any questions. You can also share a general overview of your team’s operations with us, so that our support team can provide recommendations on how best to categorize your time.

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