No problem, I love talking about my systems!
Yep, I have toggl running in my browser on my home computer as well as my work laptop, all the time. I’ve tried using the mobile app but frankly it’s terrible, so I generally don’t track in detail while I’m out and away from computers – when I get home I’ll mark the time as “Got groceries” or “Bus home + Got dinner” or “Visited Christina” or the like. I’m not too fussed about making sure I’m tracking how much time was spent in transit versus at the grocery store or whatever, so that doesn’t bother me.
I use the time tracking as a way to NOT switch back and forth between tasks, if I can help it – keeping the data clean encourages more singletasking, which is a feature for me, not a bug. If I do end up multitasking (this happens a lot when I’m chatting with people online while doing something else) I mark the time spent as “Chat w/Richard + Feed Alex” and categorize as whichever task got the majority of my attention/whichever tasks is lower priority and I wish I hadn’t done.
I don’t actually forget to switch that often – maybe once a day, on average; after 4+ years, it really is pretty ingrained. In general, also, I have a pretty good time sense (helped by 4 years of time tracking!) so if I realize I missed stopping and restarting the timer, I can usually figure out approximately when the task switchover happened. For instance, if I forget to stop the timer on “Get ready to go” when I’m rushing out the door for work, I know approximately when the bus arrives, so I can backcalculate when I left the house, etc.
My granularity varies based on what I’m doing and how close to a computer I am. Work actually done on a computer gets listed in detail and in small time chunks, such as “Set up data prep script to run on regular servers”, whereas, say, watching my daughter might just be listed as “Play” or “Try to settle”.
Toggl auto-completes descriptions, so I try to re-use the same descriptions when I can (for ease of analysis later, and also less typing), but there’s nothing formalized about them. I do have specific “clients” (which I use for broad categories of things such as “Work”, “Me”, “Faffing About”) and “projects” (which are slightly more specific groupings like “Social Interaction”, “Housework”, “Scrapbooking”, etc), which is how I do most of my analysis later.
I’ve found it pretty useful to have this kind of data; I was able to use it to break down (in terrifying detail) exactly how much time I spent working on my dissertation, and recently I made a lovely graph showing that it was taking on average 30% longer to get my daughter to sleep compared to 2 months ago. I can’t say this data is necessarily actionable, but it’s always been nice to know where my time has gone.