How to best track time in Trello
Last updated on: March 3, 2022
If you have ever been in charge of managing a project, you have probably heard of Trello.
It’s also very likely that you already know how simple it is to organize tasks, collaborate with your team members and keep track of your project progress in Trello.
But, you may not have heard of the possibility of time tracking in Trello, since there is no native Trello time tracker app.
However, it’s both possible to tell how much time you spend on Trello tasks and generate reports based on this data by using the Clockify browser extension.
All you need to do is buckle your seatbelt and sit tight because this blog post will guide you through the whole process — from using Trello and Clockify browser extension separately, to streamlining your productivity levels by using Clockify to track time in Trello.
How does Trello work?
Trello is a fairly simple project management tool. Its system consists of three different elements:
- Boards — they give you the option to see all your tasks in one place and collaborate with your team members.
- Lists — they keep your tasks organized and make it easy to prioritize.
- Cards — they represent your tasks.
Apart from giving you the option to attach different files to your cards, invite your team members to your board, and stay on track of all the approaching deadlines, Trello also allows you to manage your cards in two different ways. You can choose to:
- Create an interactive Kanban board, or
- Organize your tasks per type
If you prefer to always stay on top of the progress of your projects, you can create a Kanban board.
This approach involves a lot of card movement.
But first, you’ll need to create several different lists for all your cards — such as “Ideas”, “To Do”, “Doing”, and “Done”.
Then, as your task progresses through different stages, you can move the card to a list that describes its stage (Ideas → To Do → Doing → Done).
In case you’d like to organize your tasks according to their type, you can choose a more static approach.
This organization method involves categorizing your lists and naming them in line with the type of the task — such as Front-end development, Back-end development, Content, etc.
If you decide to go for this approach, you will still be able to move your cards across the board — but, you can also keep them in one place, regardless of their stage of development.
How does the Clockify Browser Extension work?
Clockify Browser extensions are simple to use and set up, and perhaps even more importantly, they are 100% free (just like the other Clockify apps).
What can you do with the Clockify browser extension?
As soon as you download your Clockify browser extension, you’ll be able to:
- Easily start and end time tracking for your activities.
- Continue tracking time on time entries whenever you need to.
- Sync your Clockify projects with the Trello board.
- Add the project, tags and tasks by clicking on the running entry.
- Determine the billability status for all your entries.
- Export reports based on your entries.
How to set up the Clockify Browser Extension?
Before you start tracking time with the extension, first make sure that you’ve set up all your necessary tasks, tags, projects and clients, in your Clockify web version — this way, they’ll become available to you in the browser version.
Then, after you’ve set everything up, you’re ready to download the Clockify browser extension.
If Chrome is your preferred browser, you can get Clockify from the Chrome web store.
Then, simply click on the “Add to Chrome” button, and you’ll be completely equipped to begin tracking your time right from your browser.
💡 Clockify Pro Tip
If you are new to time tracking and Clockify time tracker, we suggest you take a few minutes to watch our video tutorials and learn just how easy it is to use our tool:
How to track time with Clockify in Trello
If you’ve been using Trello and Clockify separately, you have probably already noticed a significant boost in productivity.
However, pairing these two apps allows you to make use of the option of free Trello time tracking without having to set aside additional hours or budget for setting everything up.
💡 Clockify Pro Tip
Leveling up your productivity levels is never a bad idea, so we’ve compiled a handy list of tools you can introduce to your workflow:
Since both Trello and Clockify are free apps, this combination gives you a completely free project management system, with time tracking and robust reporting.
Let’s go over the step-by-step process of tracking time in Trello with Clockify — so that you can make the most out of all the features that both apps deliver.
How to start tracking time with Clockify in Trello
Tracking your time and tasks in Trello is nothing but plain sailing.
It all starts with you adding the Clockify extension to your web browser — which we’ve already explained in the previous section.
After this step is completed, you’ll get a compact Time Tracker button, so you and your team will be able to track the time you spend on Trello tasks directly from your cards.
You can start Trello time tracking as soon as you click on the “Start Timer” button located within the “Actions” list on your card.
As an alternative to clicking the button to start the timer, you can also select any text in your Trello card and start tracking time from there.
After you select your preferred text (such as the Trello card description, for example) you’ll just need to right-click on the chosen text and click on Start timer with description.
When you start the timer, you’ll see that the Clockify extension icon in your browser bar has changed from gray to blue — that’s how you’ll know for sure that every single second of the work you’ve put in counts.
Additional tip: How not to forget to start tracking time in Trello
If you tend to forget to start your timer, there’s a solution to that too. You can set a reminder to track time and receive a notification from the Clockify browser extension to start your timer.
In case you would like to automate your tracking process completely, you can check the “Start automatically when browser starts” option in the Settings menu of your Clockify browser extension.
This way, the timer will instantly start tracking your time as soon as you open your preferred browser.
However, make sure to shut down your browser as soon as you’re done for the day — because the timer will continue tracking your time unless stopped.
The extension is connected with your other Clockify apps, so all the data is synced together.
As soon as you enter time in the browser extension, the same information is also displayed in your other Clockify apps.
This means that you can stop the timer from running from any of your preferred Clockify apps (the web version, mobile, desktop versions, and of course, the browser extension itself).
How to track subtasks in a Trello card
Sometimes, even before you decide to track your time, there’s more than one task to tackle in your Trello card.
When this happens, you can select the text within the card that describes the activity you are performing (your subtask), right-click on it, and start the timer from there.
Where to find the time tracked in Trello
Whenever you start the timer, it automatically begins ticking in your web extension, and you can stop it as soon as you’re finished with an activity.
While you’re tracking your time in the browser extension, the timer is automatically keeping track of your tasks in your other Clockify apps, including the web version.
So, if you’re wondering where to find all the hours you’ve tracked, you can refer to any of the Clockify apps you use — your time entries will be there.
If the project you’re tracking has a client associated with it, the client’s name will automatically appear in the web version of the time entry.
How to add time manually in Trello
In case you repeatedly forget to start tracking your time — and setting the app to automatically track your time as soon as you open your browser does not solve the issue — there’s one additional step that can help.
You can manually add the time you’ve worked on a particular Trello card, and it will instantly appear in your Clockify browser extension too.
How to check the amount of time tracked in Trello
Once you and your team decide that you’re ready to wrap up the task you’ve been working on, you can go to your Clockify web account and check the hours you tracked in Trello.
For this purpose, you’ll need to:
- Pick a report you’d like to see (Summary, Detailed, or Weekly),
- Filter by project that served as your Trello board,
- Filter by your Trello board team members, and
- Select a time period you’d like to look into (a day, a week, a month, etc.).
What you’ll see next is a breakdown of the exact hours you and your team clocked in while working on your chosen project.
Additional tips for tracking time in Trello
Sometimes, staying on top of your tasks goes beyond the quick and easy option of starting your timer — and this is where additional tips on perfecting your time tracking in Trello come in handy.
Tracking time for items in Trello checklists
Adding checklists to a Trello card is perfect for when you want to keep all your to-do lists in check.
Just click the “checklist” button and add your items.
You can organize the items according to their importance or urgency and motivate yourself to start working on the most important items first.
You’ll notice that there is a Clockify button next to each item you add to a Trello card.
As soon as you start working on an item, click the button, and you’ll see the timer immediately start ticking in your Clockify browser extension.
As you finish working on each checklist item in your Trello card, you can put a checkmark next to it, and the system will automatically cross it out.
This way, you’ll be able to maintain a sense of progress with your tasks.
Once you’re done with all your checklist items, you can stop the timer and go to the web version of the Clockify app where you’ll see all your Trello checklist time entries.
Also, you’ll be able to generate a Summary Report showing how you fared with your to-do list — and then export it as a PDF.
If you need to generate a report for yourself only, do the following:
- Filter by you as the user,
- Find the project you worked on in Trello, and
- Export the results.
If you want to stay up to date regularly, you can also receive scheduled time reports via email and keep up on all the completed tasks throughout the day, week, or even the whole month.
Trello gives you and your team the option to set and keep up with deadlines.
You can set a due date for each card on your board and let your team know exactly when their deadline is about to expire so that they can finish their tasks on time.
If deadlines are the norm in your industry, it’s best that you opt for the Kanban approach.
Based on the card’s deadlines, you can update their ordering frequently, so that you put priority cards at the top. This way, your team will know what card to tackle first.
Tracking time can also tell you a lot about your deadline’s efficacy.
You may find that your deadlines are too time pressing and lead to your team rushing to meet them — at the expense of the quality of their work.
Or, you may discover that your deadlines are too lenient so employees spend a lot of time procrastinating instead of working.
When this happens, your team might fall prey to Parkinson’s law, filling the time they have available before the deadline instead of moving on to the next task.
💡 Clockify ProTip
If you’re curious about how to prevent Parkinson’s law from taking the best of your team, read more about it here:
Before you start tracking time on the cards marked with deadlines, go to your Clockify web version, select the project you are working on in Trello, and set an estimate for it.
Or, if you’ve set deadlines for each card in Trello, the best practice would be to create tasks corresponding to those cards in Clockify and then set individual estimates for each.
You can also indicate assignees here so that your team members are certain about what tasks they should tackle in Trello.
As you work on your Trello cards (indicated as tasks in the Clockify web version), you’ll be able to check how much time you have left before your deadlines (indicated as estimates in the Clockify web version) are up.
Using Clockify to calculate Trello earnings
If you bill by the hour, time tracking your Trello card activities can tell you what your earnings are and how much you should bill your clients.
When setting up time tracking for the team in Clockify, indicate your hourly rates, per:
- Team member,
- Project, or
- A team member within a particular project.
The most specific hourly rates you set (team member within a particular project being the most specific of the four), will be used by the system to calculate your own, and your team’s earnings.
Each time you start working on a card in Trello, just start the timer.
Mark all the necessary entries as billable in the Clockify browser extension, and once you’re done tracking time for this card (or project, if you want to bill for all of your Trello board’s activities altogether), just go to your Summary report.
Here, you can select the time period when you worked on that Trello project (say, this month) and filter by said project, to view your total hours tracked and earnings in the header.
Once you have your earnings clear, you can create invoices in your Clockify web version, download them as PDF and send them right to your clients.
💡 Clockify Pro Tip
Along with Clockify’s built-in invoicing solution, you can also try out our ready-made invoice templates that you can download and fill out:
They say that the best things in life are free — but a blend of two free apps that level up your productivity is a combination that might just be unmatched.
With Trello, a free project management tool that gives you the option to manage all your tasks and projects, and Clockify, a free time tracker which helps you calculate your earnings and generate invoices by your side — it seems like you have it all.
✉️ Have you tried tracking time in Trello? Did it help you improve your workflow? Let us know at email@example.com and we might include your experience in this one or one of our future blog posts.