It’s easy to lose track of time—and lost time means missed deadlines, scope creep, and overwork. A work log template helps you track how you spend your time each day, so you can pinpoint where you're losing time and find ways to improve.Create your template
We’ve all been there: staring at the clock at the end of our workday, wondering where the time went and what we accomplished. Between meetings, ad hoc requests, and busywork, it’s easy to lose track of time. Understanding where your time is spent—wisely or not—is the first step to creating a productive workflow.
Say hello to work log templates.
Losing track of time is a problem—it leads to missed deadlines and overwork. And if you don’t know what’s causing your lost time, it can be pretty hard to find a solution. That’s where work logs come in.
A work log is a record of all your completed tasks, including how long you took to complete them. Work logs are arranged chronologically by time block, allowing you to quickly visualize the amount of time spent on your to-dos, from meetings to focus time. By giving you visibility into where your time is going, work logs help you take back your day so you can work effectively.
A work log template (also known as a time log template) is a templatized way to track how you’re spending your work hours. You can pre-build work log templates with custom tags that describe your work, like if a task is billable or non-billable, the task priority, the task status, and more.
Best of all, work log templates are duplicatable, meaning once you’ve built your first template, you can use it over and over. Simply log in and get to work.
Sure, you could keep track of your time with a worksheet, printable timesheet, or an excel sheet. It’s old-school, but it’s not effective. Printable time logs are limited to a pre-created format and often don’t account for how you work. Excel templates are a little more functional, but they lack flexibility and are less customizable. Plus, do you really need another Excel spreadsheet in your life?
Digital work logs, in contrast, are customizable, dynamic, and duplicatable. They give you at-a-glance visibility into how you’re spending your time with handy features like custom time-blocks and color-coded priority status fields. Don’t lose more time by choosing a work log that works against you. Using a digital work log in a project management tool allows you to:
Keep track of how you're spending your time each day
Identify areas where you’re losing time—and find ways to improve
Reduce work about work
Kickstart your productivity and efficiency
Weed out time wasters and low-value tasks
Pinpoint areas where you’re spending too much time
Bill your hours accurately
Increase project efficiency
Refine your workflows
Now that you know what a digital work log template is and why you should use one, let’s dig into how you can set up your work log template to maximize productivity.
First, create a section with everything you plan to get done that day, such as upcoming meetings, small tasks to knock out, and big to-dos you have to get done. To better prioritize your work, add tags for priority, billing type, status, and effort.
The “completed tasks” section is where you’ll keep track of your to-dos as you work on and complete them. It’ll start as a blank section and fill up throughout the day. Include time blocks, the time slots during which you complete tasks and accomplish work, in this section. We recommend breaking your day into one-hour or half-hour blocks and adjusting as you go.
As you complete the tasks in your daily to-dos section, log the task, including how long it took, in the completed tasks section of your work log. For example, if you start your day checking emails from 8am–9am, log “reviewed emails” in your completed tasks section in the 8am–9am time block. Don’t worry if your time spent doesn’t exactly match the time blocks you set up—simply adjust as you work.
Don’t forget to log activities that aren’t part of your daily work tasks, such as lunch, long coffee breaks, or personal appointments. There’s nothing wrong with decompressing after a long stretch of focus time, and logging these breaks will give you a more accurate idea of how you’re spending your day.
Before you sign off for the day, look at what you’ve completed and what—if anything—has fallen behind schedule. If you have incomplete tasks in your daily to-dos section, jot down why you may not have had time to get to them. Did you have unexpected tasks or meetings pop up? Did an assignment take longer than you thought it would (and if so, what caused the time difference)? When or why did you feel blocked? The answers to these questions will help paint a clearer picture when it comes time to review your work log.
Finally, set a cadence to review your completed work logs, like at the end of each week or month. Look for patterns and time-sucks. For example, are you wasting time in long meetings? Do you spend hours each day checking and responding to emails? Do you procrastinate on certain tasks? Use your findings to brainstorm ways to improve, such as:
Eliminating or automating unimportant tasks
Delegating time wasters
Using time management techniques to focus on—and accomplish—your most important work
There’s more to time logging than simply keeping track of how long your tasks took. A work log template can help you understand where and why your time is being lost and give you insights into how you can better manage your work. To create an effective work log template, add custom fields that give context into your work and provide an at-a-glance overview of how you’re spending your time, including:
Your activities and daily tasks
Task billing type
Time each task took
Workload. Workload gives you a visual snapshot of team capacity by making it easy to see what your team members are working on across projects—all in one place. With this at-a-glance information, you can pinpoint conflicts, address risks, and keep projects on track by reassigning or rescheduling tasks. Check Workload regularly to make sure team members aren’t overwhelmed or underworked. If they are, you can easily reassign or reschedule low-priority tasks to unblock high-priority initiatives.
Dashboards. Dashboards are project-level tabs containing graphs and visualizations that let you zoom out from the day to day to quickly understand your project’s progress. Customize Dashboard charts so you can instantly identify potential blockers in your team’s work and subsequently move the project forward. Use the Dashboard tab as a reference point to find data to get a quick pulse on how the project is progressing.
Custom fields. Custom fields are the best way to tag, sort, and filter work. Create unique custom fields for any information you need to track—from priority and status to email or phone number. Use custom fields to sort and schedule your to-dos so you know what to work on first. Plus, share custom fields across tasks and projects to ensure consistency across your organization.
List View. List View is a grid-style view that makes it easy to see all of your project’s information at a glance. Like a to-do list or a spreadsheet, List View displays all of your tasks at once so you can not only see task titles and due dates, but also view any relevant custom fields like Priority, Status, or more. Unlock effortless collaboration by giving your entire team visibility into who’s doing what by when.
Clockwise. With the Clockwise + Asana integration, you can add Asana tasks as time blocks in your Google Calendar. The Clockwise + Asana integration allows you to specify the duration of tasks, when they happen, and whether Clockwise can automatically reschedule them. Add tasks to your calendar and make time to get work done.
Google Workplace. Attach files directly to tasks in Asana with the Google Workplace file chooser, which is built into the Asana task pane. Easily attach any My Drive file with just a few clicks.
Dropbox. Attach files directly to tasks in Asana with the Dropbox file chooser, which is built into the Asana task pane.
Box. Attach files directly to tasks in Asana with the Box file picker, which is built into the Asana task pane.
If you’ve ever logged off after a full day of work and wondered where all your time went, digital work logs are for you. By giving you a complete, real-time picture of how you spend your time each day, digital work log templates help improve your time management and increase your productivity. Plus, reusable digital work log templates simplify your time tracking process. If you’re a manager, timesheet templates are also a great way to keep track of your employee’s time, making it easy to see how to improve workflows.
While work log templates are particularly useful for roles that require time tracking, like client-facing roles with billable and non-billable hours, they’re also a great tool even if you don’t need to keep track of how you spend your working time. No matter what your role is, it can be hard to remember exactly how you spent the last few hours (never mind the last few days). Since work log templates help you track where your time is actually going (not where you think your time is going), they give you a clear view of how you're spending your time—and where you're losing it.
It’s easy to lose track of time at work. Between shifting priorities, last-minute assignments, and impromptu meetings, what we plan to do in a day and what actually gets done are often very different. Accurate time tracking paints a clear picture of how you spend your workday, so you can identify what tasks to delegate, eliminate, or streamline. Time tracking also helps you create better time estimates so you can accurately scope upcoming projects.
Creating a work log template is easy. To start, create two sections: a daily to-dos section and a completed tasks section. Then, add custom fields that will help you track how long each task took and add context to your tasks, such as time blocks, task billing type, and task priority. Once you’ve created your template, you can duplicate it for easy, continuous tracking.
Add the tasks you plan to get done today to your daily to-dos section and move them into the completed tasks section as you work on or accomplish them. As you move them into the completed section, fill in the start time and end time for each task, and note how much time you spent. As you go, keep notes on why tasks took longer than expected or where you ran into roadblocks.
To analyze your time, start by setting aside time to review your work log at the end of each week. Sort your tasks by time spent to see what tasks took the longest and see if you notice any patterns. Are certain types of tasks taking the longest? Do you spend too much time preparing a meeting agenda and sending follow-up emails? Once you have a better idea of how you're spending your time, you can use time management strategies to better prioritize your tasks and manage your time.
Learn how to create a customizable template in Asana with a free Premium trial today.